Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a pivotal role in coordinating messenger RNA (mRNA) transcription and stability in almost all known biological processes, including the development of the central nervous system. Despite our broad understanding of their involvement, we still have a very sparse understanding of specifically how miRNA contribute to the strict regional and temporal regulation of brain development. Accordingly, in the current study we have examined the contribution of miRNA in the developing rat telencephalon and mesencephalon from just after neural tube closure till birth using a genome-wide microarray strategy.
Results: We identified temporally distinct expression patterns in both the telencephalon and mesencephalon for both miRNAs and their target genes. We demonstrate direct miRNA targeting of several genes involved with the migration, differentiation and maturation of neurons.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that miRNA have significant implications for the development of neural structure and support important mechanisms that if disrupted, may contribute to or drive neurodevelopmental disorders.