PURPOSE. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, noncoding transcripts that negatively regulate gene expression. They are implicated in diverse cellular processes. The purpose of this study was to obtain a global expression profile of miRNAs in the developing retina and identify differences in miRNA expression between adult rod and cone photoreceptors. METHODS. Locked nucleic acid (LNA) microarrays were used to investigate the miRNA transcriptome of the developing mouse retina and brain. Real-time PCR was used to validate the array findings. Laser capture microdissection was used to determine the miRNA spatial pattern of expression. RESULTS. One hundred thirty-eight miRNAs were expressed at at least one of the investigated time points. Several miRNAs showed significant changes in expression between embryonic day 15 and adult age in both retina and brain. Cluster analysis identified subgroups of miRNAs showing defined expression profiles. Globally, correlation of expression was higher, with increasing sequence similarity of the mature miRNAs. The miRNAs with identical seed sequences exhibited highly correlated expression profiles. The co-expression of selected host gene and intronic miRNA pairs was confirmed in adult retina. In some cases, expression profiles of miRNAs showed weak correlation with those of their host transcripts, suggesting posttranscriptional regulation of miRNAs during development. In addition, the miRNA transcriptome of rod- and cone-dominant retinas showed only minor differences, and no miRNAs specific for either cell-type were identified. CONCLUSIONS. Global expression profiling revealed dozens of miRNAs with significant expression changes in the developing retina. Precise patterns of expression of miRNAs suggest their specific roles in development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience