microRNA-31 regulates skeletogenesis by direct suppression of Eve and Wnt1

pubmed: wnt1 2021-05-27

Dev Biol. 2021 Apr;472:98-114. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2021.01.008. Epub 2021 Jan 20.


microRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in a variety of biological processes, including embryogenesis and the physiological functions of cells. Evolutionarily conserved microRNA-31 (miR-31) has been found to be involved in cancer, bone formation, and lymphatic development. We previously discovered that, in the sea urchin, miR-31 knockdown (KD) embryos have shortened dorsoventral connecting rods, mispatterned skeletogenic primary mesenchyme cells (PMCs) and shifted and expanded Vegf3 expression domain. Vegf3 itself does not contain miR-31 binding sites; however, we identified its upstream regulators Eve and Wnt1 to be directly suppressed by miR-31. Removal of miR-31's suppression of Eve and Wnt1 resulted in skeletal and PMC patterning defects, similar to miR-31 KD phenotypes. Additionally, removal of miR-31's suppression of Eve and Wnt1 results in an expansion and anterior shift in expression of Veg1 ectodermal genes, including Vegf3 in the blastulae. This indicates that miR-31 indirectly regulates Vegf3 expression through directly suppressing Eve and Wnt1. Furthermore, removing miR-31 suppression of Eve is sufficient to cause skeletogenic defects, revealing a novel regulatory role of Eve in skeletogenesis and PMC patterning. Overall, this study provides a proposed molecular mechanism of miR-31's regulation of skeletogenesis and PMC patterning through its cross-regulation of a Wnt signaling ligand and a transcription factor of the endodermal and ectodermal gene regulatory network.

PMID:33484703 | PMC:PMC7956219 | DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2021.01.008