The role of microRNAs in stemness of cancer stem cells

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Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini Rad
Mahsa Shanaki Bavarsad
Ehsan Arefian
Kaveh Jaseb
Mohammad Shahjahani
Najmaldin Saki *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Najmaldin Saki | najmaldinsaki@gmail.com

Abstract

Cancer is one of the most important diseases of humans, for which no cure has been found so far. Understanding the causes of cancer can pave the way for its treatment. Alteration in genetic elements such as oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes results in cancer. The most recent theory for the origin of cancer has been provided by cancer stem cells (CSCs). Tumor-initiating cells (T-ICs) or CSCs are a small population isolated from tumors and hematologic malignancies. Since CSCs are similar to embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in many aspects (such as pluripotency and self-renewal), recognizing the signaling pathways through which ESCs maintain their stemness can also help identify CSC signaling. One component of these signaling pathways is non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). ncRNAs are classified in two groups: microRNAs (miRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). miRNAs undergo altered expression in cancer. In this regard, they are classified as Onco-miRNAs or tumor suppressor miRNAs. Some miRNAs play similar roles in ESCs and CSCs, such as let-7 and miR-302. This review focuses on the miRNAs involved in stemness of ESCs and CSCs by presenting a summary of the role of miRNAs in other tumor cells.

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Author Biographies

Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini Rad, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering, Stem Cell Technology Research Center, Tehran; Department of Virology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran

Mahsa Shanaki Bavarsad, Health Research Center, Research Institute of Thalassemia and Hemoglobinopathy, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz

Ehsan Arefian, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering, Stem Cell Technology Research Center, Tehran; Department of Microbiology, School of Biology, College of Science, University of Tehran, Tehran

Kaveh Jaseb, Health Research Center, Research Institute of Thalassemia and Hemoglobinopathy, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz

Mohammad Shahjahani, Department of Virology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran

Najmaldin Saki, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering, Stem Cell Technology Research Center, Tehran; Health Research Center, Research Institute of Thalassemia and Hemoglobinopathy, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz