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Cell. 2009 May 15;137(4):647-58. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.02.038. Epub 2009 Apr 30.

MicroRNA-145 regulates OCT4, SOX2, and KLF4 and represses pluripotency in human embryonic stem cells.

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Neuroscience Research Institute, Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, The University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are posttranscriptional modulators of gene expression and play an important role in many developmental processes. We report here that expression of microRNA-145 (miR-145) is low in self-renewing human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) but highly upregulated during differentiation. We identify the pluripotency factors OCT4, SOX2, and KLF4 as direct targets of miR-145 and show that endogenous miR-145 represses the 3' untranslated regions of OCT4, SOX2, and KLF4. Increased miR-145 expression inhibits hESC self-renewal, represses expression of pluripotency genes, and induces lineage-restricted differentiation. Loss of miR-145 impairs differentiation and elevates OCT4, SOX2, and KLF4. Furthermore, we find that the miR-145 promoter is bound and repressed by OCT4 in hESCs. This work reveals a direct link between the core reprogramming factors and miR-145 and uncovers a double-negative feedback loop involving OCT4, SOX2, KLF4, and miR-145.

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