MicroRNAs are enriched in neurons and play important roles in dendritic spine development and synaptic plasticity. MicroRNA activity is controlled by a wide range of RNA-binding proteins. FMRP, a highly conserved RNA-binding protein, has been linked to microRNA-mediated gene regulation in axonal development and dendritic spine formation. FMRP also participates in dendritic arbor morphogenesis, but whether and how microRNAs contribute to its function in this process remains to be elucidated. Here, using Drosophila larval sensory neurons, we show that a FMRP-associated microRNA, miR-276, functions in FMRP-mediated space-filling dendrite morphogenesis. Using EGFP microRNA sensors, we demonstrate that FMRP likely acts by regulating miR-276a RNA targeting rather than by modulating microRNA levels. Supporting this conclusion, miR-276a coimmunoprecipitated with FMRP and this association was dependent on the FMRP KH domains. By testing putative targets of the FMRP–miR-276a regulatory axis, we identified nejire as a FMRP-associated mRNA and, using EGFP reporters, showed that the nejire 30 untranslated region is a target of miR-276a in vivo. Genetic analysis places nejire downstream of the FMRP–miR-276a pathway in regulating dendrite patterning. Together, our findings support a model in which FMRP facilitates miR-276a-mediated control of nejire for proper dendrite space-filling morphology and shed light on microRNA-dependent dendrite developmental pathology of fragile X syndrome.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Fragile X syndrome
- dendritic arborization