Evaluating the potential of housekeeping genes, rRNAs, snRNAs, microRNAs and circRNAs as reference genes for the estimation of PMI.
Tu Chunyan,Du Tieshuai,Shao Chengchen,Liu Zengjia,Li Liliang,Shen Yiwen
Forensic science, medicine, and pathology
The precise estimation of postmortem interval (PMI) is a critical step in death investigation of forensic cases. Detecting the degradation of RNA in tissues by real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) technology provides a new theoretical basis for estimation of PMI. However, most commonly used reference genes degrade over time, while previous studies seldom consider this when selecting suitable reference genes for the estimation of PMI. Studies have shown microRNAs (miRNAs) are very stable and circular RNAs (circRNAs) have recently emerged as a novel class of RNAs with high stability. We aimed to evaluate the stability of the two kinds of RNAs and normal reference genes using geNorm and NormFinder algorithms to identify tissue-specific reference genes for PMI estimation. The content of candidate RNAs from mouse heart, liver and skeletal muscle tissues were dynamically examined in 8 consecutive days after death. Among the 11 candidate genes (β-actin, Gapdh, Rps18, 5S, 18S, U6, miR-133a, miR-122, circ-AFF1, LC-Ogdh and LC-LRP6), the following genes showed prioritized stability: miR-122, miR-133a and 18S in heart tissues; LC-Ogdh, circ-AFF1 and miR-122 in liver tissues; and miR-133a, circ-AFF1 and LC-LRP6 in skeletal muscle tissues. Our results suggested that miRNAs and circRNAs were more stable as reference genes than other kinds of RNAs regarding PMI estimation. The appropriate internal control genes were not completely the same across tissue types.