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PLoS One. 2008 Jan 2;3(1):e1396. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001396.

MiR-10 represses HoxB1a and HoxB3a in zebrafish.

Author information

1
Institute of Biology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands. jmwoltering@hotmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Hox genes are involved in patterning the anterior-posterior axis. In addition to the protein coding Hox genes, the miR-10, miR-196 and miR-615 families of microRNA genes are conserved within the vertebrate Hox clusters. The members of the miR-10 family are located at positions associated with Hox-4 paralogues. No function is yet known for this microRNA family but the genomic positions of its members suggest a role in anterior-posterior patterning.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Using sensor constructs, overexpression and morpholino knockdown, we show in Zebrafish that miR-10 targets HoxB1a and HoxB3a and synergizes with HoxB4 in the repression of these target genes. Overexpression of miR-10 also induces specific phenotypes related to the loss of function of these targets. HoxB1a and HoxB3a have a dominant hindbrain expression domain anterior to that of miR-10 but overlap in a weaker expression domain in the spinal cord. In this latter domain, miR-10 knockdown results in upregulation of the target genes. In the case of a HoxB3a splice variant that includes miR-10c within its primary transcript, we show that the microRNA acts in an autoregulatory fashion.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

We find that miR-10 acts to repress HoxB1a and HoxB3a within the spinal cord and show that this repression works cooperatively with HoxB4. As with the previously described interactions between miR-196 and HoxA7 and Hox-8 paralogues, the target genes are located in close proximity to the microRNA. We present a model in which we postulate a link between the clustering of Hox genes and post-transcriptional gene regulation. We speculate that the high density of transcription units and enhancers within the Hox clusters places constraints on the precision of the transcriptional control that can be achieved within these clusters and requires the involvement of post-transcriptional gene silencing to define functional domains of genes appropriately.

PMID:
18167555
PMCID:
PMC2148072
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0001396
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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