In this study, we performed a systematic evaluation of global microRNA-mRNA interactions associated with the developmental toxicity of Deepwater Horizon oil using a combination of integrated mRNA and microRNA deep sequencing, expression profiling, gene ontology enrichment, and functional predictions by a series of advanced bioinformatic tools. After exposure to water accommodated fraction (WAF) of both weathered slick oil (0.5%, 1%, and 2%) and source oil (0.125%, 0.25%, and 0.5%) from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, four dose-dependent miRNAs were identified, including three up-regulated (miR-23b, miR-34b, and miR-181b) and one down-regulated miRNAs (miR-203a) in mahi-mahi hatchings exposed from 6 h postfertilization (hpf) to 48 hpf. Consistent with morphological, physiological, and behavioral changes, the target genes of these miRNAs were largely involved in the development of the cardiovascular, visual, nervous system and associated toxicity pathways, suggesting that miRNAs play an essential role in regulating the responses to oil exposure. The results obtained from this study improve our understanding of the role of miRNAs and their target genes in relation to dose-dependent oil toxicity and provide the potential of using miRNAs as novel biomarkers in future oil studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry