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

Ana L Morgado, Cecília M P Rodrigues, Susana Solá
Stem Cells 2016, 34 (5): 1386-95
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.

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