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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 5;8(6):e65300. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065300. Print 2013.

Role of miR-142-3p in the post-transcriptional regulation of the clock gene Bmal1 in the mouse SCN.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, United States of America.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that function as post-transcriptional modulators by regulating stability or translation of target mRNAs. Recent studies have implicated miRNAs in the regulation of mammalian circadian rhythms. To explore the role of miRNAs in the post-transcriptional modulation of core clock genes in the master circadian pacemaker, we examined miR-142-3p for evidence of circadian expression in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), regulation of its putative clock gene target Bmal1 via specific binding sites in the 3' UTR and overexpression-induced changes in the circadian rhythm of BMAL1 protein levels in SCN cells. In mice exposed to constant darkness (DD), miR-142-3p levels in the SCN were characterized by circadian rhythmicity with peak expression during early subjective day at CT 3. Mutagenesis studies indicate that two independent miRNA recognition elements located at nucleotides 1-7 and 335-357 contribute equally to miR-142-3p-induced repression of luciferase-reported Bmal1 3' UTR activity. Importantly, overexpression of miR-142-3p in immortalized SCN cells abolished circadian variation in endogenous BMAL1 protein levels in vitro. Collectively, our results suggest that miR-142-3p may play a role in the post-transcriptional modulation of Bmal1 and its oscillatory regulation in molecular feedback loops mediating SCN circadian function.

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