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Identification and characterization of circular RNAs during the sea buckthorn fruit development

As a rising star of noncoding RNA, circular RNAs (circRNAs) have a covalently closed loop structure, which formed by 3ʹ-5ʹ ligation during splicing. A few circRNAs were identified and thought to be transcriptional noise due to cognitive defect over the past 40 years. Recently, with the development of high-throughput RNA sequencing techniques and specific algorithms for circRNA detection and quantification, plenty of potential circRNAs were identified in many species which play important roles in various biological processes. However, researches on circRNAs in fruit ripening process were lacking. Here, we totally identified 2616 circRNAs in sea buckthorn fruit development process, which uniformly distributed in sea buckthorn chromosome. Among them, 1721 (65.8%) circRNAs were arising from the exons of their host genes, 252 circRNAs were identified as the differentially expressed circRNAs (DEcircRNAs) between three different development stages, and 181 (71.8%) DEcircRNAs had sequence similarity with 235 identified circRNAs from five know plant species. Functional annotation revealed that host genes of DEcircRNAs were predicted to be involved in carotenoid biosynthesis, lipid synthesis and plant hormone signal transduction. Additionally, 53 DEcircRNAs were predicted as the corresponding nine miRNAs sponges in sea buckthorn. Divergent reverse-transcription PCR and RT-qPCR were used for validate the differential expression and back-splicing sites of six DEcircRNAs. These results revealed the role of circRNAs in sea buckthorn fruit ripening process and promoted the noncoding RNA researches in plants.

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