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Comprehensive Expression Analyses of Neural Cell-Type-Specific miRNAs Identify New Determinants of the Specification and Maintenance of Neuronal Phenotypes.
Journal of Neuroscience
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to play important roles in both brain development and the regulation of adult neural cell functions. However, a systematic analysis of brain miRNA functions has been hindered by a lack of comprehensive information regarding the distribution of miRNAs in neuronal versus glial cells. To address this issue, we performed microarray analyses of miRNA expression in the four principal cell types of the CNS (neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia) using primary cultures from postnatal d 1 rat cortex. These analyses revealed that neural miRNA expression is highly cell-type specific, with 116 of the 351 miRNAs examined being differentially expressed fivefold or more across the four cell types. We also demonstrate that individual neuron-enriched or neuron-diminished RNAs had a significant impact on the specification of neuronal phenotype: overexpression of the neuron-enriched miRNAs miR-376a and miR-434 increased the differentiation of neural stem cells into neurons, whereas the opposite effect was observed for the glia-enriched miRNAs miR-223, miR-146a, miR-19, and miR-32. In addition, glia-enriched miRNAs were shown to inhibit aberrant glial expression of neuronal proteins and phenotypes, as exemplified by miR-146a, which inhibited neuroligin 1-dependent synaptogenesis. This study identifies new nervous system functions of specific miRNAs, reveals the global extent to which the brain may use differential miRNA expression to regulate neural cell-type-specific phenotypes, and provides an important data resource that defines the compartmentalization of brain miRNAs across different cell types.
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