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Cell Cycle. 2009 Feb 1;8(3):394-8. Epub 2009 Feb 6.

The miR-302-367 cluster as a potential stemness regulator in ESCs.

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Andalusian Stem Cell Bank, Centro de Investigación Biomédica, Consejería de Salud, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain.


Increasing experimental evidence suggests an important role of miRNAs in embryonic stem cell (ESC) biology. The miR-302-367 cluster is exclusively expressed at high levels in ESCs but not in either somatic stem cells or adult/embryonic differentiated cells. The human miR-302-367 gene structure has been recently described and its promoter has been identified, characterized and functionally validated in human stem cells. The miR-302-367 promoter activity depends on the ontogeny and hierarchical cellular stage. The miR-302-367 promoter is transcriptionally regulated by the ESC-specific transcription factors Oct3/4, Sox2 and Nanog and, its activity restricted to the ESC compartment. Functionally, this cluster regulates cell cycle in ESCs promoting self-renewal and pluripotency, therefore representing a master regulator in the maintenance of hESC stemness. We envision this data may open up new avenues to investigate the transcriptional regulators upstream miR-302-367 cluster and to dissect the complex interplay by which this miR-302-367 cluster integrates in the molecular network conferring pluripotency to ESCs. In this perspective, we summarize recent progress in the genomic and functional characterization of the miR-302-367 cluster and discuss its potential as a stemness determinant.

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