Gearhart Micah D.
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ArticleRegulation of stem cell identity by miR-200a during spinal cord regeneration(Company of Biologists, 2022-02-14) Walker, Sarah E. ; Sabin, Keith Z. ; Gearhart, Micah D. ; Yamamoto, KentaAxolotls are an important model organism for multiple types of regeneration, including functional spinal cord regeneration. Remarkably, axolotls can repair their spinal cord after a small lesion injury and can also regenerate their entire tail following amputation. Several classical signaling pathways that are used during development are reactivated during regeneration, but how this is regulated remains a mystery. We have previously identified miR-200a as a key factor that promotes successful spinal cord regeneration. Here, using RNA-seq analysis, we discovered that the inhibition of miR-200a results in an upregulation of the classical mesodermal marker brachyury in spinal cord cells after injury. However, these cells still express the neural stem cell marker sox2. In vivo cell tracking allowed us to determine that these cells can give rise to cells of both the neural and mesoderm lineage. Additionally, we found that miR-200a can directly regulate brachyury via a seed sequence in the 3′UTR of the gene. Our data indicate that miR-200a represses mesodermal cell fate after a small lesion injury in the spinal cord when only glial cells and neurons need to be replaced.
ArticleAP-1cFos/JunB/miR-200a regulate the pro-regenerative glial cell response during axolotl spinal cord regeneration(Nature Research, 2019-03-06) Sabin, Keith Z. ; Jiang, Peng ; Gearhart, Micah D. ; Stewart, Ron ; Echeverri, KarenSalamanders have the remarkable ability to functionally regenerate after spinal cord transection. In response to injury, GFAP+ glial cells in the axolotl spinal cord proliferate and migrate to replace the missing neural tube and create a permissive environment for axon regeneration. Molecular pathways that regulate the pro-regenerative axolotl glial cell response are poorly understood. Here we show axolotl glial cells up-regulate AP-1cFos/JunB after injury, which promotes a pro-regenerative glial cell response. Injury induced upregulation of miR-200a in glial cells supresses c-Jun expression in these cells. Inhibition of miR-200a during regeneration causes defects in axonal regrowth and transcriptomic analysis revealed that miR-200a inhibition leads to differential regulation of genes involved with reactive gliosis, the glial scar, extracellular matrix remodeling and axon guidance. This work identifies a unique role for miR-200a in inhibiting reactive gliosis in axolotl glial cells during spinal cord regeneration.