Chen, P.Y., Manninga, H., Slanchev, K., Chien, M., Russo, J.J., Ju, J., Sheridan, R., John, B., Marks, D.S., Gaidatzis, D., Sander, C., Zavolan, M., and Tuschl, T. (2005) The developmental miRNA profiles of zebrafish as determined by small RNA cloning. Genes and Development. 19(11):1288-1293.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent a family of small, regulatory, noncoding RNAs that are found in plants and animals. Here, we describe the miRNA profile of the zebrafish Danio rerio resolved in a developmental and cell-type-specific manner. The profiles were obtained from larger-scale sequencing of small RNA libraries prepared from developmentally staged zebrafish, and two adult fibroblast cell lines derived from the caudal fin (ZFL) and the liver epithelium (SJD). We identified a total of 154 distinct miRNAs expressed from 343 miRNA genes. Other experimental/computational sources support an additional 10 miRNAs encoded by 19 genes. The miRNAs can be classified into 87 distinct families. Cross-species comparison indicates that 81 families are conserved in mammals, 17 of which also have at least one member conserved in an invertebrate. Our analysis reveals that the zygotes are essentially devoid of miRNAs and that their expression begins during the blastula period with a zebrafish-specific family of miRNAs encoded by closely spaced multicopy genes. Computational predictions of zebrafish miRNA targets are provided that take into account the depth of evolutionary conservation. Besides miRNAs, we identified a prominent class of repeat-associated small interfering RNAs (rasiRNAs).