Critical role of the miR-200 family in regulating differentiation and proliferation of neurons

J Neurochem. 2015 Jun;133(5):640-52. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13089.


The generation of differentiated and functional neurons is a complex process, which requires coordinated expression of several proteins and microRNAs (miRNAs). The present study using nerve growth factor (NGF)-differentiated PC12 cells led to the identification of miR-200, miR-221/222 and miR-34 families as major up-regulated miRNAs in fully differentiated neurons. Similar to PC12 cells, induction of miR-200 family was observed in differentiating neural stem cells, demonstrating a direct role of miR-200 family in neuronal differentiation. Over-expression of miR-200 induced neurite formation in PC12 cells and regulated neuronal markers in favour of differentiation. However, inhibition of miR-200 induced proliferation of PC12 cells. In differentiating PC12 cells and neural stem cells, an inverse relationship was observed between expression of reprogramming transcription factors (SOX2, KLF4, NANOG, OCT4 and PAX6) and miR-200. Over-expression of miR-200 in PC12 cells significantly down-regulated mRNA and protein levels of SOX2 and KLF4. Moreover, we observed two phases of dramatic down-regulation of miR-200 expression in developing rat brains correlating with periods of neuronal proliferation. In conclusion, our results indicate that increased expression of the miR-200 family promotes neuronal differentiation, while decreased expression of the miR-200 family promotes neuronal proliferation by targeting SOX2 and KLF4.

Keywords: PC12; miR-200; microRNA; neural stem cells; neurogenesis; senescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cell Survival
  • Kruppel-Like Factor 4
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Nerve Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • PC12 Cells
  • Rats
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transfection
  • Up-Regulation


  • Klf4 protein, rat
  • Kruppel-Like Factor 4
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • MIRN200 microRNA, rat
  • MicroRNAs
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors
  • Sox2 protein, rat
  • Nerve Growth Factor