Identification of serum microRNA biomarkers for tuberculosis using RNA-seq

Hongtai Zhang, Zhaogang Sun, Wenjing Wei, Zhonghui Liu, Joy Fleming, Shuai Zhang, Nan Lin, Ming Wang, Maoshan Chen, Yuhui Xu, Jie Zhou, Chuanyou Li, Lijun Bi, Guangming Zhou

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Tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant human health issue. More effective biomarkers for use in tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, including markers that can discriminate between healthy individuals and those with latent infection, are urgently needed. To identify a set of such markers, we used Solexa sequencing to examine microRNA expression in the serum of patients with active disease, healthy individuals with latent TB, and those with or without prior BCG inoculation. We identified 24 microRNAs that are up-regulated (2.85-1285.93 fold) and 6 microRNAs that are downregulated (0.003-0.11 fold) (P<0.05) in patients with active TB relative to the three groups of healthy controls. In addition, 75 microRNAs were up-regulated (2.05-2454.58 fold) and 11 were down-regulated (0.001-0.42 fold) (P<0.05) in latent-TB infected individuals relative to BCG- inoculated individuals. Of interest, 134 microRNAs were differentially-expressed in BCG-inoculated relative to un-inoculated individuals (18 up-regulated 2.9-499.29 fold, 116 down-regulated 0.0002-0.5 fold), providing insights into the effects of BCG inoculation at the microRNA level. Target prediction of differentially-expressed microRNAs by microRNA-Gene Network analysis and analysis of pathways affected suggest that regulation of the host immune system by microRNAs is likely to be one of the main factors in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis. qRT-PCR validation indicated that hsa-miR-196b and hsa-miR-376c have potential as markers for active TB disease. The microRNA differentialexpression profiles generated in this study provide a good foundation for the development of markers for TB diagnosis, and for investigations on the role of microRNAs in BCG-inoculated and latent-infected individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere88909
Number of pages7
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

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