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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Oct 22;110(43):17468-73. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1317182110. Epub 2013 Oct 7.

MicroRNA-23a promotes myelination in the central nervous system.

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Department of Neurology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94158.


Demyelinating disorders including leukodystrophies are devastating conditions that are still in need of better understanding, and both oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelin synthesis pathways are potential avenues for developing treatment. Overexpression of lamin B1 leads to leukodystrophy characterized by demyelination of the central nervous system, and microRNA-23 (miR-23) was found to suppress lamin B1 and enhance oligodendrocyte differentiation in vitro. Here, we demonstrated that miR-23a-overexpressing mice have increased myelin thickness, providing in vivo evidence that miR-23a enhances both oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelin synthesis. Using this mouse model, we explored possible miR-23a targets and revealed that the phosphatase and tensin homologue/phosphatidylinositol trisphosphate kinase/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin pathway is modulated by miR-23a. Additionally, a long noncoding RNA, 2700046G09Rik, was identified as a miR-23a target and modulates phosphatase and tensin homologue itself in a miR-23a-dependent manner. The data presented here imply a unique role for miR-23a in the coordination of proteins and noncoding RNAs in generating and maintaining healthy myelin.

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