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Genes Dev. 2011 Jan 15;25(2):125-30. doi: 10.1101/gad.1975411.

miR-29b is activated during neuronal maturation and targets BH3-only genes to restrict apoptosis.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.


The execution of apoptosis is critical for proper development of the nervous system. However, it is equally important that neurons strictly inhibit apoptosis after development to ensure their survival throughout the lifetime of the organism. Here we show that a microRNA, miR-29b, is markedly induced with neuronal maturation and functions as a novel inhibitor of neuronal apoptosis. The prosurvival function of miR-29b is mediated by targeting genes in the proapoptotic BH3-only family. Our results identify a unique strategy evolved by maturing neurons that uses a single microRNA to inhibit the multiple, redundant BH3-only proteins that are key initiators of apoptosis.

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