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World J Stem Cells. 2012 Jul 26;4(7):62-70.

MicroRNAs, stem cells and cancer stem cells.

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  • 1Minal Garg, Department of Biochemistry, University of Lucknow, Lucknow 226007, India.


This review discusses the various regulatory characteristics of microRNAs that are capable of generating widespread changes in gene expression via post translational repression of many mRNA targets and control self-renewal, differentiation and division of cells. It controls the stem cell functions by controlling a wide range of pathological and physiological processes, including development, differentiation, cellular proliferation, programmed cell death, oncogenesis and metastasis. Through either mRNA cleavage or translational repression, miRNAs alter the expression of their cognate target genes; thereby modulating cellular pathways that affect the normal functions of stem cells, turning them into cancer stem cells, a likely cause of relapse in cancer patients. This present review further emphasizes the recent discoveries on the functional analysis of miRNAs in cancer metastasis and implications on miRNA based therapy using miRNA replacement or anti-miRNA technologies in specific cancer stem cells that are required to establish their efficacy in controlling tumorigenic potential and safe therapeutics.


Cancer stem cells; Cellular pathways; Stem cell functions; Tumor suppressor miRNAs; miRNA; miRNA based therapeutics; oncomiR

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