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A Neuronal Transcriptome Response Involving Stress Pathways is Buffered by Neuronal microRNAs.

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Manakov, Sergei A 
Morton, Andrew 
Enright, Anton J 
Grant, Seth GN 


A single microRNA (miRNA) can inhibit a large number of mRNA transcripts. This widespread regulatory function has been experimentally demonstrated for a number of miRNAs. However, even when a multitude of targets is confirmed, function of a miRNA is frequently interpreted through a prism of a handful arbitrarily selected "interesting" targets. In this work we first show that hundreds of transcripts with target sites for two miRNAs expressed endogenously in neurons, miR-124 and miR-434-3p, are coordinately upregulated in a variety of neuronal stresses. This creates a landscape where these two miRNAs can exert their widespread inhibitory potential on stress-induced transcripts. Next, we experimentally demonstrate that overexpression of these two miRNAs indeed significantly inhibits expression of hundreds of stress-induced transcripts, thus confirming that these transcripts are enriched in true targets of examined miRNAs. A number of miRNAs were previously shown to have important roles in the regulation of stress responses, and our results suggest that these roles should be understood in light of a wide spread activation of miRNA targets during stresses. Importantly, a popular cationic lipid transfection reagent triggers such induction of miRNA targets. Therefore, when a transfection paradigm is employed to study miRNA function, the results of such studies should be interpreted with consideration for the inadvertent induction of miRNA targets.



buffering, miRNA, neuronal stress, primary neuronal culture, transcriptome

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Frontiers in Neuroscience

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Frontiers Media
This work was supported by the Darwin Trust of Edinburgh, Wellcome Trust and EMBL.