The first report on circulating microRNAs at Pre- and Post-metamorphic stages of axolotls

Demircan T., Sibai M., Avşaroğlu M. E., Altuntaş E., Ovezmyradov G.

Gene, vol.768, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 768
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.gene.2020.145258
  • Journal Name: Gene
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Artic & Antarctic Regions, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: Axolotl, Metamorphosis, Circulating miRNA, miRNA, Small RNA sequencing, Functional annotation
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenously coded small RNAs, implicated in post-transcriptional gene regulation by targeting messenger RNAs (mRNAs). Circulating miRNAs are cell-free molecules, found in body fluids, such as blood and saliva, and emerged recently as potential diagnostic biomarkers. Functions of circulating miRNAs and their roles in target tissues have been extensively investigated in mammals, and the reports on circulating miRNAs in non-mammalian clades are largely missing. Salamanders display remarkable regenerative potential, and the Mexican axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), a critically endangered aquatic salamander, has emerged as a powerful model organism in regeneration and developmental studies. This study aimed to explore the circulating miRNA signature in axolotl blood plasma. Small RNA sequencing on plasma samples revealed 16 differentially expressed (DE) circulating miRNAs between neotenic and metamorphic stages out of identified 164 conserved miRNAs. Bioinformatics predictions provided functional annotation of detected miRNAs for both stages and enrichment of DE miRNAs in cancer-related and developmental pathways was notable. Comparison with previous reports on axolotl miRNAs unraveled common and unique members of the axolotl circulating miRNome. Overall, this work provides novel insights into non-mammalian aspects of circulating miRNA biology and expands the multi-omics toolkit for this versatile model organism.