MicroRNA (miRs) are short non-coding RNAs that fine-tune the regulation of gene expression to coordinate a wide range of biological processes. MicroRNAs are transcribed from miR genes and primary miR transcripts are processed to approximately 22 nucleotide single strand mature forms that function as repressors of transcript translation when bound to the 3'UTR of protein coding transcripts in association with the RISC. Because of their role in the regulation of gene expression, miRs are essential players in development by acting on cell fate determination and progression toward cell differentiation. The miR199 and miR214 genes occupy an intronic cluster located on the opposite strand of the Dynamin3 gene. These miRNAs play major roles in a broad variety of developmental processes and diseases, including skeletal development and several types of cancer. In the work reported here, we first deciphered the origin of the miR199 and miR214 families by following evolution of miR paralogs and their host Dynamin paralogs. We then examined the expression patterns of miR199 and miR214 in developing zebrafish embryos and demonstrated their regulation through a common primary transcript. Results suggest an evolutionarily conserved regulation across vertebrate lineages. Our expression study showed predominant expression patterns for both miR in tissues surrounding developing craniofacial skeletal elements consistent with expression data in mouse and human, thus indicating a conserved role of miR199 and miR214 in vertebrate skeletogenesis.
Keywords: dnm3; dnm3os; miR199; miR214; miRNA evolution; microRNA; skeletogenesis; vertebrates; zebrafish.