PNAS 2010 Nov 23;107(47):20382-7. Epub 2010 No
Cambronne, XA; Goodman, RH.; Leighton, BH; Lioy, DT; Luikart, BW; Magill, ST; Mandel, G; Westbrook, GL
Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.
Newborn neurons in the dentate gyrus of the adult hippocampus rely upon cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) signaling for their differentiation into mature granule cells and their integration into the dentate network. Among its many targets, the transcription factor CREB activates expression of a gene locus that produces two microRNAs, miR-132 and miR-212. In cultured cortical and hippocampal neurons, miR-132 functions downstream from CREB to mediate activity-dependent dendritic growth and spine formation in response to a variety of signaling pathways. To investigate whether miR-132 and/or miR-212 contribute to the maturation of dendrites in newborn neurons in the adult hippocampus, we inserted LoxP sites surrounding the miR-212/132 locus and specifically targeted its deletion by stereotactically injecting a retrovirus expressing Cre recombinase. Deletion of the miR-212/132 locus caused a dramatic decrease in dendrite length, arborization, and spine density. The miR-212/132 locus may express up to four distinct microRNAs, miR-132 and -212 and their reverse strands miR-132* and -212*. Using ratiometric microRNA sensors, we determined that miR-132 is the predominantly active product in hippocampal neurons. We conclude that miR-132 is required for normal dendrite maturation in newborn neurons in the adult hippocampus and suggest that this microRNA also may participate in other examples of CREB-mediated signaling.