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Background: The small non-coding microRNAs play an important role in development by regulating protein translation, but their involvement in axon guidance is unknown. Here, we investigated the role of microRNA-134 (miR-134) in chemotropic guidance of nerve growth cones. Results: We found that miR-134 is highly expressed in the neural tube of Xenopus embryos. Fluorescent in situ hybridization also showed that miR-134 is enriched in the growth cones of Xenopus spinal neurons in culture. Importantly, overexpression of miR-134 mimics or antisense inhibitors blocked protein synthesis (PS)-dependent attractive responses of Xenopus growth cones to a gradient of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, miR-134 mimics or inhibitors had no effect on PS-independent bidirectional responses of Xenopus growth cones to bone morphogenic protein 7 (BMP7). Our data further showed that Xenopus LIM kinase 1 (Xlimk1) mRNA is a potential target of miR-134 regulation. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate a role for miR-134 in translation-dependent guidance of nerve growth cones. Different guidance cues may act through distinct signaling pathways to elicit PS-dependent and -independent mechanisms to steer growth cones in response to a wide array of spatiotemporal cues during development. © 2011 Han et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Han, L., Wen, Z., Lynn, R. C., Baudet, M. L., Holt, C. E., Sasaki, Y., … Zheng, J. Q. (2011). Regulation of chemotropic guidance of nerve growth cones by microRNA. Molecular Brain, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-6606-4-40