Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.426, No.2, 183-189, 2012
Non-canonical microRNAs miR-320 and miR-702 promote proliferation in Dgcr8-deficient embryonic stem cells
MicroRNAs are known to contribute significantly to stem cell phenotype by post-transcriptionally regulating gene expression. Most of our knowledge of microRNAs comes from the study of canonical microRNAs that require two sequential cleavages by the Drosha/Dgcr8 heterodimer and Dicer to generate mature products. In contrast, non-canonical microRNAs bypass the cleavage by the Drosha/Dgcr8 heterodimer within the nucleus but still require cytoplasmic cleavage by Dicer. The function of non-canonical microRNAs in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) remains obscure. It has been hypothesized that non-canonical microRNAs have important roles in ESCs based upon the phenotypes of ESC lines that lack these specific classes of microRNAs; Dicer-deficient ESCs lacking both canonical and non-canonical microRNAs have much more severe proliferation defect than Dgcr8-deficient ESCs lacking only canonical microRNAs. Using these cell lines, we identified two non-canonical microRNAs, miR-320 and miR-702, that promote proliferation of Dgcr8-deficient ESCs by releasing them from G1 arrest. This is accomplished by targeting the 3'-untranslated regions of the cell cycle inhibitors p57 and p21 and thereby inhibiting their expression. This is the first report of the crucial role of non-canonical microRNAs in ESCs. (c) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.