Ontogenesis of T cells in the thymus is a complex process whose molecular control is poorly understood. The present study investigated microRNAs involved in human thymocyte differentiation by comparing the microRNA expression profiles of thymocytes at the doublepositive, single-positive CD4+ and singlepositive CD8+ maturation stages. Microarray analysis showed that each thymocyte population displays a distinct microRNA expression profile that reflects their developmental relationships. Moreover, analysis of small-RNA libraries generated from human unsorted and double-positive thymocytes and from mature peripheral CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, together with the microarray data, indicated a trend toward up-regulation of microRNAexpression during T-cell maturation after the double-positive stage and revealed a group of microRNAs regulated during normal T-cell development, including miR-150, which is strongly up-regulated as maturation progresses. We showed that miR-150 targets NOTCH3, a member of the Notch receptor family that plays important roles both in T-cell differentiation and leukemogenesis. Forced expression of miR-150 reduces NOTCH3 levels in T-cell lines and has adverse effects on their proliferation and survival. Overall, these findings suggest that control of the Notch pathway through miR-150 may have an important impact on T-cell development and physiology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology