Nishiyama, T., Kaneda, R., Ono, T., Tohyama, S., Hashimoto, H., Endo, J., Tsuruta, H., Yuasa, S., Ieda, M., Makino, S., and Fukuda, K. (2012) miR-142-3p is essential for hematopoiesis and affects cardiac cell fate in zebrafish. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 425(4):755-761.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a pivotal role during embryonic development and are required for proper organogenesis, including hematopoiesis. Recent studies suggest that, in the early mesoderm, there is an interaction between the hematopoietic and cardiac lineages. However, whether miRNAs can affect other lineages remains unknown. Therefore, we investigated whether hematopoietic miR-142-3p modulated the mesoderm formation. We report that knockdown (KD) of miR-142-3p, a hematopoietic-specific miRNA, in zebrafish resulted in loss of hematopoiesis during embryonic development. Intriguingly, we observed abnormal cardiac phenotypes and insufficiency of somitegenesis in KD-morphants. In the early developmental stage, a tiny heart, contractile dysfunction in the ventricle, cardiac arrhythmia (e.g. a 2:1 ratio of atrial:ventricular beating), and bradycardia were consistently observed. Histological examination revealed severe hypoplasia of the ventricle and disrupted muscle alignment. To determine the mechanism, we performed DNA microarray analysis. The results revealed that the expression of several mesodermal genes essential for the formation of cardiac and somatic mesoderm, such as no tail, T-box gene 16, mesoderm posterior a, one eye pinhead, and rho-associated, coiled-coil containing protein kinase (Rock2a), were increased in miR-142-3p KD-morphants. The luciferase reporter assay revealed that miR-142-3p repressed luciferase activity on the Rock2a 32-UTR. The findings of the present study indicate that miR-142-3p plays a critical role in hematopoiesis, cardiogenesis, and somitegenesis in the early stage of mesoderm formation via regulation of Rock2a.