U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Animal Reproduction Science 130 (2012) 16– 26;



The objectives of this study included: (1) identify the expression of miRNAs specific to bovine cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs) during late oogenesis, (2) characterize the expression of candidate miRNAs as well as some miRNA processing genes, and (3) computationally identify and characterize the expression of target mRNAs for candidate miRNAs. Small RNAs in the 16–27 bp range were isolated from pooled COCs aspirated from 1- to 10-mm follicles of beef cattle ovaries and used to construct a cDNA library. A total 1798 putative miRNA sequences from the cDNA library of small RNA were compared to known miRNAs. Sixty-four miRNA clusters matched previously reported sequences in the miRBase database and 5 miRNA clusters had not been reported. TaqMan miRNA assays were used to confirm the expression of let-7b, let-7i, and miR-106a from independent collections of COCs. Real-time PCR assays were used to characterize expression of miRNA processing genes and target mRNAs (MYC and WEE1A) for the candidate miRNAs from independent collections of COCs. Expression data were analyzed using general linear model procedures for analysis of variance. The expression of let-7b and let-7i were not different between the cellular populations from various sized follicles. However, miR-106a expression was greater (P < 0.01) in oocytes compared with COCs and granulosa cells. Furthermore, all the miRNA processing genes have greater expression (P < 0.001) in oocytes compared with COCs and granulosa cells. The expression of potential target mRNAs for let-7 and let-7i (i.e., MYC), and miR-106a (i.e., WEE1A) were decreased (P < 0.05) in oocytes compared with COCs and granulosa cells. These results demonstrate specific miRNAs within bovine COCs during late oogenesis and provide some evidence that miRNAs may play a role regulating maternal mRNAs in bovine oocytes.