Growth-suppressor microRNAs mediate synaptic overgrowth and behavioral deficits in Fragile X mental retardation protein deficiency
Abnormal neuronal and synapse growth is a core pathology resulting from deficiency of the Fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), but molecular links underlying the excessive synthesis of key synaptic proteins remain incompletely defined. We find that basal brain levels of the growth-suppressor let-7 microRNA (miRNA) family are selectively lowered in FMRP-deficient mice and activity-dependent let-7 downregulation is abrogated. Primary let-7 miRNA transcripts are not altered in FMRP-deficiency and posttranscriptional misregulation occurs downstream of MAPK pathway induction and elevation of Lin28a, a let-7 biogenesis inhibitor. Neonatal restoration of brain let-7 miRNAs corrects hallmarks of FMRP-deficiency, including dendritic spine overgrowth and social and cognitive behavioral deficits, in adult mice. Blockade of MAPK hyperactivation normalizes let-7 miRNA levels in both brain and peripheral blood plasma from Fmr1 KO mice. These results implicate dysregulated let-7 miRNA biogenesis in the pathogenesis
of FMRP-deficiency, and highlight let-7 miRNA-based strategies for future biomarker and therapeutic development.
Keywords: Fragile X Syndrome, Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein, let-7, microRNA biogenesis, microRNA, Lin28, autism spectrum disorder, protein synthesis, gene expression, dendritic spine, behavioral deficits