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miR-205 is a critical regulator of lacrimal gland development.


The tear film protects the terrestrial animal's ocular surface and the lacrimal gland provides important aqueous secretions necessary for its maintenance. Despite the importance of the lacrimal gland in ocular health, molecular aspects of its development remain poorly understood. We have identified a noncoding RNA (miR-205) as an important gene for lacrimal gland development. Mice lacking miR-205 fail to properly develop lacrimal glands, establishing this noncoding RNA as a key regulator of lacrimal gland development. Specifically, more than half of knockout lacrimal glands never initiated, suggesting a critical role of miR-205 at the earliest stages of lacrimal gland development. RNA-seq analysis uncovered several up-regulated miR-205 targets that may interfere with signaling to impair lacrimal gland initiation. Supporting this data, combinatorial epistatic deletion of Fgf10, the driver of lacrimal gland initiation, and miR-205 in mice exacerbates the lacrimal gland phenotype. We develop a molecular rheostat model where miR-205 modulates signaling pathways related to Fgf10 in order to regulate glandular development. These data show that a single microRNA is a key regulator for early lacrimal gland development in mice and highlights the important role of microRNAs during organogenesis.

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