Nature communications

Genome-wide microRNA screening reveals that the evolutionary conserved miR-9a regulates body growth by targeting sNPFR1/NPYR.

PMID 26138755


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate many physiological processes including body growth. Insulin/IGF signalling is the primary regulator of animal body growth, but the extent to which miRNAs act in insulin-producing cells (IPCs) is unclear. Here we generate a UAS-miRNA library of Drosophila stocks and perform a genetic screen to identify miRNAs whose overexpression in the IPCs inhibits body growth in Drosophila. Through this screen, we identify miR-9a as an evolutionarily conserved regulator of insulin signalling and body growth. IPC-specific miR-9a overexpression reduces insulin signalling and body size. Of the predicted targets of miR-9a, we find that loss of miR-9a enhances the level of sNPFR1. We show via an in vitro binding assay that miR-9a binds to sNPFR1 mRNA in insect cells and to the mammalian orthologue NPY2R in rat insulinoma cells. These findings indicate that the conserved miR-9a regulates body growth by controlling sNPFR1/NPYR-mediated modulation of insulin signalling.