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Transcription of the C. elegans let-7 microRNA is temporally regulated by one of its targets, hbl-1

Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
Developmental Biology (Impact Factor: 3.64). 08/2009; 334(2):523-34. DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.07.012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The let-7 family of microRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators of developmental timing and cell differentiation and are often misexpressed in human cancer. In C. elegans, let-7 controls cell fate transitions from larval stage 4 (L4) to adulthood by post-transcriptionally down-regulating lineage-abnormal 41 (lin-41) and hunchback-like 1 (hbl-1). Primary let-7 (pri-let-7) transcripts are up-regulated in the L3, yet little is known about what controls this transcriptional up-regulation. We sought factors that either turn on let-7 transcription or keep it repressed until the correct time. Here we report that one of let-7's targets, the transcription factor Hunchback-like 1 (HBL-1), is responsible for inhibiting the transcription of let-7 in specific tissues until the L3. hbl-1 is a known developmental timing regulator and inhibits adult development in larval stages. Therefore, one important function of HBL-1 in maintaining larval stage fates is inhibition of let-7. Indeed, our results reveal let-7 as the first known target of the HBL-1 transcription factor in C. elegans and suggest a negative feedback loop mechanism for let-7 and HBL-1 regulation.

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