MicroRNAs (miRs) play important roles in neuronal differentiation, maturation, and synaptic function in the central nervous system. They have also been suggested to be implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases. Although miR-132 is one of the well-studied brain-specific miRs, which regulates synaptic structure and function in the postnatal brain, its function in the prenatal brain is still unclear. Here, we investigated miR-132 function during differentiation of rat embryonic neural stem cells (eNSCs). We found that miR-132 expression significantly increased during the fetal rat brain development and neural differentiation of eNSCs in vitro. Furthermore, miR-132 expression was increased during differentiation through MAPK/ERK1/2 pathway. Inhibition of ERK1/2 activation resulted in increased levels of synaptic proteins including PSD-95, GluR1 and synapsin I. Silencing of miR-132 also increased PSD-95 and GluR1. Considering that miR-132 increases synaptic proteins in differentiated cortical neurons, our result shows a novel function of miR-132 as a negative regulator for synaptic maturation in the neuronal differentiation of eNSCs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology