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Dev Cell. 2005 Mar;8(3):321-30.

The temporal patterning microRNA let-7 regulates several transcription factors at the larval to adult transition in C. elegans.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, 266 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


The let-7 microRNA is phylogenetically conserved and temporally expressed in many animals. C. elegans let-7 controls terminal differentiation in a stem cell-like lineage in the hypodermis, while human let-7 has been implicated in lung cancer. To elucidate let-7's role in temporal control of nematode development, we used sequence analysis and reverse genetics to identify candidate let-7 target genes. We show that the nuclear hormone receptor daf-12 is a let-7 target in seam cells, while the forkhead transcription factor pha-4 is a target in the intestine. Additional likely targets are the zinc finger protein die-1 and the putative chromatin remodeling factor lss-4. Together with the previous identification of the hunchback ortholog hbl-1 as a let-7 target in the ventral nerve cord, our findings show that let-7 acts in at least three tissues to regulate different transcription factors, raising the possibility of let-7 as a master temporal regulator.

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