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Author Notes:

Correspondence: james.zheng@emory.edu

LH, ZW, RCL contributed equally to this project.

As a part of her PhD thesis work, LH initiated the project and performed most of the experiments on the presence of miR-134 in Xenopus neurons and growth cones.

ZW did the turning assays and RCL cloned the 3'UTR of Xenopus laevis Limk1 and performed most of the molecular cloning and FISH experiments.

MLB performed the whole mount in situ detection of miR-134 in Xenopus embryos and CEH provided the feedback on the miR-134 experiments.

YS did the initial Xlimk1 FISH and GJB provided the input to the experiments.

JQZ designed and planned the project, provided guidance to the project, performed some of the imaging experiments, and wrote the paper with LH. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

We would like to thank Dr. Yue Feng at the Department of Pharmacology (Emory) for her insightful input to this project.

We also thank Dr. Gerhard Schratt (University of Heidelberg, Germany) for sharing his miR-134 related DNA constructs.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Research Funding:

This project is supported in part by research grants from National Institutes of Health to JQZ (GM083889) and GJB (DA027080), as well as by Programme Grants from Wellcome Trust to CEH.

MLB is supported by NSERC and AHFMR Canadian fellowships.


  • Axon guidance
  • microRNA
  • translation
  • BDNF
  • BMP7
  • actin cytoskeleton
  • migration

Regulation of chemotropic guidance of nerve growth cones by microRNA


Journal Title:

Molecular Brain


Volume 4


, Pages 40-40

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Background The small non-coding microRNAs play an important role in development by regulating protein translation, but their involvement in axon guidance is unknown. Here, we investigated the role of microRNA-134 (miR-134) in chemotropic guidance of nerve growth cones. Results We found that miR-134 is highly expressed in the neural tube of Xenopus embryos. Fluorescent in situ hybridization also showed that miR-134 is enriched in the growth cones of Xenopus spinal neurons in culture. Importantly, overexpression of miR-134 mimics or antisense inhibitors blocked protein synthesis (PS)-dependent attractive responses of Xenopus growth cones to a gradient of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, miR-134 mimics or inhibitors had no effect on PS-independent bidirectional responses of Xenopus growth cones to bone morphogenic protein 7 (BMP7). Our data further showed that Xenopus LIM kinase 1 (Xlimk1) mRNA is a potential target of miR-134 regulation. Conclusions These findings demonstrate a role for miR-134 in translation-dependent guidance of nerve growth cones. Different guidance cues may act through distinct signaling pathways to elicit PS-dependent and -independent mechanisms to steer growth cones in response to a wide array of spatiotemporal cues during development.

Copyright information:

©2011 Han et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/).

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