Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 1, 2013
Previous Article Next Article

Learning the molecular mechanisms of the reprogramming factors: let's start from microRNAs

Author affiliations

Abstract

Induced reprogramming of somatic cells has had a great impact on stem cell research, and the reprogramming technologies have evolved from four transgenic factors (Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc; OSKM) to just a few microRNAs (mainly miR-290/302 seed family). Despite these advances, the molecular events occurring during various stages of reprogramming remain largely unknown. Here, we concisely review current knowledge of miRNA regulation from the initiation phase of OSKM-induced reprogramming, through the transitional stage, to final maturation. At the start of reprogramming, the microRNAs miR-21, miR-29a, let-7a, and miR-34 act as guards to secure the somatic identity and genomic integrity of the cell of origin. As reprogramming proceeds, miR-155, miR-10b, miR-205, and miR-429 modulate the epithelial–mesenchymal/mesenchymal–epithelial transition (EMT/MET), which is a critical step towards transformed pluripotent status. Finally, the pluripotency regulatory network is secured in the iPSCs and fine-tuned by a group of miRNAs belonging to the miR-290/302 seed family. Among the four reprogramming factors, c-Myc plays the dominant role in regulating the miRNAs under reprogramming-specific conditions. Accumulating evidence suggests that the reprogramming efficiency can be improved by either blocking barrier miRNAs or introducing helper miRNAs. Intriguingly, induced pluripotency can be obtained by introducing a single miR-302 cluster, although the supportive molecular mechanism is still lacking. In the near future, we may be able to realize the broad potential of miRNAs in the stem cell field, such as altering cell identities with high efficiency through the transient introduction of tissue-specific miRNAs.

Graphical abstract: Learning the molecular mechanisms of the reprogramming factors: let's start from microRNAs

Back to tab navigation
Please wait while Download options loads

Publication details

The article was received on 13 Mar 2012, accepted on 04 Sep 2012 and first published on 05 Oct 2012


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C2MB25088H
Citation: Mol. BioSyst., 2013,9, 10-17
  •   Request permissions

    Learning the molecular mechanisms of the reprogramming factors: let's start from microRNAs

    C. Yang and T. M. Rana, Mol. BioSyst., 2013, 9, 10
    DOI: 10.1039/C2MB25088H

Search articles by author