Research Papers: Immunology:

Identification of the microRNA networks contributing to macrophage differentiation and function

Hong Zhou, Jie Zhang, Fiona Eyers, Yang Xiang, Cristan Herbert, Hock, L. Tay, Paul S. Foster and Ming Yang _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:28806-28820. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8933

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Hong Zhou1,2, Jie Zhang1, Fiona Eyers2, Yang Xiang3, Cristan Herbert4, Hock L. Tay2, Paul S. Foster2,* and Ming Yang2,*

1 Department of Respiratory Medicine, The Second Hospital, Jilin University, ChangChun, Jilin, People’s Republic of China

2 Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases, School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute, Callaghan, NSW, Australia

3 Department of Physiology, Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, People’s Republic of China

4 Inflammation and Infection Research Centre, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Australia, Sydney, Australia

* These authors have contributed equally to this wok

Correspondence to:

Ming Yang, email:

Paul S. Foster, email:

Keywords: microRNA, macrophage, differentiation, transcriptional regulation, Immunology and Microbiology Section, Immune response, Immunity

Received: December 23, 2015 Accepted: April 13, 2016 Published: April 22, 2016


Limited evidence is available about the specific miRNA networks that regulate differentiation of specific immune cells. In this study, we characterized miRNA expression and associated alterations in expression with putative mRNA targets that are critical during differentiation of macrophages. In an effort to map the dynamic changes in the bone marrow (BM), we profiled whole BM cultures during differentiation into macrophages. We identified 112 miRNAs with expression patterns that were differentially regulated 5-fold or more during BMDM development. With TargetScan and MeSH databases, we identified 1267 transcripts involved in 30 canonical pathways linked to macrophage biology as potentially regulated by these specific 112 miRNAs. Furthermore, by employing miRanda and Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA) analysis systems, we identified 18 miRNAs that are temporally linked to the expression of CSF1R, CD36, MSR1 and SCARB1; 7 miRNAs linked to the regulation of the transcription factors RUNX1 and PU.1, and 14 miRNAs target the nuclear receptor PPARα and PPARγ. This novel information provides an important reference resource for further study of the functional links between miRNAs and their target mRNAs for the regulation of differentiation and function of macrophages.

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