Profiling of RNA from mouse mammary epithelial cells (MECs) isolated on pregnancy day (P)14 and lactation day (L)2 revealed that the majority of differentially expressed microRNA declined precipitously between late pregnancy and lactation. The decline in miR-150, which exhibited the greatest fold-decrease, was verified quantitatively and qualitatively. To test the hypothesis that the decline in miR-150 is crucial for lactation, MEC-specific constitutive miR-150 was achieved by crossing ROSA26-lox-STOP-lox-miR-150 mice with WAP-driven Cre recombinase mice. Both biological and foster pups nursed by bitransgenic dams exhibited a dramatic decrease in survival compared with offspring nursed by littermate control dams. Protein products of predicted miR-150 targets Fasn, Olah, Acaca, and Stat5B were significantly suppressed in MECs of bitransgenic mice with constitutive miR-150 expression as compared with control mice at L2. Lipid profiling revealed a significant reduction in fatty acids synthesized by the de novo pathway in L2 MECs of bitransgenic versus control mice. Collectively, these data support the hypothesis that a synchronized decrease in miRNAs, such as miR-150, at late pregnancy serves to allow translation of targets crucial for lactation.
Keywords: Fatty acid synthesis; Lactation; Mammary gland; MicroRNA-150.
© 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.