miR-17-92 family clusters control iNKT cell ontogenesis via modulation of TGF-β signaling

Maya Fedeli, Michela Riba, Jose Manuel Garcia Manteiga, Lei Tian, Valentina Viganò, Grazisa Rossetti, Massimiliano Pagani, Changchun Xiao, Adrian Liston, Elia Stupka, Davide Cittaro, Sergio Abrignani, Paolo Provero, Paolo Dellabona, Giulia Casorati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT) cells are T lymphocytes displaying innate effector functions, acquired through a distinct thymic developmental program regulated by microRNAs (miRNAs). Deleting miRNAs by Dicer ablation (Dicer KO) in thymocytes selectively impairs iNKT cell survival and functional differentiation. To unravel this miRNA-dependent program, we systemically identified transcripts that were differentially expressed between WT and Dicer KO iNKT cells at different differentiation stages and predicted to be targeted by the iNKT cell-specific miRNAs. TGF-β receptor II (TGF-βRII), critically implicated in iNKT cell differentiation, was found up-regulated in iNKT Dicer KO cells together with enhanced TGF-β signaling. miRNA members of the miR-17-92 family clusters were predicted to target Tgfbr2 mRNA upon iNKT cell development. iNKT cells lacking all three miR-17-92 family clusters (miR-17-92, miR-106a-363, miR-106b-25) phenocopied both increased TGF-βRII expression and signaling, and defective effector differentiation, displayed by iNKT Dicer KO cells. Consistently, genetic ablation of TGF-β signaling in the absence of miRNAs rescued iNKT cell differentiation. These results elucidate the global impact of miRNAs on the iNKT cell developmental program and uncover the targeting of a lineage-specific cytokine signaling by miRNAs as a mechanism regulating innate-like T-cell development and effector differentiation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E8286 - E8295
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - Dec 20 2016


  • CD1d
  • Development
  • miRNA
  • NKT cells
  • TGF-β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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