miR-15a and miR-16 regulate serotonin transporter expression in human placental and rat brain raphe cells

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013 Apr;16(3):621-9. doi: 10.1017/S1461145712000454. Epub 2012 May 8.


The serotonin transporter (SERT) is a key regulatory molecule in serotonergic transmission implicated in numerous biological processes relevant to human disorders. Recently, it was shown that SERT expression is controlled by miR-16 in mouse brain. Here, we show that SERT expression is regulated additionally by miR-15a as well as miR-16 in human and rat tissues. This post-transcriptional regulation was observed and characterized in reporter assays and likewise when endogenous SERT expression was evaluated in human placental choriocarcinoma JAR cells and rat brain raphe RN46A cells - two cell lines that endogenously express SERT. Similar effects for miR-16 to those of miR-15a were found in both human and rat cell lines. The effects of miR-15a and miR-16 were comparable in extent to those originally reported for miR-16 in mice. These findings represent a novel layer of complexity for SERT expression regulation exerted by the mir-15a/16 cluster, whose genes are adjacently located at human chromosome 13q14.3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Placenta / cytology
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Raphe Nuclei / cytology
  • Raphe Nuclei / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics


  • MIRN15 microRNA, human
  • MIRN16 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • SLC6A4 protein, human
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins