• microRNA;
  • lung;
  • mouse;
  • human;
  • postnatal;
  • neonatal;
  • fetal;
  • adult


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a recently discovered class of noncoding genes that regulate the translation of target mRNA. More than 300 miRNAs have now been discovered in humans, although the function of most is still unknown. A highly sensitive, semiquantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction method was used to reveal the differential expression of several miRNAs during the development of both mouse and human lung. Of note was the up-regulation in neonatal mouse and fetal human lung of a maternally imprinted miRNA cluster located at human chromosome 14q32.31 (mouse chromosome 12F2), which includes the miR-154 and miR-335 families and is situated within the Gtl2-Dio3 domain. Conversely, several miRNAs were up-regulated in adult compared with neonatal/fetal lung, including miR-29a and miR-29b. Differences in the spatial expression patterns of miR-154, miR-29a, and miR-26a was demonstrated using in situ hybridization of mouse neonatal and adult tissue using miRNA-specific locked nucleic acid (LNA) probes. Of interest, miR-154 appeared to be localized to the stroma of fetal but not adult lungs. The overall expression profile was similar for mouse and human tissue, suggesting evolutionary conservation of miRNA expression during lung development and demonstrating the importance of maternally imprinted miRNAs in the developmental process. Developmental Dynamics 236:572–580, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.