Marked change in microRNA expression during neuronal differentiation of human teratocarcinoma NTera2D1 and mouse embryonal carcinoma P19 cells

Hirohiko Hohjoh, Tatsunobu Fukushima
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2007 October 19, 362 (2): 360-7
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs, with a length of 19-23 nucleotides, which appear to be involved in the regulation of gene expression by inhibiting the translation of messenger RNAs carrying partially or nearly complementary sequences to the miRNAs in their 3' untranslated regions. Expression analysis of miRNAs is necessary to understand their complex role in the regulation of gene expression during the development, differentiation and proliferation of cells. Here we report on the expression profile analysis of miRNAs in human teratocarcinoma NTere2D1, mouse embryonic carcinoma P19, mouse neuroblastoma Neuro2a and rat pheochromocytoma PC12D cells, which can be induced into differentiated cells with long neuritic processes, i.e., after cell differentiation, such that the resultant cells look similar to neuronal cells. The data presented here indicate marked changes in the expression of miRNAs, as well as genes related to neuronal development, occurred in the differentiation of NTera2D1 and P19 cells. Significant changes in miRNA expression were not observed in Neuro2a and PC12D cells, although they showed apparent morphologic change between undifferentiated and differentiated cells. Of the miRNAs investigated, the expression of miRNAs belonging to the miR-302 cluster, which is known to be specifically expressed in embryonic stem cells, and of miR-124a specific to the brain, appeared to be markedly changed. The miR-302 cluster was potently expressed in undifferentiated NTera2D1 and P19 cells, but hardly in differentiated cells, such that miR-124a showed an opposite expression pattern to the miR-302 cluster. Based on these observations, it is suggested that the miR-302 cluster and miR-124a may be useful molecular indicators in the assessment of degree of undifferentiation and/or differentiation in the course of neuronal differentiation.

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