Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Cell. 2009 Apr;16(4):517-27. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2009.02.007.

The miR-430/427/302 family controls mesendodermal fate specification via species-specific target selection.

Author information

Laboratory of Molecular Vertebrate Embryology, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065, USA.


The role of microRNAs in embryonic cell fate specification is largely unknown. In vertebrates, the miR-430/427/302 family shows a unique expression signature and is exclusively expressed during early embryogenesis. Here, we comparatively address the embryonic function of miR-302 in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and its ortholog miR-427 in Xenopus laevis. Interestingly, we found that this miRNA family displays species-specific target selection among ligands of the Nodal pathway, with a striking conservation of the inhibitors, Lefties, but differential targeting of the activators, Nodals. The Nodal pathway plays a crucial role in germ layer specification. Accordingly, by gain and loss of function experiments in hESCs, we show that miR-302 promotes the mesendodermal lineage at the expense of neuroectoderm formation. Similarly, depletion of miR-427 in Xenopus embryos hinders the organizer formation and leads to severe dorsal mesodermal patterning defects. These findings suggest a crucial role for the miR-430/427/302 family in vertebrate embryogenesis by controlling germ layer specification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center