HOME ABOUT CONTACT AVAILABLE ISSUES SUBSCRIBE MEDIA & ADS
LATEST UPDATES » Vol 23, No 11, November 2019 – Evaluating cost effectiveness of genomic profiling       » Ion treatment offers new hope for cancer patients       » Empowering sustainability through innovation       » Meeting clinical needs in Asia with HealthTech       » The key in diagnosis and treatment       » Singapore's first private co-working laboratory and office space       » Singapore-based MedTech company announced as winner of 2019 Asia Pacific Showcase Competition at The MedTech Forum      
FEATURES
Spatiotemporal Control of Hox genes by microRNA
by Chung-Jung Li & Jun-An Chen
Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica

Hox genes have been extensively studied for more than 30 years. Although it is well-known that Hox genes are essential to the specification of spinal motor neuron subtype identities along the rostrocaudal axis, it remains unclear how the Hox genes are precisely regulated to achieve their collinear spatiotemporal expression. In collaboration with Prof. Qing Nie from the Mathematics Department of UC Irvine, Dr. Jun-An Chen from IMB Academia Sinica has uncovered a novel microRNA/Hox gene expression network that contributes to the dynamic control of Hox gene expression, thereby ensuring proper motor neuron subtype identities during development. This model was established by in silico mathematical simulations and was examined further using embryonic stem cell differentiation systems and investigations of mouse and chicken embryos. Their work was published in Nature Communications on 24 March 2017, under the title 鈥淢icroRNA Filters Hox Temporal Transcription Noise to Confer Boundary Formation in the Spinal Cord".

Hox genes are expressed in a specific spatial and temporal pattern during motor neuron development. These specific patterns then dictate the specification of particular subtypes of motor neurons, which in turn affects the innervation pattern of their respective muscle targets. Previous studies reported a delay in translation of Hox proteins from messenger RNA; whereas the messenger RNAs of Hox genes are detected at progenitor stages of motor neurons, Hox proteins are not translated until the later postmitotic stage.

MicroRNAs belong to a class of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) that regulate cell function by repressing the translation of target messenger RNAs after transcription. Dr. Chen and his collaborators hypothesized that microRNAs might mediate the delayed Hox protein translation. Indeed, when the microRNA-generating Dicer gene was deleted from motor neuron progenitor cells, they started to immediately translate Hoxa5 messenger RNA into proteins, i.e. before the postmitotic stage. The result of this early expression is a fuzzy distribution of Hoxa5 proteins that disrupts a particular Hox5-Hox8 boundary in postmitotic motor neurons. This boundary is essential for defining different motor neuron subtypes. The network of Hox genes and microRNAs were then explored in silico and two feed-forward Hox-microRNA loops were identified that accounted for the observed phenotypes. Finally, gain- and loss-of-function studies, both in vitro and in vivo, revealed a specific microRNA (mir-27) to be a major regulator of the temporal delay and spatial collinearity of Hox protein expression. It is notable that the mir-27-dependent phenotype established through the study of mice can be reproduced in chicken embryos, indicating that this novel Hox-microRNA genetic circuitry is essential and evolutionarily well-preserved.

This study was supported by Academia Sinica, MoST and NHRI.

Website:https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14685

Contact:
Dr. Jun-An Chen (Assistant research fellow, IMB, Academia Sinica)
jachen@imb.sinica.edu.tw
(Tel) +886-2-2788-0460
https://www.imb.sinica.edu.tw/~jachen/

Click here for the complete issue.

NEWS CRUNCH  
news ECV2019 China Healthcare and Pharma Digital Innovation Summit Held Successfully in Shanghai — The "Highway" Era of Healthcare Digital Transformation
news Natural Extracts Innovated, Transformed and Diversely Laid Out to Embrace the Blue Ocean Market of Big Health
news The Proteona Oncology Challenge using ESCAPETM Single Cell Proteogenomic Analysis
news New computational fluid dynamics solution for modeling aerosol mixtures in biomedical and environmental research
PR NEWSWIRE  
Asia Pacific Biotech News
SPOTLIGHT  
LIFE OF A SCIENTIST  

APBN Editorial Calendar 2019
January:
Taiwan Medical tourism
February:
Marijuana as medicine — Legal marijuana will open up scientific research
March:
Driven by curiosity
April:
Career developments for researchers
May:
What's cracking — Antibodies in ostrich eggs
June:
Clinical trials — What's in a name?
July:
Traditional Chinese medicine in modern healthcare — Integrating both worlds
August:
Digitalization vs Digitization — Exploring Emerging Trends in Healthcare
September:
Healthy Ageing — How Science is chipping in
October:
Disruptive Urban Farming — Microbes, Plasmids, and Recycling
November:
Evaluating cost effectiveness of genomic profiling
Editorial calendar is subjected to changes.
MAGAZINE TAGS
About Us
Events
Available issues
Editorial Board
Letters to Editor
Instructions to Authors
Advertise with Us
CONTACT
World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
5 Toh Tuck Link, Singapore 596224
Tel: 65-6466-5775
Fax: 65-6467-7667
» For Editorial Enquiries:
   biotech_edit@wspc.com or Ms Deborah Seah
» For Subscriptions, Advertisements &
   Media Partnerships Enquiries:
   biotech_ad@wspc.com
Copyright© 2019 World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd  •  Privacy Policy