Stem cells belong to a unique class of cells that is collectively responsible for the development and subsequent maintenance of all tissues comprising multicellular organisms. These cells possess unique characteristics that allow them to remain in a pluripotent state, while also continuing to generate differentiated cells. microRNAs, a specialized class of non-coding RNAs, are integral components of the network of pathways that modulates this combination of abilities. This review highlights recent discoveries about the roles miRNAs play in governing stem cell phenotype, and discusses the potential therapeutic utility that miRNAs may have in the treatment of multiple diseases. Additionally, it addresses a novel mode of regulation of stem cell phenotype through lincRNA-mediated modulation of select miRNAs, and the role of secreted, stem cell-derived miRNAs in exerting a paracrine influence on surrounding non-stem cells.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.