WELLCOME IMAGES, STEPHEN ELLIMAN
A group of microRNAs known as miR-34 miRNAs prevent the reprogramming of cells by inhibiting pluripotency-associated genes, a new study published yesterday (October 23) in Nature Cell Biology has found. The findings suggest that blocking miR-34 miRNAs may lead to more efficient reprogramming of somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
MiR-34 production is regulated by the tumor suppressor protein p53—which is known to repress reprogramming, and thus iPSC generation, by modulating the expression of several pluripotency-associated genes. Researchers found that MiR-34 miRNAs repress somatic cell reprogramming by inhibiting some of the pluripotency-associated genes downstream of p53.