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MicroRNAs are Necessary for BMP-7-induced Dendritic Growth in Cultured Rat Sympathetic Neurons.


Neuronal connectivity is dependent on size and shape of the dendritic arbor. However, mechanisms controlling dendritic arborization, especially in the peripheral nervous system, are not completely understood. Previous studies have shown that bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are important initiators of dendritic growth in peripheral neurons. In this study, we examined the hypothesis that post-transcriptional regulation mediated by microRNAs (miRNAs) is necessary for BMP-7-induced dendritic growth in these neurons. To examine the role of miRNAs in BMP-7-induced dendritic growth, microarray analyses was used to profile miRNA expression in cultured sympathetic neurons from the superior cervical ganglia of embryonic day 21 rat pups at 6 and 24 h after treatment with BMP-7 (50 ng/mL). Our data showed that BMP-7 significantly regulated the expression of 43 of the 762 miRNAs. Of the 43 miRNAs, 22 showed robust gene expression; 14 were upregulated by BMP-7 and 8 were downregulated by BMP-7. The expression profile for miR-335, miR-664-1*, miR-21, and miR-23b was confirmed using qPCR analyses. Functional studies using morphometric analyses of dendritic growth in cultured sympathetic neurons transfected with miRNA mimics and inhibitors indicated that miR-664-1*, miR-23b, and miR-21 regulated early stages of BMP-7-induced dendritic growth. In summary, our data provide evidence for miRNA-mediated post-transcriptional regulation as important downstream component of BMP-7 signaling during early stages of dendritic growth in sympathetic neurons.

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