Stem Cell Reports (Apr 2017)

Synergic Functions of miRNAs Determine Neuronal Fate of Adult Neural Stem Cells

  • Meritxell Pons-Espinal,
  • Emanuela de Luca,
  • Matteo Jacopo Marzi,
  • Ruth Beckervordersandforth,
  • Andrea Armirotti,
  • Francesco Nicassio,
  • Klaus Fabel,
  • Gerd Kempermann,
  • Davide De Pietri Tonelli

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 8, no. 4
pp. 1046 – 1061


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Summary: Adult neurogenesis requires the precise control of neuronal versus astrocyte lineage determination in neural stem cells. While microRNAs (miRNAs) are critically involved in this step during development, their actions in adult hippocampal neural stem cells (aNSCs) has been unclear. As entry point to address that question we chose DICER, an endoribonuclease essential for miRNA biogenesis and other RNAi-related processes. By specific ablation of Dicer in aNSCs in vivo and in vitro, we demonstrate that miRNAs are required for the generation of new neurons, but not astrocytes, in the adult murine hippocampus. Moreover, we identify 11 miRNAs, of which 9 have not been previously characterized in neurogenesis, that determine neurogenic lineage fate choice of aNSCs at the expense of astrogliogenesis. Finally, we propose that the 11 miRNAs sustain adult hippocampal neurogenesis through synergistic modulation of 26 putative targets from different pathways. : In this article, the authors demonstrate that Dicer-dependent miRNAs are required for the generation of new neurons, but not astrocytes, in the adult hippocampus in vivo and in vitro. The authors identify a new set of 11 miRNAs that synergistically converge on multiple targets in different pathways to sustain neurogenic lineage fate commitment in aNSCs. Keywords: mouse, hippocampus, neural stem cells, fate choice, adult neurogenesis, astrogliogenesis, DICER, microRNAs, synergy