Naive and Primed Murine Pluripotent Stem Cells Have Distinct miRNA Expression Profiles

RNA. 2012 Feb;18(2):253-64. doi: 10.1261/rna.028878.111. Epub 2011 Dec 27.


Over the last years, the microRNA (miRNA) pathway has emerged as a key component of the regulatory network of pluripotency. Although clearly distinct states of pluripotency have been described in vivo and ex vivo, differences in miRNA expression profiles associated with the developmental modulation of pluripotency have not been extensively studied so far. Here, we performed deep sequencing to profile miRNA expression in naive (embryonic stem cell [ESC]) and primed (epiblast stem cell [EpiSC]) pluripotent stem cells derived from mouse embryos of identical genetic background. We developed a graphical representation method allowing the rapid identification of miRNAs with an atypical profile including mirtrons, a small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA)-derived miRNA, and miRNAs whose biogenesis may differ between ESC and EpiSC. Comparison of mature miRNA profiles revealed that ESCs and EpiSCs exhibit very different miRNA signatures with one third of miRNAs being differentially expressed between the two cell types. Notably, differential expression of several clusters, including miR290-295, miR17-92, miR302/367, and a large repetitive cluster on chromosome 2, was observed. Our analysis also showed that differentiation priming of EpiSC compared to ESC is evidenced by changes in miRNA expression. These dynamic changes in miRNAs signature are likely to reflect both redundant and specific roles of miRNAs in the fine-tuning of pluripotency during development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Line
  • Databases, Nucleic Acid
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*


  • MicroRNAs