Long Noncoding RNAs in Human Stemness and Differentiation

Trends Cell Biol. 2021 Jul;31(7):542-555. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2021.02.002. Epub 2021 Mar 1.


There is increasing evidence that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are among the main regulatory factors of stem cell maintenance and differentiation. They act through various mechanisms and interactions with proteins, DNA, and RNA. This heterogeneity in function increases the capabilities of the lncRNome toolkit but also makes it difficult to predict the function of novel lncRNAs or even rely on biological information produced in animal models. As lncRNAs are species- and tissue-specific, the recent technical advances in self-renewal and differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) make these cells the ideal system to identify key regulatory lncRNAs and study their molecular functions. Here we provide an overview of the functional versatility of lncRNA mechanistic heterogeneity in regulating pluripotency maintenance and human differentiation.

Keywords: endoderm; human pluripotent stem cells; long noncoding RNAs; mesoderm; neuroectoderm.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't