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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 8;8(7):e68296. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068296. Print 2013.

miR-1915 and miR-1225-5p regulate the expression of CD133, PAX2 and TLR2 in adult renal progenitor cells.

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Department of Emergency and Organ Transplantation, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.


Adult renal progenitor cells (ARPCs) were recently identified in the cortex of the renal parenchyma and it was demonstrated that they were positive for PAX2, CD133, CD24 and exhibited multipotent differentiation ability. Recent studies on stem cells indicated that microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of noncoding small RNAs that participate in the regulation of gene expression, may play a key role in stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. Distinct sets of miRNAs are specifically expressed in pluripotent stem cells but not in adult tissues, suggesting a role for miRNAs in stem cell self-renewal. We compared miRNA expression profiles of ARPCs with that of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and renal proximal tubular cells (RPTECs) finding distinct sets of miRNAs that were specifically expressed in ARPCs. In particular, miR-1915 and miR-1225-5p regulated the expression of important markers of renal progenitors, such as CD133 and PAX2, and important genes involved in the repair mechanisms of ARPCs, such as TLR2. We demonstrated that the expression of both the renal stem cell markers CD133 and PAX2 depends on lower miR-1915 levels and that the increase of miR-1915 levels improved capacity of ARPCs to differentiate into adipocyte-like and epithelial-like cells. Finally, we found that the low levels of miR-1225-5p were responsible for high TLR2 expression in ARPCs. Therefore, together, miR-1915 and miR-1225-5p seem to regulate important traits of renal progenitors: the stemness and the repair capacity.

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