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WIREs Dev Biol
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The microRNA regulation of stem cells

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Abstract The microRNA (miRNA) pathway, as a fundamental mechanism of gene regulation, plays a key role in controlling the establishment, self‐renewal, and differentiation of stem cells. Such regulation is manifested as fine tuning the temporal‐ and tissue‐specificity of gene expression. This fine‐tuning function is achieved by (1) miRNAs form positive and negative feedback loops with transcription factors and epigenetic factors to exert concerted control of given biological processes and/or (2) different miRNAs converge to control one or more mRNA targets in a signaling pathway. These regulatory mechanisms are found in embryonic stem cells, iPS cells, and adult tissue stem cells. The distinct expression profiles of miRNAs and their regulatory roles in various types of stem cells render these RNAs potentially effective tools for clinical diagnosis and therapy. WIREs Dev Biol 2012, 1:83–95. doi: 10.1002/wdev.5 This article is categorized under: Gene Expression and Transcriptional Hierarchies > Regulatory RNA Adult Stem Cells, Tissue Renewal, and Regeneration > Tissue Stem Cells and Niches Adult Stem Cells, Tissue Renewal, and Regeneration > Stem Cell Differentiation and Reversion Adult Stem Cells, Tissue Renewal, and Regeneration > Stem Cells and Disease

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Three different pathways of microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis: the canonical pathway (left panel), the microprocessor—independent pathway (middle panel), and the Dicer‐independent pathways (right panel) (for details, see text).

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Three different modes of microRNA (miRNA) regulation in stem cell proliferation, self‐renewal, and differentiation (for details, see text).

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The function of microRNA (miRNAs) in regulating the proliferation, self‐renewal, and differentiation of adult tissue stem cells. Individual miRNAs are indicated by numbers next to the process regulated by them. Red numbers indicate miRNAs that promote proliferation and self‐renewal, whereas green numbers indicate miRNAs that promote differentiation (for details, see text).

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Three different mechanisms through which microRNAs (miRNAs) regulate the proliferation, self‐renewal, and differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) (for details, see text).

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Adult Stem Cells, Tissue Renewal, and Regeneration > Tissue Stem Cells and Niches
Adult Stem Cells, Tissue Renewal, and Regeneration > Stem Cell Differentiation and Reversion
Adult Stem Cells, Tissue Renewal, and Regeneration > Stem Cells and Disease
Gene Expression and Transcriptional Hierarchies > Regulatory RNA