The Transcription Factor, α1ACT, Acts Through a MicroRNA Network to Regulate Neurogenesis and Cell Death During Neonatal Cerebellar Development

Cenfu Wei, Kellie Benzow, Michael D. Koob, Christopher M. Gomez, Xiaofei Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


MicroRNAs, a class of small RNA regulators, function throughout neurodevelopment, from neural stem cell neurogenesis to neuronal maturation, synaptic formation, and plasticity. α1ACT, a transcription factor (TF), plays a critical role in neonatal cerebellar development by regulating an ensemble of genes. Of these, ChIP-seq analysis matched near 50% genes directly regulated by α1ACT. Yet, more than half the regulated transcripts lacked direct interaction with α1ACT. To investigate whether α1ACT acts through a microRNA network, we studied α1ACT-associated simultaneous miRNA:mRNA transcriptome profiles, using miRNA-seq paired with RNA-seq. Thirty-one differentially expressed miRNAs (DEMs) associated with α1ACT-regulated differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were profiled in α1ACT-overexpressing PC12 cells and were further validated in neonatal transgenic mouse cerebellum overexpressing α1ACT in a context-dependent manner. Here, we also demonstrated that α1ACT facilitates neurogenesis and development of dendritic synapses and is partially a result of the downregulation of the miR-99 cluster, miR-143, miR-23, miR-146, miR-363, and miR-484. On the other hand, the miR-181, miR-125, and miR-708 clusters were upregulated by α1ACT, which inhibit MAPK signaling and cell death pathways by targeting Ask1, Odc1, Atf4, and Nuf2 for decreased expression. MiR-181a-5p was verified as the most abundant DEM in neonatal cerebellum, which was further induced by α1ACT. Overall, under α1ACT modulation, up-/downregulated miRNA clusters with their paired target genes may form a regulatory network controlling the balance between the neuronal proliferation, differentiation, and cell death in the cerebellum to promote neonatal development. Our findings concerning the α1ACT-related miRNA/mRNA expression profiles in neonatal cerebellum may inform future investigations for cerebellar development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-662
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIH grants R35 R35NS116868, R01NS082788, R01NS094665, and R21NS094872 (C. M. G.), the University of Chicago Big Vision Grant (C. M. G.), CBC grant (C. M. G.), and a Floyd family donation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Cerebellum
  • Development
  • miRNA
  • α1ACT

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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