MicroRNAs and Stem Cells: Control of Pluripotency, Reprogramming, and Lineage Commitment

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Stem cells hold great promise for regenerative medicine and the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The mechanisms regulating self-renewal, pluripotency, and differentiation are not fully understood. MicroRNAs (miRs) are small noncoding RNAs controlling gene expression, either by inducing mRNA degradation or by blocking mRNA translation. The expression of miRs was shown to regulate various aspects of stem cell functions, including the maintenance and induction of pluripotency for reprogramming. In addition, some miRs control cell fate decisions. This review summarizes the role of miRs in reprogramming and embryonic stem cell self-renewal, and specifically addresses the regulation of cardiovascular cell fate decisions by miRs.

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