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Genes Dev. 2007 Mar 1;21(5):531-6.

A functional study of miR-124 in the developing neural tube.

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  • 1Laboratory of Genetics, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Neural development is a highly orchestrated process that entails precise control of gene expression. Although microRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated in fine-tuning gene networks, the roles of individual miRNAs in vertebrate neural development have not been studied in vivo. We investigated the function of the most abundant neuronal miRNA, miR-124, during spinal cord development. Neither inhibition nor overexpression of miR-124 significantly altered the acquisition of neuronal fate, suggesting that miR-124 is unlikely to act as a primary determinant of neuronal differentiation. Two endogenous targets of miR-124, laminin gamma 1 and integrin beta1, were identified, both of which are highly expressed by neural progenitors but repressed upon neuronal differentiation. Thus miR-124 appears to ensure that progenitor genes are post-transcriptionally inhibited in neurons.

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