Identification and Characterization of microRNAs during Retinoic Acid-Induced Regeneration of a Molluscan Central Nervous System
Walker, Sarah E
Spencer, Gaynor E.
Carlone, Robert L.
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Retinoic acid (RA) is the biologically active metabolite of vitamin A and has become a well-established factor that induces neurite outgrowth and regeneration in both vertebrates and invertebrates. However, the underlying regulatory mechanisms that may mediate RA-induced neurite sprouting remain unclear. In the past decade, microRNAs have emerged as important regulators of nervous system development and regeneration, and have been shown to contribute to processes such as neurite sprouting. However, few studies have demonstrated the role of miRNAs in RA-induced neurite sprouting. By miRNA sequencing analysis, we identify 482 miRNAs in the regenerating central nervous system (CNS) of the mollusc Lymnaea stagnalis, 219 of which represent potentially novel miRNAs. Of the remaining conserved miRNAs, 38 show a statistically significant up- or downregulation in regenerating CNS as a result of RA treatment. We further characterized the expression of one neuronally-enriched miRNA upregulated by RA, miR-124. We demonstrate, for the first time, that miR-124 is expressed within the cell bodies and neurites of regenerating motorneurons. Moreover, we identify miR-124 expression within the growth cones of cultured ciliary motorneurons (pedal A), whereas expression in the growth cones of another class of respiratory motorneurons (right parietal A) was absent in vitro. These findings support our hypothesis that miRNAs are important regulators of retinoic acid-induced neuronal outgrowth and regeneration in regeneration-competent species.