Regulation of miRNA expression during neural cell specification

Authors

  • Lena Smirnova,

    1. Center for Anatomy, Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, Charité University Hospital, Schumannstraße 20–21, 10098 Berlin, Germany
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  • Anja Gräfe,

    1. Center for Anatomy, Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, Charité University Hospital, Schumannstraße 20–21, 10098 Berlin, Germany
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  • Andrea Seiler,

    1. National Center for Documentation and Evaluation of Alternative Methods to Animal Experiments (ZEBET), Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Berlin, Germany
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  • Stefan Schumacher,

    1. Center for Anatomy, Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, Charité University Hospital, Schumannstraße 20–21, 10098 Berlin, Germany
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  • Robert Nitsch,

    1. Center for Anatomy, Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, Charité University Hospital, Schumannstraße 20–21, 10098 Berlin, Germany
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  • F. Gregory Wulczyn

    1. Center for Anatomy, Institute of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, Charité University Hospital, Schumannstraße 20–21, 10098 Berlin, Germany
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Dr F. Gregory Wulczyn, as above.
E-mail: gregory.wulczyn@charite.de

Abstract

MicroRNA (miRNA) are a newly recognized class of small, noncoding RNA molecules that participate in the developmental control of gene expression. We have studied the regulation of a set of highly expressed neural miRNA during mouse brain development. Temporal control is a characteristic of miRNA regulation in C. elegans and Drosophila, and is also prominent in the embryonic brain. We observed significant differences in the onset and magnitude of induction for individual miRNAs. Comparing expression in cultures of embryonic neurons and astrocytes we found marked lineage specificity for each of the miRNA in our study. Two of the most highly expressed miRNA in adult brain were preferentially expressed in neurons (mir-124, mir-128). In contrast, mir-23, a miRNA previously implicated in neural specification, was restricted to astrocytes. mir-26 and mir-29 were more strongly expressed in astrocytes than neurons, others were more evenly distributed (mir-9, mir-125). Lineage specificity was further explored using reporter constructs for two miRNA of particular interest (mir-125 and mir-128). miRNA-mediated suppression of both reporters was observed after transfection of the reporters into neurons but not astrocytes. miRNA were strongly induced during neural differentiation of embryonic stem cells, suggesting the validity of the stem cell model for studying miRNA regulation in neural development.

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