miR-15/16 Restrain Memory T Cell Differentiation, Cell Cycle, and Survival

Cell Rep. 2019 Aug 20;28(8):2169-2181.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.07.064.


Coordinate control of T cell proliferation, survival, and differentiation are essential for host protection from pathogens and cancer. Long-lived memory cells, whose precursors are formed during the initial immunological insult, provide protection from future encounters, and their generation is the goal of many vaccination strategies. microRNAs (miRNAs) are key nodes in regulatory networks that shape effective T cell responses through the fine-tuning of thousands of genes. Here, using compound conditional mutant mice to eliminate miR-15/16 family miRNAs in T cells, we show that miR-15/16 restrict T cell cycle, survival, and memory T cell differentiation. High throughput sequencing of RNA isolated by cross-linking immunoprecipitation of AGO2 combined with gene expression analysis in miR-15/16-deficient T cells indicates that these effects are mediated through the direct inhibition of an extensive network of target genes within pathways critical to cell cycle, survival, and memory.

Keywords: Argonaute HITS-CLIP; CD127; IL-7 receptor; T cell memory; cell cycle; miR-15a; miR-15b; miR-16; miRNA; microRNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle* / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation* / genetics
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Genetic Loci
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus / physiology
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Antigens
  • MicroRNAs
  • Mirn15 microRNA, mouse
  • Mirn16 microRNA, mouse