A fine-tune role of Mir-125a-5p on Foxn1 during age-associated changes in the thymus

Minwen Xu, Olga Sizova, Liefeng Wang, Dong Ming Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Decline of transcription factor FoxN1, which predominantly regulates thymic epithelial cell (TEC) differentiation and homeostasis lifelong, is demonstrated to be casually related to age-related thymic involution. Whereas, a global role of microRNAs (miRNAs) has also been demonstrated to control and maintain TEC-constituting thymic microenvironment and to be changed in expression profile in the aged thymus. Therefore, it is urgently necessary to build knowledge regarding whether and which miRNAs regulate FoxN1 gene in the aged thymus. We primarily compared changes in miRNA expression profile between young and aged murine TECs with Mus musculus miRBase-V20 arrays (containing 1892 unique probes), and clearly identified and validated that at least one miRNA, miR-125a-5p, was increased in aged thymus. Applying miR-125a-5p mimics was able to inhibit FoxN1 3'UTR luciferase activity in a 293T cell line and to suppress FoxN1 expression in murine TEC Z210 cells. Since a single miRNA can play a fine-tuning role to regulate expression of multiple genes and a single gene can be regulated by multiple miRNAs, our result adds a single miRNA, miR-125a-5p, into the panel of FoxN1-regulating miRNAs associated with thymic aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-286
Number of pages10
JournalAging and Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • Foxn1 gene
  • MicroRNA-125a-5p
  • Negative fine tune
  • Thymic aging


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