miR-27b shapes the presynaptic transcriptome and influences neurotransmission by silencing the polycomb group protein Bmi1.
BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that are emerging as important post-transcriptional regulators of neuronal and synaptic development. The precise impact of miRNAs on presynaptic function and neurotransmission remains, however, poorly understood. RESULTS: Here, we identify miR-27b-an abundant neuronal miRNA implicated in neurological disorders-as a global regulator of the presynaptic transcriptome. miR-27b influences the expression of three quarters of genes associated with presynaptic function in cortical neurons. Contrary to expectation, a large majority of these genes are up-regulated by miR-27b. This stimulatory effect is mediated by miR-27b-directed silencing of several transcriptional repressors that cooperate to suppress the presynaptic transcriptome. The strongest repressive activity appears to be mediated by Bmi1, a component of the polycomb repressive complex implicated in self-renewal of neural stem cells. miR-27b knockdown leads to reduced synaptogenesis and to a marked decrease in neural network activity, which is fully restored by RNAi-mediated silencing of Bmi1. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that silencing of Bmi1 by miR-27b relieves repression of the presynaptic transcriptome and supports neurotransmission in cortical networks. These results expand the repressive activity of Bmi1 to genes involved in synaptic function and identify a unique post-transcriptional circuitry that stimulates expression of synaptic genes and promotes synapse differentiation.
Poon, VY; Gu, M; Ji, F; VanDongen, AM; Fivaz, M
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