Myc-regulated microRNAs attenuate embryonic stem cell differentiation.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The EMBO journal, Volume 28, Issue 20, p.3157-70 (2009)


2009, Animals, Basic Sciences Division, Blotting, Western, Cell Differentiation, Cell Line, Center-Authored Paper, Chromatin Immunoprecipitation, Collaborative Data Services Core Facility, Comparative Medicine Core Facility, Embryonic Stem Cells, Genomics Core Facility, Immunohistochemistry, MICE, MICRORNAS, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc, Shared Resources


Myc proteins are known to have an important function in stem cell maintenance. As Myc has been shown earlier to regulate microRNAs (miRNAs) involved in proliferation, we sought to determine whether c-Myc also affects embryonic stem (ES) cell maintenance and differentiation through miRNAs. Using a quantitative primer-extension PCR assay we identified miRNAs, including, miR-141, miR-200, and miR-429 whose expression is regulated by c-Myc in ES cells, but not in the differentiated and tumourigenic derivatives of ES cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses indicate that in ES cells c-Myc binds proximal to genomic regions encoding the induced miRNAs. We used expression profiling and seed homology to identify genes specifically downregulated both by these miRNAs and by c-Myc. We further show that the introduction of c-Myc-induced miRNAs into murine ES cells significantly attenuates the downregulation of pluripotency markers on induction of differentiation after withdrawal of the ES cell maintenance factor LIF. In contrast, knockdown of the endogenous miRNAs accelerate differentiation. Our data show that in ES cells c-Myc acts, in part, through a subset of miRNAs to attenuate differentiation.