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Nat Commun. 2014 Nov 24;5:5549. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6549.

Regulation of Drosophila circadian rhythms by miRNA let-7 is mediated by a regulatory cycle.

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Department of Entomology, College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.


MicroRNA-mediated post-transcriptional regulations are increasingly recognized as important components of the circadian rhythm. Here we identify microRNA let-7, part of the Drosophila let-7-Complex, as a regulator of circadian rhythms mediated by a circadian regulatory cycle. Overexpression of let-7 in clock neurons lengthens circadian period and its deletion attenuates the morning activity peak as well as molecular oscillation. Let-7 regulates the circadian rhythm via repression of CLOCKWORK ORANGE (CWO). Conversely, upregulated cwo in cwo-expressing cells can rescue the phenotype of let-7-Complex overexpression. Moreover, circadian prothoracicotropic hormone (PTTH) and CLOCK-regulated 20-OH ecdysteroid signalling contribute to the circadian expression of let-7 through the 20-OH ecdysteroid receptor. Thus, we find a regulatory cycle involving PTTH, a direct target of CLOCK, and PTTH-driven miRNA let-7.

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