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Paper Chase

let-7 and miR-140 microRNAs coordinately regulate skeletal development.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. Aug 27, 2013;110(35):E3291-300.
Papaioannou G, Inloes JB, Nakamura Y, Paltrinieri E, Kobayashi T.

Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play critical roles in multiple processes of skeletal development. A global reduction of miRNAs in growth plate chondrocytes results in defects in both proliferation and differentiation; however, specific microRNAs responsible for these defects have not been identified. In this study, we provide evidence that let-7 miRNAs and microRNA-140 (miR-140), among other miRNAs expressed in chondrocytes, play major roles in endochondral bone development. We overexpressed lin-28 homolog A (Lin28a) to inhibit let-7 miRNA biogenesis in growth plate chondrocytes. Lin28a overexpression efficiently and specifically reduced let-7 miRNAs and up-regulated let-7 target genes. However, unlike the previous notion that let-7 miRNAs inhibit proliferation and growth, suppression of let-7 miRNAs via Lin28a overexpression decreased proliferation in growth plate chondrocytes, likely through up-regulation of the let-7 target cell cycle regulators cell division cycle 34 (Cdc34) and E2F transcription factor 5 (E2F5). Deficiency of the chondrocyte-specific miRNA, miR-140, causes a differentiation defect in growth plate chondrocytes. Although either Lin28a overexpression or miR-140 deficiency alone caused only mild growth impairment, mice with both miR-140 deficiency and Lin28a overexpression in chondrocytes showed a dramatic growth defect. Deregulation of distinct processes in the absence of these miRNAs synergistically decreased the proliferating chondrocyte mass; miR-140 deficiency reduced differentiation into proliferating chondrocytes, whereas Lin28a overexpression decreased proliferation per se.