MiR-34a regulates mouse neural stem cell differentiation

Márcia M. AranhaMá, Daniela M. Santos, Susana Solá, Clifford J. Steer, Cecília M.P. RodriguesCecí

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) participate in the regulation of several biological processes, including cell differentiation. Recently, miR-34a has been implicated in the differentiation of monocyte-derived dendritic cells, human erythroleukemia cells, and mouse embryonic stem cells. In addition, members of the miR-34 family have been identified as direct p53 targets. However, the function of miR-34a in the control of the differentiation program of specific neural cell types remains largely unknown. Here, we investigated the role of miR-34a in regulating mouse neural stem (NS) cell differentiation. Methodology/Principal Findings: miR-34a overexpression increased postmitotic neurons and neurite elongation of mouse NS cells, whereas anti-miR-34a had the opposite effect. SIRT1 was identified as a target of miR-34a, which may mediate the effect of miR-34a on neurite elongation. In addition, acetylation of p53 (Lys 379) and p53-DNA binding activity were increased and cell death unchanged after miR-34a overexpression, thus reinforcing the role of p53 during neural differentiation. Interestingly, in conditions where SIRT1 was activated by pharmacologic treatment with resveratrol, miR-34a promoted astrocytic differentiation, through a SIRT1-independent mechanism. Conclusions: Our results provide new insight into the molecular mechanisms by which miR-34a modulates neural differentiation, suggesting that miR-34a is required for proper neuronal differentiation, in part, by targeting SIRT1 and modulating p53 activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere21396
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2011


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