Chiavacci, E., D'Aurizio, R., Guzzolino, E., Russo, F., Baumgart, M., Groth, M., Mariani, L., D'Onofrio, M., Arisi, I., Pellegrini, M., Cellerino, A., Cremisi, F., Pitto, L. (2015) MicroRNA 19a replacement partially rescues fin and cardiac defects in zebrafish model of Holt Oram syndrome. Scientific Reports. 5:18240.
Holt-Oram Syndrome (HOS) is an autosomal dominant heart-hand syndrome caused by mutations in the TBX5 gene, a transcription factor capable of regulating hundreds of cardiac-specific genes through complex transcriptional networks. Here we show that, in zebrafish, modulation of a single miRNA is sufficient to rescue the morphogenetic defects generated by HOS. The analysis of miRNA-seq profiling revealed a decreased expression of miR-19a in Tbx5-depleted zebrafish embryos compared to the wild type. We revealed that the transcription of the miR-17-92 cluster, which harbors miR-19a, is induced by Tbx5 and that a defined dosage of miR-19a is essential for the correct development of the heart. Importantly, we highlighted that miR-19a replacement is able to rescue cardiac and pectoral fin defects and to increase the viability of HOS zebrafish embryos. We further observed that miR-19a replacement shifts the global gene expression profile of HOS-like zebrafish embryos towards the wild type condition, confirming the ability of miR-19a to rescue the Tbx5 phenotype. In conclusion our data demonstrate the importance of Tbx5/miR-19a regulatory circuit in heart development and provide a proof of principle that morphogenetic defects associated with HOS can be rescued by transient miRNA modulation.