MicroRNA miR-7 regulates synthesis and secretion of insulin-like peptides

Pamela Agbu, Justin J. Cassidy, Jonathan Braverman, Alec Jacobson, Richard W. Carthew*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The insulin/IGF pathway is essential for linking nutritional status to growth and metabolism. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short RNAs that are players in the regulation of this process. The miRNA miR-7 shows highly conserved expression in insulin-producing cells across the animal kingdom, however, its conserved functions in regulation of insulin-like peptides (ILPs) remains unknown. Using Drosophila as a model, we demonstrate that miR-7 limits ILP availability by inhibiting its production and secretion. Increasing miR-7 alters body growth and metabolism in an ILP-dependent manner, elevating circulating sugars and total body triglycerides, while decreasing animal growth. These effects are not due to direct targeting of ILP mRNA, but instead arise through alternate targets that affect the function of ILP-producing cells. The Drosophila F-actin capping protein, CPA, is a direct target of miR-7, and knockdown of CPA in IPCs phenocopies the effects of miR-7 on ILP secretion. This regulation of CPA is conserved in mammals, with the mouse ortholog Capza1 also targeted by miR-7 in β-islet cells. Taken together, these results support a role for miR-7 regulation of an actin capping protein in insulin regulation, and highlight a conserved mechanism of action for an evolutionarily ancient microRNA. Disclosure Statement PA, JB, AJ and RWC have nothing to declare. JJC is an employee of Sg2, LLC, a healthcare consulting company.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Oct 3 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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