MicroRNA-9a ensures the precise specification of sensory organ precursors in Drosophila

Genes Dev. 2006 Oct 15;20(20):2793-805. doi: 10.1101/gad.1466306. Epub 2006 Oct 2.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated in regulating various aspects of animal development, but their functions in neurogenesis are largely unknown. Here we report that loss of miR-9a function in the Drosophila peripheral nervous system leads to ectopic production of sensory organ precursors (SOPs), whereas overexpression of miR-9a results in a severe loss of SOPs. We further demonstrate a strong genetic interaction between miR-9a and senseless (sens) in controlling the formation of SOPs in the adult wing imaginal disc. Moreover, miR-9a suppresses Sens expression through its 3' untranslated region. miR-9a is expressed in epithelial cells, including those adjacent to SOPs within proneural clusters, suggesting that miR-9a normally inhibits neuronal fate in non-SOP cells by down-regulating Sens expression. These results indicate that miR-9a ensures the generation of the precise number of neuronal precursor cells during development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Base Sequence
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • MicroRNAs*
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Wings, Animal / embryology


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • MicroRNAs