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Dev Cell. 2003 Aug;5(2):351-8.

Embryonic stem cell-specific MicroRNAs.

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  • 1Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


We have identified microRNAs (miRNAs) in undifferentiated and differentiated mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. Some of these appear to be ES cell specific, have related sequences, and are encoded by genomic loci clustered within 2.2 kb of each other. Their expression is repressed as ES cells differentiate into embryoid bodies and is undetectable in adult mouse organs. In contrast, the levels of many previously described miRNAs remain constant or increase upon differentiation. Our results suggest that miRNAs may have a role in the maintenance of the pluripotent cell state and in the regulation of early mammalian development.

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