Commensal flora plays important roles in the regulation of the gene expression involved in many intestinal functions and the maintenance of immune homeostasis, as well as in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases. The microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small, noncoding RNAs, act as key regulators in many biological processes. The miRNAs are highly conserved among species and appear to play important roles in both innate and adaptive immunity, as they can control the differentiation of various immune cells, as well as their functions. However, it is still largely unknown how microbiota regulates miRNA expression, thereby contributing to intestinal homeostasis and pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. In our current study, we found that microbiota negatively regulated intestinal miR-10a expression, because the intestines, as well as intestinal epithelial cells and dendritic cells of specific pathogen-free mice, expressed much lower levels of miR-10a compared with those in germ-free mice. Commensal bacteria downregulated dendritic cell miR-10a expression via TLR-TLR ligand interactions through a MyD88-dependent pathway. We identified IL-12/IL-23p40, a key molecule for innate immune responses to commensal bacteria, as a target of miR-10a. The ectopic expression of the miR-10a precursor inhibited, whereas the miR-10a inhibitor promoted, the expression of IL-12/IL-23p40 in dendritic cells. Mice with colitis expressing higher levels of IL-12/IL-23p40 exhibited lower levels of intestinal miR-10a compared with control mice. Collectively, our data demonstrated that microbiota negatively regulates host miR-10a expression, which may contribute to the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis by targeting IL-12/IL-23p40 expression.
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