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microRNA-Seq reveals cocaine-regulated expression of striatal microRNAs.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs that modulate gene expression by binding target mRNAs. The hundreds of miRNAs expressed in the brain are critical for synaptic development and plasticity. Drugs of abuse cause lasting changes in the limbic regions of the brain that process reward, and addiction is viewed as a form of aberrant neuroplasticity. Using next-generation sequencing, we cataloged miRNA expression in the nucleus accumbens and at striatal synapses in control and chronically cocaine-treated mice. We identified cocaine-responsive miRNAs, synaptically enriched and depleted miRNA families, and confirmed cocaine-induced changes in protein expression for several predicted synaptic target genes. The miR-8 family, known for its roles in cancer, is highly enriched and cocaine regulated at striatal synapses, where its members may affect expression of cell adhesion molecules. Synaptically enriched cocaine-regulated miRNAs may contribute to long-lasting drug-induced plasticity through fine-tuning regulatory pathways that modulate the actin cytoskeleton, neurotransmitter metabolism, and peptide hormone processing.

Pubmed ID: 21708909


  • Eipper-Mains JE
  • Kiraly DD
  • Palakodeti D
  • Mains RE
  • Eipper BA
  • Graveley BR


RNA (New York, N.Y.)

Publication Data

August 19, 2011

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: DA-15464
  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: DA-23082
  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: DA-26706
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: GM062516
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: NS-41224
  • Agency: NIDA NIH HHS, Id: R01 DA023082

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Argonaute Proteins
  • Basal Ganglia
  • Base Sequence
  • Cocaine
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-2
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • MicroRNAs
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Messenger