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PLoS One. 2014 Nov 25;9(11):e113704. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113704. eCollection 2014.

Human Staufen1 associates to miRNAs involved in neuronal cell differentiation and is required for correct dendritic formation.

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Departamento de Biología Molecular y Celular, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CSIC), Madrid, Spain; Ciber de Enfermedades Respiratorias (ISCIII), Madrid, Spain.
Departamento de Biología Molecular y Celular, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CSIC), Madrid, Spain.


Double-stranded RNA-binding proteins are key elements in the intracellular localization of mRNA and its local translation. Staufen is a double-stranded RNA binding protein involved in the localised translation of specific mRNAs during Drosophila early development and neuronal cell fate. The human homologue Staufen1 forms RNA-containing complexes that include proteins involved in translation and motor proteins to allow their movement within the cell, but the mechanism underlying translation repression in these complexes is poorly understood. Here we show that human Staufen1-containing complexes contain essential elements of the gene silencing apparatus, like Ago1-3 proteins, and we describe a set of miRNAs specifically associated to complexes containing human Staufen1. Among these, miR-124 stands out as particularly relevant because it appears enriched in human Staufen1 complexes and is over-expressed upon differentiation of human neuroblastoma cells in vitro. In agreement with these findings, we show that expression of human Staufen1 is essential for proper dendritic arborisation during neuroblastoma cell differentiation, yet it is not necessary for maintenance of the differentiated state, and suggest potential human Staufen1 mRNA targets involved in this process.

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