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Stem Cells. 2011 May;29(5):847-57. doi: 10.1002/stem.627.

Combined characterization of microRNA and mRNA profiles delineates early differentiation pathways of CD133+ and CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells.

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Miltenyi Biotec GmbH, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to play an important role in hematopoiesis. To elucidate the role of miRNAs in the early steps of hematopoiesis, we directly compared donor-matched CD133(+) cells with the more differentiated CD34(+) CD133(-) and CD34(-) CD133(-) cells from bone marrow on the miRNA and mRNA level. Using quantitative whole genome miRNA microarray and sequencing-based profiling, we found that between 109 (CD133(+) ) and 216 (CD34(-) CD133(-) ) miRNAs were expressed. Quantification revealed that the 25 highest expressed miRNAs accounted for 73% of the total miRNA pool. miR-142-3p was the highest expressed miRNA with up to 2,000 copies per cell in CD34(+) CD133(-) cells. Eighteen miRNAs were significantly differentially expressed between CD133(+) and CD34(+) CD133(-) cells. We analyzed their biological role by examining the coexpression of miRNAs and its bioinformatically predicted mRNA targets and luciferase-based reporter assays. We provide the first evidence for a direct regulation of CD133 by miR-142-3p as well as tropomyosin 1 and frizzled homolog 5 by miR-29a. Overexpression of miRNAs in CD133(+) cells demonstrated that miR-142-3p has a negative influence on the overall colony-forming ability. In conclusion, the miRNAs expressed differentially between the CD133(+) and CD34(+) CD133(-) cells are involved in inhibition of differentiation, prevention of apoptosis, and cytoskeletal remodeling. These results are highly relevant for stem cell-based therapies with CD133(+) cells and delineate for the first time how the stem cell character of CD133(+) cells is defined by the expression of specific miRNAs.

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