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J Neurosci. 2012 Apr 18;32(16):5678-87. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6471-11.2012.

An activity-regulated microRNA, miR-188, controls dendritic plasticity and synaptic transmission by downregulating neuropilin-2.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 110-799, Korea.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have recently come to be viewed as critical players that modulate a number of cellular features in various biological systems including the mature CNS by exerting regulatory control over the stability and translation of mRNAs. Despite considerable evidence for the regulatory functions of miRNAs, the identities of the miRNA species that are involved in the regulation of synaptic transmission and plasticity and the mechanisms by which these miRNAs exert functional roles remain largely unknown. In the present study, the expression of microRNA-188 (miR-188) was found to be upregulated by the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP). The protein level of neuropilin-2 (Nrp-2), one of the possible molecular targets for miR-188, was decreased during LTP induction. We also confirmed that the luciferase activity of the 3'-UTR of Nrp-2 was diminished by treatment with a miR-188 oligonucleotide but not with a scrambled miRNA oligonucleotide. Nrp-2 serves as a receptor for semaphorin 3F, which is a negative regulator of spine development and synaptic structure. In addition, miR-188 specifically rescued the reduction in dendritic spine density induced by Nrp-2 expression in hippocampal neurons from rat primary culture. Furthermore, miR-188 counteracted the decrease in the miniature EPSC frequency induced by Nrp-2 expression in hippocampal neurons from rat primary culture. These findings suggest that miR-188 serves to fine-tune synaptic plasticity by regulating Nrp-2 expression.

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