Numerous microRNPs in neuronal cells containing novel microRNAs

RNA. 2003 Feb;9(2):180-6. doi: 10.1261/rna.2141503.


Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a common neurodegenerative disease that is caused by deletions or loss-of-function mutations in the Survival of Motor Neuron (SMN) protein. SMN is part of a large complex that functions in the assembly/restructuring of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. We recently showed in HeLa cells that two components of the SMN complex, Gemin3 and Gemin4, together with the argonaute protein eIF2C2, also associate with microRNAs (miRNAs) as part of a novel class of RNPs termed miRNPs. Here we report on miRNPs isolated from neuronal cell lines of mouse and human, and describe 53 novel miRNAs. Several of these miRNAs are conserved in divergent organisms, including rat, zebrafish, pufferfish, and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The chromosomal locations of most of the novel miRNAs were identified and indicate some phylogenetic conservation of the likely precursor structures. Interestingly the gene locus of one miRNA, miR-175, is a candidate region for two neurologic diseases: early-onset parkinsonism (Waisman syndrome) and X-linked mental retardation (MRX3). Also, several miRNAs identified as part of miRNPs in these cells appear to constitute two distinct subfamilies. These subfamilies comprise multiple copies of miRNAs on different chromosomes, suggesting an important function in the regulation of gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DEAD Box Protein 20
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • RNA Helicases / genetics
  • RNA Helicases / metabolism
  • Ribonucleoproteins / genetics*


  • MicroRNAs
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • DDX20 protein, human
  • DEAD Box Protein 20
  • Ddx20 protein, mouse
  • Ddx20 protein, rat
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases
  • RNA Helicases