The Cifuentes Lab has recently published a paper in Nature Communications ( that sheds light on the intricate mechanisms governing the differentiation of stem and progenitor cells during erythropoiesis. In their study, they delved into the post-transcriptional regulatory layer orchestrated by miR-144 and discovered its pivotal role in chromatin condensation during erythrocyte maturation.

Using genetic and genomic approaches in zebrafish embryos and human iPSC cells, they unveil a regulatory axis conserved across vertebrates involving miR-144 and Hmgn2 and demonstrated that it is essential for terminal erythrocyte maturation.

The study also offers insights into how microRNAs can expand their regulatory network. The loss of miR-144 not only affects its direct targets but also leads to dysregulation of additional non-target mRNAs thanks to the downregulation of a chromatin regulator, Hmgn2. These results emphasize the complexity of miRNA-mediated regulatory networks in cellular differentiation and development.

Overall, these findings will contribute to a deeper understanding of the intricate regulatory networks underlying cell differentiation.

This work was spearheaded by Dmitry Kretov (Instructor) in collaboration with the Vanuystel lab and the Murphy lab at the CReM and the bioinformatic support of Leighton Folkes and Simon Moxon (University of East Anglia, UK).