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MicroRNAs 125a and 125b are predicted to be able to bind to the B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 (BLIMP-1) and IFN regulatory protein-4 (IRF-4) transcription factors, which are essential for plasma cell differentiation. A computational survey of the human and mouse genomes revealed that miR-125a and miR-125b are members of a multigene family located in paralogous clusters. The miR-125a cluster on chromosome 19 in humans includes miR-99b and let-7e, whereas the miR-125b cluster on chromosome 21 includes miR-99a and miR-let-7c. Our analysis of the expression profiles for these six miRs during B lineage differentiation indicated that mature miR-125a, miR-125b, miR-99b and let-7e transcripts are preferentially expressed by the actively dividing centroblasts in germinal centers (GC). However, miR-99b and let-7e are not predicted to bind BLIMP-1 or IRF-4 transcripts, and binding to the untranslated region of BLIMP-1 and IRF-4 messenger RNAs could be confirmed only for miR-125b. When the effect of miR-125b over-expression on terminal B cell differentiation was evaluated in an LPS-responsive B cell line, the induction of BLIMP-1 expression and IgM secretion was inhibited in this model system. Furthermore, miR-125b over-expression inhibited the differentiation of primary B cells and compromised the survival of cultured myeloma cells. These findings suggest that miR-125b promotes B lymphocyte diversification in GC by inhibiting premature utilization of essential transcription factors for plasma cell differentiation.

Original publication




Journal article


Int Immunol

Publication Date





583 - 592


Animals, B-Lymphocytes, Base Sequence, Cell Differentiation, Cell Line, Cluster Analysis, Conserved Sequence, Germinal Center, Humans, Interferon Regulatory Factors, Mice, MicroRNAs, Models, Animal, Positive Regulatory Domain I-Binding Factor 1, Repressor Proteins, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Transcription, Genetic