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Exp Cell Res. 2012 Nov 1;318(18):2324-34. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2012.06.018. Epub 2012 Jul 6.

MiR-23a inhibits myogenic differentiation through down regulation of fast myosin heavy chain isoforms.

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Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Molecular and Medical Biotechnology, College of Life Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, No. 1 Wenyuan Road, Nanjing 210046, China.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that repress the expression of their target genes post-transcriptionally. MiRNAs participate in the regulation of a variety of biological processes, including development and diseases. However, the functional role and molecular mechanism by which miRNAs regulate skeletal muscle development and differentiation are not fully understood. In this report, we identified miR-23a as a key regulator of skeletal muscle differentiation. Using bioinformatics analyses, miR-23a is predicted to target multiple adult fast myosin heavy chain (Myh) genes, including Myh 1, 2 and 4. Luciferase reporter assays show that miR-23a directly targets the 3' untranslated regions (UTRs) of these mRNAs. Interestingly, the expression level of mature miR-23a is inversely correlated with myogenic progression in mouse skeletal muscle. Both gain- and loss-of-function studies using C2C12 myoblasts demonstrate that miR-23a inhibits myogenic differentiation. These findings therefore reveal a novel role of miR-23a in regulating myogenic differentiation via inhibiting the expression of fast myosin heavy chain isoforms.

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