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Accession IconSRP074847

mRNAs Establish and Maintain Uniform Cellular Phenotypes during the Architecture of Complex Tissues

Organism Icon Danio rerio
Sample Icon 4 Downloadable Samples
Technology Badge IconIllumina Genome Analyzer

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Proper functioning of tissues requires cells to behave in uniform, well-organized ways. Conversely, many diseases involve increased cellular heterogeneity due to genetic and epigenetic alterations. Defining the mechanisms that counteract phenotypic variability is therefore critical to understand how tissues sustain homeostasis. Here, we carried out a single-cell resolution screen of zebrafish embryonic blood vessels upon mutagenesis of single microRNA (miRNA) genes and multi-gene miRNA families. We found that miRNA mutants exhibit a profound increase in cellular phenotypic variability of specific vascular traits. Genome-wide analysis of endothelial miRNA target genes identified antagonistic regulatory nodes of vascular growth and morphogenesis signaling that allow variable cell behaviors when derepressed. Remarkably, lack of such miRNA activity greatly sensitized the vascular system to microenvironmental changes induced by pharmacological stress. We uncover a previously unrecognized role of miRNAs as a widespread protective mechanism that limits variability in cellular phenotypes. This discovery marks an important advance in our comprehension of how miRNAs function in the physiology of higher organisms. Overall design: Analysis of differential genes expression in Zebrafish endothelial cells for 4 different developmental stages
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