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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jan 6;101(1):360-5. Epub 2003 Dec 22.

Identification of many microRNAs that copurify with polyribosomes in mammalian neurons.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Localized translation in mammalian dendrites may play a role in synaptic plasticity and contribute to the molecular basis for learning and memory. The regulatory mechanisms that control localized translation in neurons are not well understood. We propose a role for microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of noncoding RNAs, as mediators of neuronal translational regulation. We have identified 86 miRNAs expressed in mammalian neurons, of which 40 have not previously been reported. A subset of these miRNAs exhibits temporally regulated expression in cortical cultures. Moreover, all of the miRNAs that were tested cofractionate with polyribosomes, the sites of active translation. These findings indicate that a large, diverse population of miRNAs may function to regulate translation in mammalian neurons.

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