Copyright ©2012 Baishideng. All rights reserved.
World J Stem Cells. Jul 26, 2012; 4(7): 62-70
Published online Jul 26, 2012. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v4.i7.62
MicroRNAs, stem cells and cancer stem cells
Minal Garg
Minal Garg, Department of Biochemistry, University of Lucknow, Lucknow 226007, India
Author contributions: Garg M solely contributed to this paper.
Supported by The Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India for providing BOYSCAST fellowship 2011-2012
Correspondence to: Minal Garg, PhD, BOYSCAST Fellow- DST, Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Lucknow, Lucknow 226007, India. minal14@yahoo.com
Telephone: +91-522-2348968
Received: December 16, 2011
Revised: April 18, 2012
Accepted: April 25, 2012
Published online: July 26, 2012

This review discusses the various regulatory characteristics of microRNAs that are capable of generating widespread changes in gene expression via post translational repression of many mRNA targets and control self-renewal, differentiation and division of cells. It controls the stem cell functions by controlling a wide range of pathological and physiological processes, including development, differentiation, cellular proliferation, programmed cell death, oncogenesis and metastasis. Through either mRNA cleavage or translational repression, miRNAs alter the expression of their cognate target genes; thereby modulating cellular pathways that affect the normal functions of stem cells, turning them into cancer stem cells, a likely cause of relapse in cancer patients. This present review further emphasizes the recent discoveries on the functional analysis of miRNAs in cancer metastasis and implications on miRNA based therapy using miRNA replacement or anti-miRNA technologies in specific cancer stem cells that are required to establish their efficacy in controlling tumorigenic potential and safe therapeutics.

Keywords: Stem cell functions, Cancer stem cells, Cellular pathways, miRNA, oncomiR, Tumor suppressor miRNAs, miRNA based therapeutics