Altered White Matter and microRNA Expression in a Murine Model Related to Williams Syndrome Suggests that miR-34b/c Affects Brain Development via Ptpru and Dcx Modulation

Meitar Grad, Ariel Nir, Gilad Levy, Sari Schokoroy Trangle, Guy Shapira, Noam Shomron, Yaniv Assaf, Boaz Barak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Williams syndrome (WS) is a multisystem neurodevelopmental disorder caused by a de novo hemizygous deletion of ~26 genes from chromosome 7q11.23, among them the general transcription factor II-I (GTF2I). By studying a novel murine model for the hypersociability phenotype associated with WS, we previously revealed surprising aberrations in myelination and cell differentiation properties in the cortices of mutant mice compared to controls. These mutant mice had selective deletion of Gtf2i in the excitatory neurons of the forebrain. Here, we applied diffusion magnetic resonance imaging and fiber tracking, which showed a reduction in the number of stream-lines in limbic outputs such as the fimbria/fornix fibers and the stria terminalis, as well as the corpus callosum of these mutant mice compared to controls. Furthermore, we utilized next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis of cortical small RNAs’ expression (RNA-Seq) levels to identify altered expression of microRNAs (miRNAs), including two from the miR-34 cluster, known to be involved in prominent processes in the developing nervous system. Luciferase reporter assay confirmed the direct binding of miR-34c-5p to the 3’UTR of PTPRU—a gene involved in neural development that was elevated in the cortices of mutant mice relative to controls. Moreover, we found an age-depend-ent variation in the expression levels of doublecortin (Dcx)—a verified miR-34 target. Thus, we demonstrate the substantial effect a single gene deletion can exert on miRNA regulation and brain structure, and advance our understanding and, hopefully, treatment of WS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number158
JournalCells
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Brain development
  • Dcx
  • Gtf2i
  • MiR-34b/c
  • MiRNA
  • PTPRU
  • Rheb1
  • Williams syndrome

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