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Neurogenesis in the nervous system is regulated by both protein coding genes and non-coding RNA molecules. microRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small non-coding RNAs and usually negatively regulate gene expression by binding to the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs). miRNAs have been shown to play an essential role in neurogenesis, regulating neuronal proliferation, differentiation, maturation, and migration. An important strategy used to reveal miRNA function is the manipulation of their expression levels and patterns in specific regions and cell types in the nervous system. In this review we will systemically highlight established and new approaches used to achieve gain-of-function and loss-of-function of miRNAs in vitro and in vivo, and will also summarize miRNA delivery techniques. As the development of these leading edge techniques come online, more exciting discoveries of the roles miRNAs play in neural development and function will be uncovered.
Keywords: neurogenesis, microRNAs, miRNA inhibitor, miRNA sponge, mRNA protector
Citation: Zhang H, Shykind B and Sun T (2013) Approaches to manipulating microRNAs in neurogenesis. Front. Neurosci. 6:196. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00196
Received: 25 October 2012; Accepted: 21 December 2012; Published online: 17 January 2013.
Copyright © 2013 Zhang, Shykind and Sun. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
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