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Cell Metab. 2012 Nov 7;16(5):601-12. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2012.10.002. Epub 2012 Nov 1.

The oscillating miRNA 959-964 cluster impacts Drosophila feeding time and other circadian outputs.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Center for Behavioral Genomics, Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454, USA.


We sequenced Drosophila head RNA to identify a small set of miRNAs that undergo robust circadian cycling. We concentrated on a cluster of six miRNAs, mir-959-964, all of which peak at about ZT12 or lights off. The cluster pri-miRNA is transcribed under bona fide circadian transcriptional control, and all six mature miRNAs have short half-lives, a requirement for cycling. A viable Gal4 knockin strain localizes prominent cluster miRNA expression to the adult head fat body. Analysis of cluster knockout and overexpression strains indicates that innate immunity, metabolism, and feeding behavior are under cluster miRNA regulation. Manipulation of food intake also affects the levels and timing of cluster miRNA transcription with no more than minor effects on the core circadian oscillator. These observations indicate a feedback circuit between feeding time and cluster miRNA expression function as well as a surprising role of posttranscriptional regulation in the circadian control of these phenotypes.

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