miRNA in pluripotent stem cells.
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Embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells are characterized by their ability to self-renew and differentiate into any cell type. The molecular mechanism behind this process is a complex interplay between the transcriptional factors with epigenetic regulators and signaling pathways. miRNAs are an integral part of this regulatory network, with essential roles in pluripotent maintenance, proliferation and differentiation. miRNAs are a class of small noncoding RNAs that target protein-encoding mRNA to inhibit translation and protein synthesis. Discovered close to 20 years ago, miRNAs have rapidly emerged as key regulatory molecules in several critical cellular processes across species. Recent studies have begun to clarify the specific role of miRNA in regulatory circuitries that control self-renewal and pluripotency of both embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. These advances suggest a critical role for miRNAs in the process of reprogramming somatic cells to pluripotent cells.
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