The latest miRNA database (Release 21) annotated 2588 and 1915 miRNAs in the human and mouse genomes, respectively.1 However, the biological roles of miRNAs in vivo remain largely unknown. In particular, the physiological and pathological roles of individual microRNAs in the brain have not been investigated extensively although expression profiles of microRNAs have been reported in many given conditions. In a recent study,2 we identified miR-19, which is enriched in adult hippocampal neural progenitor cells (NPCs), as a key regulator for adult hippocampal neurogenesis. miR-19 is an intrinsic factor regulating the migration of newborn neurons by modulating expression level of RAPGEF2. After observing the abnormal expression patterns of miR-19 and RAPGEF2 in NPCs derived from induced pluripotent stem cells of schizophrenic patients, which display aberrant cell migration, we proposed miR-19 as a molecule associated with schizophrenia. The results illustrate that a single microRNA has the potential to impact the functions of the brain. Identifying miRNA-mediated posttranscriptional gene regulation in the brain will expand our understanding of brain development and functions and the etiologies of several brain disorders.
Keywords: Rapgef2; adult NPCs; hippocampal neurogenesis; miR-17∼92; miR-19; microRNA; migration; posttranscriptional gene regulation; schizophrenia.