Proper dendritic elaboration of neurons is critical for the formation of functional circuits during brain development. Defects in dendrite morphogenesis are associated with neuropsychiatric disorders, and microRNAs are emerging as regulators of aspects of neuronal maturation such as axonal and dendritic growth, spine formation, and synaptogenesis. Here, we show that miR-214 plays a pivotal role in the regulation of dendritic development. Overexpression of miR-214 increased dendrite size and complexity, whereas blocking of endogenous miR-214-3p, a mature form of miR-214, inhibited dendritic morphogenesis. We also found that miR-214-3p targets quaking (Qki), which is implicated in psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia, through conserved target sites located in the 3′-untranslated region of Qki mRNA, thereby down-regulating Qki protein levels. Overexpression and knockdown of Qki impaired and enhanced dendritic formation, respectively. Moreover, overexpression of Qki abolished the dendritic growth induced by miR-214 overexpression. Taken together, our findings reveal a crucial role for the miR-214-Qki pathway in the regulation of neuronal dendritic development.
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