Early embryonic development is characterised by rapid changes in cell proliferation, developmental fate and morphology. These transitions entail discrete switches between genetic programmes and are driven by transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms. Recently, it was discovered that small non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) can regulate differentiation by post-transcriptionally silencing cohorts of miRNAs specific to certain cell types and cell states. To investigate whether maintenance of embryonic stem cells and their transitions during differentiation are regulated by miRNAs, we analysed the miRNA expression profile of ES cells as they differentiate toward an extra-embryonic ectoderm fate (trophoblast) following acute downregulation of the stem cell master regulator Oct4. The expression levels of approximately 5% of the identified miRNAs changed markedly upon Oct4 down-regulation. We are currently performing experiments designed to interfere with the function of these developmentally-regulated miRNAs, and investigating the roles that specific miRNAs play in proliferation and differentiation of ES cells.
|Journal||Mechanisms of Development|
|Issue number||Supplement 1|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|
|Event||16th International Society of Developmental Biologists Congress 2009 - Edinburgh, United Kingdom|
Duration: 6 Sep 2009 → 10 Sep 2009