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Blood. 2009 Jul 9;114(2):404-14. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-09-179150. Epub 2009 Apr 27.

MicroRNA profiling identifies miR-34a and miR-21 and their target genes JAG1 and WNT1 in the coordinate regulation of dendritic cell differentiation.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California-Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs, miRs) modulate a multitude of cellular events. Here, we identify functional miRNA-protein networks that regulate human monocyte-derived dendritic cell (MDDC) differentiation. miRNA profiling revealed stage-specific differential expression of 20 miRNAs during days 1, 3, and 5 of MDDC differentiation. To identify and prioritize miRNA-protein networks for functional validation, we developed a target ranking algorithm that incorporates many features of miRNA regulatory networks. This system prioritized miR-21, miR-34a, and their cognate targets WNT1 and JAG1 for functional validation. Inhibition of both miR-21 and miR-34a stalled MDDC differentiation, as quantified by DC-SIGN/CD14 expression ratios, showing cooperative involvement of these miRNAs in MDDC differentiation. We confirmed that the 3' untranslated regions of WNT1 and JAG1 were functional targets of these miRNAs and provide evidence that these targets were translationally suppressed. Significantly, exogenously added Wnt-1 and Jagged-1 also stalled MDDC differentiation, suggesting that miRNA-mediated inhibition of endogenous WNT1 and JAG1 expression was important for proper MDDC differentiation. Finally, inhibition of miR-21 and miR-34a, or addition of Wnt-1 and Jagged-1, led to a decrease in endocytic capacity, a key function of immature DCs. Thus, our novel approach identified and validated some miRNA-protein networks involved in phenotypic and functional MDDC differentiation.

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