Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Neuroscience

Abstract

Estrogens are an important class of steroid hormones involved in many cellular signaling processes. Levels of estrogens fluctuate across the lifespan suggesting that they target intracellular mediators, such as microRNAs, to fine-tune homeostatic cellular processes. Previous work in our lab demonstrated that 17β-estradiol (E2), the predominant circulating estrogen, stabilized miR-181a in a neuronal cell line derived from rat hypothalamus. These results lead to the hypothesis that E2 regulated miR-181a stability by altering the pool of endogenous RNA and by recruiting PNRC2 away from the miRNA degradation machinery. By utilizing miRNA degradation assays and immunostaining techniques, it was determined that the E2-mediated stabilization of miR-181a was dependent on the endogenous pool of RNA. Additionally, E2 decreased the association of PNRC2 to the degradation machinery. These data suggest novel mechanisms for the hormonal regulation of miRNA stabilization, and future research will investigate the downstream cellular consequences of prolonged miR-181a activity.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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