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Development 2015 Nov 01;14221:3769-80. doi: 10.1242/dev.127969.
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microRNA-31 modulates skeletal patterning in the sea urchin embryo.

Stepicheva NA , Song JL .

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that repress the translation and reduce the stability of target mRNAs in animal cells. microRNA-31 (miR-31) is known to play a role in cancer, bone formation and lymphatic development. However, studies to understand the function of miR-31 in embryogenesis have been limited. We examined the regulatory role of miR-31 in early development using the sea urchin as a model. miR-31 is expressed at all stages of development and its knockdown (KD) disrupts the patterning and function of primary mesenchyme cells (PMCs), which form the embryonic skeleton spicules. We identified that miR-31 directly represses Pmar1, Alx1, Snail and VegfR7 within the PMC gene regulatory network using reporter constructs. Further, blocking the miR-31-mediated repression of Alx1 and/or VegfR7 in the developing embryo resulted in defects in PMC patterning and skeletogenesis. The majority of the mislocalized PMCs in miR-31 KD embryos did not express VegfR10, indicating that miR-31 regulates VegfR gene expression within PMCs. In addition, miR-31 indirectly suppresses Vegf3 expression in the ectoderm. These results indicate that miR-31 coordinately suppresses genes within the PMCs and in the ectoderm to impact PMC patterning and skeletogenesis. This study identifies the novel function and molecular mechanism of miR-31-mediated regulation in the developing embryo.

PubMed ID: 26400092
PMC ID: PMC4647217
Article link: Development
Grant support: [+]

Genes referenced: alx1 flt1 flt4 impact LOC100887844 pmar1 snai2 vegf3l
Morpholinos: alx1 MO2 alx1 MO3 flt4 MO1

References [+] :
Aboobaker, Drosophila microRNAs exhibit diverse spatial expression patterns during embryonic development. 2006, Pubmed