MicroRNAs are approximately 22 nucleotide endogenous noncoding RNAs that post-transcriptionally repress expression of protein-coding genes by base-pairing with the 3'-untranslated regions of the target mRNAs. We present here an inventory of miRNA expression profiles from 13 neuroanatomically distinct areas of the adult mouse central nervous system (CNS). Microarray profiling in combination with real-time RT-PCR and LNA (locked nucleic acid)-based in situ hybridization uncovered 44 miRNAs displaying more than threefold enrichment in the spinal cord, cerebellum, medulla oblongata, pons, hypothalamus, hippocampus, neocortex, olfactory bulb, eye, and pituitary gland. These findings suggest that a large number of mouse CNS-expressed miRNAs may be associated with specific functions within these regions. Notably, more than 50% of the identified mouse CNS-enriched miRNAs showed different expression patterns compared to those reported in zebrafish, although the mature miRNA sequences are nearly 100% conserved between the two vertebrate species. The inventory of miRNA profiles in the adult mouse CNS presented here provides an important step toward further elucidation of miRNA function and miRNA-related gene regulatory networks in the mammalian central nervous system.
Keywords: Animals; Central Nervous System; Gene Expression; Gene Expression Profiling; In Situ Hybridization; Male; Mice; Mice, Inbred BALB C; MicroRNAs; Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction; Species Specificity; Tissue Distribution; Zebrafish