Modified BMC Genomics Abstract:
The addition of adult-born neurons into functional circuits requires precise spatiotemporal coordination across molecular networks regulating a wide array of processes, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, neurotrophin signaling, and electrical activity. MicroRNAs (miRs) – short, non-coding RNA sequences that alter gene expression by post-transcriptional inhibition or degradation of mRNA sequences – may be involved in the global coordination of such diverse biological processes. To test the hypothesis that miRs related to adult neurogenesis and related cellular processes are functionally regulated in the nuclei of the avian song control circuit, we used microarray analyses to quantify changes in expression of miRs and predicted target mRNAs in the several song control nuclei in breeding and nonbreeding sparrows. We identified several miRs that were differentially expressed across seasons in the song nuclei and were predicted to target mRNAs that regulate cell cycle control, calcium signaling, monoamine receptor signaling, and inflammation. These results identify potential miR–mRNA regulatory networks related to adult neurogenesis and provide opportunities to discover novel genetic control of the diverse biological processes and factors related to the functional incorporation of new neurons to the adult brain.