MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that regulate post-transcriptional gene expression. In the short time since the discovery of microRNAs, the literature has burgeoned with studies focused on the biosynthesis of microRNAs, target prediction and binding, and mechanisms of translational repression by microRNAs. Given the prominent role of microRNAs in all areas of cell biology, it is not surprising that microRNAs are also linked to human diseases, including those of the nervous system. One of the least-studied areas of microRNA research is how their expression is regulated outside of development and cancer. Thus, we examined a role for regulation of microRNAs by neurotransmitter receptor activation in mouse brain. We focused on the group I metabotropic glutamate receptors by using intracerebroventricular injection of the selective agonist, (S)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG) in mouse brain. We then examined the expression of microRNAs in the cerebral cortex by Ambion and Invitrogen microarrays, and the expression of mature microRNA sequences by SABiosciences qPCR arrays, at 4, 8 and 24. h after DHPG injection. These studies revealed that the largest number of significantly regulated microRNAs was detected 8. h after DHPG injection in the microarrays and qPCR arrays. We then used RNA blots to quantify microRNA expression, and in situ hybridization to examine cellular distribution of the microRNAs regulated by DHPG. Bioinformatic analysis of the microRNAs regulated 8. h after DHPG in all three arrays revealed KEGG pathways that are known to correlate with group I mGluR effects, as well as recently described and novel pathways. These studies are the first to show that DHGP regulates the expression of microRNAs in mouse cerebral cortex, and support the hypothesis that group I mGluRs may regulate microRNA expression in mouse brain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience