Transcription and multiple processing steps are required to produce specific 22 nucleotide microRNAs (miRNAs) that can regulate the expression of target genes. In C. elegans, mature lin-4 miRNA accumulates at the end of the first larval stage to repress its direct targets lin-14 and lin-28, allowing the progression of several somatic cell types to later larval fates. In this study, we characterized the expression of endogenous lin-4 and found that temporally regulated independent transcripts, but not constitutive lin-4 containing RNAs derived from an overlapping gene, are processed to mature lin-4 miRNA. Through an RNAi screen, we identified a conserved RNA binding protein gene rbm-28 (R05H10.2), homologous to the human RBM28 and yeast Nop4p proteins, that is important for lin-4 expression in C. elegans. We also demonstrate that rbm-28 genetically interacts with the lin-4 developmental timing pathway and uncover a previously unrecognized role for lin-14 and lin-28 in coordinating organismal growth.
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