JOURNAL ARTICLE

MicroRNAs in regulation of pluripotency and somatic cell reprogramming: small molecule with big impact

Tian Wang, San-bao Shi, Hong-ying Sha
RNA Biology 2013, 10 (8): 1255-61
23921205
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a group of small non-coding RNAs, have emerged as significant modulators in the establishment and generation of pluripotency, a developmental process that consists of complex cell-fate arrangements. The finding of embryonic stem cell (ESC) cycle-specific miRNAs reveals an important regulation scheme of pluripotency. Subsequent studies showed the ESC-enriched or ESC-depleted miRNAs can regulate induced pluripotent stem cells(iPSC). Moreover, miRNA profiling of iPSC and ESC may distinguish them from one another and facilitate the complex of regulatory network. The accumulative effects of miRNA action enable using miRNA alone to generate iPSCs. Despite the robustness of iPSC studies, further investigations are needed since miRNA may have more impact on induced pluripotency, and the roles of miRNAs in somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), another approach toward cellular reprogramming, remains unclear. This point-of-view article will discuss miRNAs and their impact on the normal and induced pluripotency, as well as bring new insights on somatic cell reprogramming.

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