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Curr Biol. 2006 Nov 7;16(21):2135-42.

Differential regulation of germline mRNAs in soma and germ cells by zebrafish miR-430.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kobe University, 1-1 Rokkodaicho, Nadaku, Kobe 657-8501, Japan.


Early in development, primordial germ cells (PGCs) are set aside from somatic cells and acquire a unique gene-expression program . The mechanisms underlying germline-specific gene expression are largely unknown. Nanos expression is required during germline development and is posttranscriptionally restricted to PGCs . Here we report that the microRNA miR-430 targets the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of nanos1 during zebrafish embryogenesis. A miR-430 target site within the nanos1 3' UTR reduces poly(A) tail length, mRNA stability, and translation. Repression is disrupted in maternal-zygotic dicer mutants (MZdicer), which lack mature miRNAs , and is restored by injection of processed miR-430. Although miR-430 represses other genes equally in germline and soma, specific regions in the nanos1 3' UTR compensate for microRNA-mediated repression in PGCs and allow germline-specific expression. We show that the 3' UTR of an additional PGC-specific gene, TDRD7, is also targeted by miR-430. These results indicate that miR-430 targets the 3' UTRs of germline genes and suggest that differential susceptibility to microRNAs contributes to tissue-specific gene expression.

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