MicroRNA (miRNA) are short non-coding RNA molecules that regulate multiple cellular processes, including development, cell differentiation, proliferation and death. Nevertheless, little is known on whether miRNA control the same gene networks in different tissues. miR-709 is an abundant miRNA expressed ubiquitously. Through transcriptome analysis, we have identified targets of miR-709 in hepatocytes. miR-709 represses genes implicated in cytoskeleton organization, extracellular matrix attachment, and fatty acid metabolism. Remarkably, none of the previously identified targets in non-hepatic tissues are silenced by miR-709 in hepatocytes, even though several of these genes are abundantly expressed in liver. In addition, miR-709 is upregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma, suggesting it participates in the genetic reprogramming that takes place during cell division, when cytoskeleton remodeling requires substantial changes in gene expression. In summary, the present study shows that miR-709 does not repress the same pool of genes in separate cell types. These results underscore the need for validating gene targets in every tissue a miRNA is expressed.
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