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Using hippocampal microRNA expression differences between mouse inbred strains to characterise miRNA function

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Michael J. Parsons, Christina H. Grimm, Jose L. Paya-Cano, Karen Sugden, Wilfried Nietfeld, Hans Lehrach, Leonard C. Schalkwyk

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552 - 560
Number of pages9
JournalMammalian Genome
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008

King's Authors


Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are short, single-stranded, noncoding RNAs that are involved in the regulation of protein-coding genes at the level of messenger RNA (mRNA). They are involved in the regulation of numerous traits, including developmental timing, apoptosis, immune function, and neuronal development. To better understand how the expression of the miRNAs themselves is regulated, we looked for miRNA expression differences among four mouse inbred strains, A/J, BALB/cJ, C57BL/6J, and DBA/2J, in one tissue, the hippocampus. A total of 166 miRNA RT-PCR assays were used to screen RNA pools for each strain. Twenty miRNA species that were markedly different between strains were further investigated using eight individual samples per strain, and 11 miRNAs showed significant differences across strains (p <0.05). This is the first observation of miRNA expression differences across inbred mice strains. We conducted an in silico correlation analysis of the expression of these differentially expressed miRNAs with phenotype data and mRNA expression to better characterise the effects of these miRNAs on both phenotype and the regulation of mRNA expression. This approach has allowed us to nominate miRNAs that have potential roles in anxiety, exploration, and learning and memory.

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