MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have important roles in the development of the central nervous system (CNS). Several reports indicate that tissue development and cellular differentiation in the developing forebrain are disrupted in the absence of miRNAs. However, the functions of miRNAs during cerebellar development have not been systematically characterized. Here, we conditionally knocked out the Dicer1 gene under the control of the human glial fibrillary acidic protein (hGFAP) promoter to examine the effect of miRNAs in the developing cerebellum. We particularly focused on the phenotype of Bergmann glia (BG). The hGFAP-Cre activity was detected as early as embryonic day 13.5 (E13.5) at the rhombic lip (RL) in the cerebellar plate, and later in several postnatal cerebellar cell types, including BG. Dicer1 ablation induces a smaller and less developed cerebellum, accompanied by aberrant BG morphology. Notch1 signaling appears to be blocked in Dicer1-ablated BG, with reduced expression of the Notch1 target gene, brain lipid binding protein (BLBP). Using neuronal co-culture assays, we showed an intrinsic effect of Dicer1 on BG morphology and Notch1 target gene expression. We further identified miR-9 as being differentially expressed in BG and showed that miR-9 is a critical, but not the only, miRNA component of the Notch1 signaling pathway in cultured BG cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience