MicroRNAs in limb development

Danielle M. Maatouk, Jason R. Rock, Brian D. Harfe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Introduction The vertebrate limb is a highly organized structure that must be patterned along three axes during development: anteroposterior, dorsoventral, and proximodistal (Tickle, 2003). For decades, the limb has served as a choice model system for developmental biologists because of the ease with which it can be manipulated and an organism's ability to survive with abnormal or absent limbs. Despite years of intense investigation, many of the molecules responsible for limb pattern formation are still not known. Recently, a class of non-coding RNAs, the microRNAs (miRNAs), have been implicated in limb development. These molecules are ~22 nt in their mature form and can bind to mRNAs, leading to their degradation or inhibition of protein production (McManus and Sharp, 2002). The first miRNA to be discovered, lin-4, was identified in a forward genetic screen aimed at identifying developmental timing defects in C. elegans (Lee et al., 1993). Nearly a decade after the discovery of lin-4 in nematodes, a second miRNA, let-7, was identified in organisms ranging from C. elegans to humans (Pasquinelli et al., 2000; Reinhart et al., 2000). In the years since, at least 326 miRNAs have been validated in humans and 249 in mouse (Griffiths-Jones, 2004). Only a few of these miRNAs have known functions (reviewed in Harfe (2005)). Our lab is interested in the role miRNAs play in patterning the vertebrate limb. MicroRNA processing Mature miRNAs are produced through two cleavage events by members of the RNaseIII family of nucleases (Bernstein et al., 2001; Hutvagner et al., 2001; Ketting et al., 2001; Lee et al. 2003).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMicroRNAs
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Basic Science to Disease Biology
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780511541766
ISBN (Print)9780521865982
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'MicroRNAs in limb development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this