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Dev Biol. 2007 Oct 1;310(1):35-43. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

The Drosophila nerfin-1 mRNA requires multiple microRNAs to regulate its spatial and temporal translation dynamics in the developing nervous system.

Author information

1
Neural Cell-Fate Determinants Section, NINDS, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA. Alex.Kuzin@ninds.nih.gov

Abstract

The mRNA encoding the Drosophila Zn-finger transcription factor Nerfin-1, required for CNS axon pathfinding events, is subject to post-transcriptional silencing. Although nerfin-1 mRNA is expressed in many neural precursor cells including all early delaminating CNS neuroblasts, the encoded Nerfin-1 protein is detected only in the nuclei of neural precursors that divide just once to generate neurons and then only transiently in nascent neurons. Using a nerfin-1 promoter-controlled reporter transgene, replacement of the nerfin-1 3' UTR with the viral SV-40 3' UTR releases the neuroblast translational block and prolongs reporter protein expression in neurons. Comparative genomics analysis reveals that the nerfin-1 mRNA 3' UTR contains multiple highly conserved sequence blocks that either harbor and/or overlap 21 predicted binding sites for 18 different microRNAs. To determine the functional significance of these microRNA-binding sites and less conserved microRNA target sites, we have studied their ability to block or limit the expression of reporter protein in nerfin-1-expressing cells during embryonic development. Our results indicate that no single microRNA is sufficient to fully inhibit protein expression but rather multiple microRNAs that target different binding sites are required to block ectopic protein expression in neural precursor cells and temporally restrict expression in neurons. Taken together, these results suggest that multiple microRNAs play a cooperative role in the post-transcriptional regulation of nerfin-1 mRNA, and the high degree of microRNA-binding site evolutionary conservation indicates that all members of the Drosophila genus employ a similar strategy to regulate the onset and extinction dynamics of Nerfin-1 expression.

PMID:
17714701
PMCID:
PMC2064069
DOI:
10.1016/j.ydbio.2007.07.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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