Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have the extraordinary properties to indefinitely proliferate and self-renew in culture to produce different cell progeny through differentiation. This latter process recapitulates embryonic development and requires rounds of the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). EMT is characterized by the loss of the epithelial features and the acquisition of the typical phenotype of the mesenchymal cells. In pathological conditions, EMT can confer stemness or stem-like phenotypes, playing a role in the tumorigenic process. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) represent a subpopulation, found in the tumor tissues, with stem-like properties such as uncontrolled proliferation, self-renewal, and ability to differentiate into different cell types. ESCs and CSCs share numerous features (pluripotency, self-renewal, expression of stemness genes, and acquisition of epithelial–mesenchymal features), and most of them are under the control of microRNAs (miRNAs). These small molecules have relevant roles during both embryogenesis and cancer development. The aim of this review was to recapitulate molecular mechanisms shared by ESCs and CSCs, with a special focus on the recently identified classes of microRNAs (noncanonical miRNAs, mirtrons, isomiRs, and competitive endogenous miRNAs) and their complex functions during embryogenesis and cancer development.

Micrornas and stem-like properties: The complex regulation underlying stemness maintenance and cancer development

Divisato G.;Piscitelli S.;Elia M.;Cascone E.;Parisi S.
2021

Abstract

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have the extraordinary properties to indefinitely proliferate and self-renew in culture to produce different cell progeny through differentiation. This latter process recapitulates embryonic development and requires rounds of the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). EMT is characterized by the loss of the epithelial features and the acquisition of the typical phenotype of the mesenchymal cells. In pathological conditions, EMT can confer stemness or stem-like phenotypes, playing a role in the tumorigenic process. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) represent a subpopulation, found in the tumor tissues, with stem-like properties such as uncontrolled proliferation, self-renewal, and ability to differentiate into different cell types. ESCs and CSCs share numerous features (pluripotency, self-renewal, expression of stemness genes, and acquisition of epithelial–mesenchymal features), and most of them are under the control of microRNAs (miRNAs). These small molecules have relevant roles during both embryogenesis and cancer development. The aim of this review was to recapitulate molecular mechanisms shared by ESCs and CSCs, with a special focus on the recently identified classes of microRNAs (noncanonical miRNAs, mirtrons, isomiRs, and competitive endogenous miRNAs) and their complex functions during embryogenesis and cancer development.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/872449
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