MicroRNA profiling in the mouse hypothalamus reveals oxytocin-regulating microRNA


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Heon-Jin Lee, Department of Oral Microbiology, School of Dentistry, Kyungpook National University, 2177 Dalgubeol-daero, Jung-gu, Daegu 700-412, South Korea. E-mail: heonlee@knu.ac.kr


Oxytocin (Oxt), produced in the hypothalamic paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei for transport to and release from the posterior pituitary, was originally discovered through its role in lactation and parturition. Oxt also plays important roles in the central nervous system by influencing various behaviors. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), endogenous regulators of many genes, are a class of small non-coding RNAs that mediate post-transcriptional gene silencing. We performed miRNA expression profiling of the mouse hypothalamus by deep sequencing. Among the sequenced and cross-mapped small RNAs, expression of known miRNAs and unknown miRNAs candidates were analyzed. We investigated in detail one miRNA, miR-24, and found that it is a novel regulator of Oxt and controls both transcript and peptide levels of Oxt. These results provide insights into potential neurohypophysial hormone regulation mediated by miRNAs.