The let-7 microRNA interfaces extensively with the translation machinery to regulate cell differentiation
Volume 7, Issue 19
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October 1, 2008
Pages 3083 - 3090http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cc.7.19.6778
Authors: Xavier C. Ding, Frank J. Slack and Helge Großhans View affiliations
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are noncoding RNAs that regulate numerous target genes through a posttranscriptional mechanism and thus control major developmental pathways. The phylogenetically conserved let-7 miRNA regulates cell proliferation and differentiation, thus functioning as a key regulator of developmental timing in C. elegans and a tumor suppressor gene in humans. Using a reverse genetic screen, we have identified genetic interaction partners of C. elegans let-7, including known and novel potential target genes. Initial identification of several translation initiation factors as suppressors of a let-7 mutation led us to systemically examine genetic interaction between let-7 and the translational machinery, which we found to be widespread. In the presence of wild-type let-7, depletion of the translation initiation factor eIF3 resulted in precocious cell differentiation, suggesting that developmental timing is translationally regulated, possibly by let-7. As overexpression of the eIF3 in humans promotes translation of mRNAs that are also targets of let-7-mediated repression, we suggest that eIF3 may directly or indirectly oppose let-7 activity. This might provide an explanation for the opposite functions of let-7 and eIF3 in regulating tumorigenesis.