Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Med. 2012 Jan 29;18(2):267-73. doi: 10.1038/nm.2584.

MicroRNA-21 targets the vitamin D-dependent antimicrobial pathway in leprosy.

Author information

Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.


Leprosy provides a model to investigate mechanisms of immune regulation in humans, given that the disease forms a spectrum of clinical presentations that correlate with host immune responses. Here we identified 13 miRNAs that were differentially expressed in the lesions of subjects with progressive lepromatous (L-lep) versus the self-limited tuberculoid (T-lep) disease. Bioinformatic analysis revealed a significant enrichment of L-lep-specific miRNAs that preferentially target key immune genes downregulated in L-lep versus T-lep lesions. The most differentially expressed miRNA in L-lep lesions, hsa-mir-21, was upregulated in Mycobacterium leprae-infected monocytes. By directly downregulating Toll-like receptor 2/1 heterodimer (TLR2/1)-induced CYP27B1 and IL1B expression as well as indirectly upregulating interleukin-10 (IL-10), hsa-mir-21 inhibited expression of the genes encoding two vitamin D-dependent antimicrobial peptides, CAMP and DEFB4A. Conversely, knockdown of hsa-mir-21 in M. leprae-infected monocytes enhanced expression of CAMP and DEFB4A and restored TLR2/1-mediated antimicrobial activity against M. leprae. Therefore, the ability of M. leprae to upregulate hsa-mir-21 targets multiple genes associated with the immunologically localized disease form, providing an effective mechanism to escape from the vitamin D-dependent antimicrobial pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication types

MeSH terms


Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center