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Cell. 2007 May 4;129(3):617-31.

An evolutionarily conserved mechanism for microRNA-223 expression revealed by microRNA gene profiling.

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Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan. <>


Many microRNAs (miRNAs) are evolutionarily conserved and have intriguing expression patterns. Tissue and/or time-specific expressions of some miRNAs are presumably controlled by unique cis-acting regulatory elements that coevolved with the miRNA sequences. Exploiting bioinformatics, we identified several miRNAs whose primary transcripts could be regulated by conserved genomic elements proximal to their transcription start sites. Such miRNAs include microRNA-223 (miR-223), which is reportedly controlled by a unique regulatory mechanism during granulopoiesis. Here, we define a mechanism distinct from that previously proposed to regulate miR-223 expression. We find that the mir-223 gene resembles a "myeloid gene" and might be driven by the myeloid transcription factors, PU.1 and C/EBPs. This mechanism is specified by the conserved proximal cis-regulatory element and might be common among different species. Hence, it needs to be considered that two distinct mechanisms that would play critical roles in myeloid functions and differentiation are actually concerned with the regulation of miR-223.

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