Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 362, Issue 3, pp 569–575 | Cite as

Characterization of miRNA processing machinery in the embryonic chick lung

  • Rute Silva MouraEmail author
  • Patrícia Vaz-Cunha
  • Carla Silva-Gonçalves
  • Jorge Correia-Pinto
Regular Article


Lung development is a very complex process that relies on the interaction of several signaling pathways that are controlled by precise regulatory mechanisms. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding regulatory RNAs, have emerged as new players involved in gene expression regulation controlling several biological processes, such as cellular differentiation, apoptosis and organogenesis, in both developmental and disease processes. Failure to correctly express some specific miRNAs or a component of their biosynthetic machinery during embryonic development is disastrous, resulting in severe abnormalities. Several miRNAs have already been identified as modulators of lung development. Regarding the spatial distribution of the processing machinery of miRNAs, only two of its members (dicer1 and argonaute) have been characterized. The present work characterizes the expression pattern of drosha, dgcr8, exportin-5 and dicer1 in early stages of the embryonic chick lung by whole mount in situ hybridization and cross-section analysis. Overall, these genes are co-expressed in dorsal and distal mesenchyme and also in growing epithelial regions. The expression pattern of miRNA processing machinery supports the previously recognized regulatory role of this mechanism in epithelial and mesenchymal morphogenesis.


drosha dgcr8 exportin-5 dicer1 Chick lung 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Raquel P. Andrade for providing the probes used in this manuscript. We also acknowledge Luís Martins and Ana Lima for slide sectioning.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rute Silva Moura
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Patrícia Vaz-Cunha
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carla Silva-Gonçalves
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jorge Correia-Pinto
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health SciencesUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.ICVS/3B’s - PT Government Associate LaboratoryBragaPortugal
  3. 3.Biology Department, School of SciencesUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  4. 4.Department of Pediatric SurgeryHospital de BragaBragaPortugal

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