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Stem Cells. 2016 May;34(5):1386-95. doi: 10.1002/stem.2309. Epub 2016 Feb 29.

MicroRNA-145 Regulates Neural Stem Cell Differentiation Through the Sox2-Lin28/let-7 Signaling Pathway.

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Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.
Department of Biochemistry and Human Biology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) regulate several biological functions, including cell fate determination and differentiation. Although miR-145 has already been described to regulate glioma development, its precise role in neurogenesis has never been addressed. miR-145 represses sex-determining region Y-box 2 (Sox2), a core transcription factor of embryonic stem cells (ESCs), to inhibit pluripotency and self-renewal in human ESCs. In addition, the Sox2-Lin28/let-7 signaling pathway regulates proliferation and neurogenesis of neural precursors. In this study, we aimed to investigate the precise role of miR-145 in neural stem cell (NSC) fate decision, and the possible involvement of the Sox2-Lin28/let-7 signaling pathway in miR-145 regulatory network. Our results show for the first time that miR-145 expression significantly increased after induction of mouse NSC differentiation, remaining elevated throughout this process. Forced miR-145 downregulation decreased neuronal markers, namely βIII-tubulin, NeuN, and MAP2. Interestingly, throughout NSC differentiation, protein levels of Sox2 and Lin28, a well-known suppressor of let-7 biogenesis, decreased. Of note, neuronal differentiation also resulted in let-7a and let-7b upregulation. Transfection of NSCs with anti-miR-145, in turn, increased both Sox2 and Lin28 protein levels, while decreasing both let-7a and let-7b. More importantly, Sox2 and Lin28 silencing partially rescued the impairment of neuronal differentiation induced by miR-145 downregulation. In conclusion, our results demonstrate a novel role for miR-145 during NSC differentiation, where miR-145 modulation of Sox2-Lin28/let-7 network is crucial for neurogenesis progression. Stem Cells 2016;34:1386-1395.


Lin28; Neural stem cells; Neurogenesis; Sox2; let-7; miR-145

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