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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

MiR-125b orchestrates cell proliferation, differentiation and migration in neural stem/progenitor cells by targeting Nestin

Yi Cui12, Zhifeng Xiao1, Jin Han1, Jie Sun3, Wenyong Ding4, Yannan Zhao1, Bing Chen1, Xiaoran Li3 and Jianwu Dai1*

Author affiliations

1 Key Laboratory of Molecular Developmental Biology, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100080, China

2 Reproductive and Genetic Center of National Research Institute for Family Planning, Beijing, 100080, China

3 Division of Nanobiomedicine, Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Suzhou, 215123, China

4 Department of Biochemistry, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, 116044, China

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Citation and License

BMC Neuroscience 2012, 13:116  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-116

Published: 28 September 2012



The emerging concept is that microRNAs (miRNAs) play a central role in controlling stem cell self-renewal and fate determination by regulating the expression of stem cell regulators. miR-125b, one of neuronal miRNAs, recently was found to be necessary for neural differentiation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NS/PCs). However, the other specific biological role of miR-125b in NS/PCs is little known. We used rat NS/PCs as a model system to study the role of miR-125b in governing the behavior of NS/PCs.


We report here the transfection of exogenous miR-125b inhibited proliferation of NS/PCs but promoted differentiation and migration. Whereas anti-miR-125b had the opposite effect. Similar results were observed when Nestin was knocked down by siRNA. Subsequently, we demonstrated that Nestin was a direct functional target of miR-125b. MiR-125b downregulates the expression of luciferase through Nestin 3’untranslated region (3’-UTR), and the regulation was abolished by mutations in the miR-125b binding site. MiR-125b targeted the 3'-UTR of Nestin and reduced the abundance of Nestin at both mRNA and protein levels.


The results provided new insight into the function by which miR-125b modulates NS/PCs proliferation, differentiation and migration. The data also indicated the regulatory role of miR-125b in NS/PCs might through the suppression of Nestin expression.

Neural stem/progenitor cells; MiR-125b; Nestin