Skip to main content
Article
Expression profiling of mammalian microRNAs uncovers a subset of brain-expressed microRNAs with possible roles in murine and human neuronal differentiation.
Genome Biology (2004)
  • Lorenzo F. Sempere
  • Sarah Freemantle
  • Ian Pitha-Rowe
  • Eric Moss
  • Ethan Dmitrovsky
  • Victor R. Ambros
Abstract
Background The microRNAs (miRNAs) are an extensive class of small noncoding RNAs (18 to 25 nucleotides) with probable roles in the regulation of gene expression. In Caenorhabditis elegans, lin-4 and let-7 miRNAs control the timing of fate specification of neuronal and hypodermal cells during larval development. lin-4, let-7 and other miRNA genes are conserved in mammals, and their potential functions in mammalian development are under active study. Results In order to identify mammalian miRNAs that might function in development, we characterized the expression of 119 previously reported miRNAs in adult organs from mouse and human using northern blot analysis. Of these, 30 miRNAs were specifically expressed or greatly enriched in a particular organ (brain, lung, liver or skeletal muscle). This suggests organ- or tissue-specific functions for miRNAs. To test if any of the 66 brain-expressed miRNAs were present in neurons, embryonal carcinoma cells were treated with all-trans-retinoic acid to promote neuronal differentiation. A total of 19 brain-expressed miRNAs (including lin-4 and let-7 orthologs) were coordinately upregulated in both human and mouse embryonal carcinoma cells during neuronal differentiation. The mammalian ortholog of C. elegans lin-28, which is downregulated by lin-4 in worms via 3' untranslated region binding, was also repressed during neuronal differentiation of mammalian embryonal carcinoma cells. Mammalian lin-28 messenger RNAs contain conserved predicted binding sites in their 3' untranslated regions for neuron-expressed miR-125b (a lin-4 ortholog), let-7a, and miR-218. Conclusions The identification of a subset of brain-expressed miRNAs whose expression behavior is conserved in both mouse and human differentiating neurons implicates these miRNAs in mammalian neuronal development or function.
Publication Date
February 16, 2004
Publisher Statement
© 2004 Sempere et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original URL, http://genomebiology.com/2004/5/3/R13.
Citation Information
Lorenzo F. Sempere, Sarah Freemantle, Ian Pitha-Rowe, Eric Moss, et al.. "Expression profiling of mammalian microRNAs uncovers a subset of brain-expressed microRNAs with possible roles in murine and human neuronal differentiation." Genome Biology Vol. 5 Iss. 3 (2004)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/victor_ambros/47/