miRNAs in brain development.


Publication Type:

Source:

Exp Cell Res, Volume 321, Issue 1, p.84-9 (2014)

Keywords:

Animals, Brain, Cell Differentiation, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Mice, MicroRNAs

Abstract:

<p>MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. In the brain, a large number of miRNAs are expressed and there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that miRNAs are essential for brain development and neuronal function. Conditional knockout studies of the core components in the miRNA biogenesis pathway, such as Dicer and DGCR8, have demonstrated a crucial role for miRNAs during the development of the central nervous system. Furthermore, mice deleted for specific miRNAs and miRNA-clusters demonstrate diverse functional roles for different miRNAs during the development of different brain structures. miRNAs have been proposed to regulate cellular functions such as differentiation, proliferation and fate-determination of neural progenitors. In this review we summarise the findings from recent studies that highlight the importance of miRNAs in brain development with a focus on the mouse model. We also discuss the technical limitations of current miRNA studies that still limit our understanding of this family of non-coding RNAs and propose the use of novel and refined technologies that are needed in order to fully determine the impact of specific miRNAs in brain development.</p>