MicroRNAs: Modulators of Cell Identity, and their Applications in Tissue Engineering
Amanda O. Ribeiro, Claudia R. G. Schoof, Alberto Izzotti, Lygia V. Pereira and Luciana R. Vasques
Affiliation: Departamento de Genetica e Biologia Evolutiva, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Rua do Matao, 277- 05508-090, Cidade Universitaria, Sao Paulo, SP, Brasil.
Keywords: Cell fate, ESC, iPSC, microRNA, stemness, tissue engineering.
MicroRNAs post-transcriptionally regulate the expression of approximately 60% of the mammalian genes, and
have an important role in maintaining the differentiated state of somatic cells through the expression of unique tissuespecific
microRNA sets. Likewise, the stemness of pluripotent cells is also sustained by embryonic stem cell-enriched microRNAs,
which regulate genes involved in cell cycle, cell signaling and epigenetics, among others. Thus, microRNAs
work as modulator molecules that ensure the appropriate expression profile of each cell type. Manipulation of microRNA
expression might determine the cell fate. Indeed, microRNA-mediated reprogramming can change the differentiated status
of somatic cells towards stemness or, conversely, microRNAs can also transform stem- into differentiated-cells both in vitro
and in vivo. In this Review, we outline what is currently known in this field, focusing on the applications of microRNA
in tissue engineering.
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