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Curr Stem Cell Rep. 2016 Sep;2(3):183-196. Epub 2016 Jul 1.

MicroRNAs in Control of Stem Cells in Normal and Malignant Hematopoiesis.

Author information

1
Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA; Yale Stem Cell Center, Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, Connecticut, 06520, USA; Graduate Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.
2
Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA; Yale Stem Cell Center, Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, Connecticut, 06520, USA; Yale Center for RNA Science and Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, 06520, USA.

Abstract

Studies on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and leukemia stem cells (LSCs) have helped to establish the paradigms of normal and cancer stem cell concepts. For both HSCs and LSCs, specific gene expression programs endowed by their epigenome functionally distinguish them from their differentiated progenies. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), as a class of small non-coding RNAs, act to control post-transcriptional gene expression. Research in the past decade has yielded exciting findings elucidating the roles of miRNAs in control of multiple facets of HSC and LSC biology. Here we review recent progresses on the functions of miRNAs in HSC emergence during development, HSC switch from a fetal/neonatal program to an adult program, HSC self-renewal and quiescence, HSC aging, HSC niche, and malignant stem cells. While multiple different miRNAs regulate a diverse array of targets, two common themes emerge in HSC and LSC biology: miRNA mediated regulation of epigenetic machinery and cell signaling pathways. In addition, we propose that miRNAs themselves behave like epigenetic regulators, as they possess key biochemical and biological properties that can provide both stability and alterability to the epigenetic program. Overall, the studies of miRNAs in stem cells in the hematologic contexts not only provide key understandings to post-transcriptional gene regulation mechanisms in HSCs and LSCs, but also will lend key insights for other stem cell fields.

KEYWORDS:

epigenetic machinery; hematopoietic stem cells; leukemia stem cells; miRNAs

PMID:
27547713
PMCID:
PMC4988405
[Available on 2017-09-01]
DOI:
10.1007/s40778-016-0057-1
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