Rtn4-Supplementary data from microRNA-206 modulates an Rtn4a/Cxcr4a/Thbs3a axis in newly forming somite to maintain and stabilize the somite boundary formation of zebrafish embryos

Although microRNA-206 (miR-206) is known to regulate proliferation and differentiation of muscle fibroblasts, the role of miR-206 in early-stage somite development is still unknown. During somitogenesis of zebrafish embryos, reticulon4a (rtn4a) is specifically repressed by miR-206. Somite boundary was defective, and actin filaments were crossing over boundary in either miR-206-knockdown or rtn4a-overexpressed embryos. In these treated embryos, C–X–C motif chemokine receptor 4a (cxcr4a) was reduced, while thrombospondin 3a (thbs3a) was increased. The defective boundary was phenocopied in either cxcr4a-knockdown or thbs3a-overexpressed embryos. Repression of thbs3a expression by cxcr4a reduced the occurrence of boundary defect. We demonstrated that cxcr4a is an upstream regulator of thbs3a and that defective boundary cells could not process epithelialization in the absence of intracellular accumulation of the phosphorylated focal adhesion kinase (p-FAK) in boundary cells. Therefore, in the newly forming somites, miR-206-mediated downregulation of rtn4a increases cxcr4a. This activity largely decreases thbs3a expression in the epithelial cells of somite boundary, which causes epithelialization of boundary cells through mesenchymal–epithelial transition (MET) and eventually leads to somite boundary formation. Collectively, we suggest that miR-206 mediates novel pathway Rtn4a/Cxcr4a/Thbs3a axis that allows boundary cells to undergo MET and form somite boundaries in the newly forming somites of zebrafish embryos.