MicroRNAs play a role in the development of human hematopoietic stem cells


  • R. Liao and J. Sun contributed equally to this study.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of recently discovered noncoding RNA genes that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression. It is becoming clear that miRNAs play an important role in the regulation of gene translation during development. However, in mammals, expression data are principally based on whole tissue analysis and are still very incomplete. We isolated CD34+CD38 hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from human umbilical cord blood, on the basis of cell-surface markers using fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). Also, CD34+ subpopulation was FACS isolated as the control. Next, using microarray containing oligonucleotides corresponding to 517 miRNAs from human, mouse, and rat genomes, we obtained miRNA gene expression profiles of both subpopulations. We focused on the HSCs correlative miRNAs with comparison to the control. The miRNAs of particular interest were confirmed by real-time RT-PCR. HSCs-overexpressed hsa-miR-520h and underexpressed hsa-miR-129 were selected for target prediction and analysis. The result showed that EIF2C3 and CAMTA1, genes related to miRNAs processing or transcription regulation, were proved to be real targets for hsa-miR-129. And ABCG2, involved in stemness maintaining, a real target for hsa-miR-520h. Finally, we chose hsa-miR-520h, enriched in HSCs but low in CD34+ cells, for functional characterization, because of its possible role in differentiation of HSCs by regulating ABCG2. As a result, hsa-miR-520h transduction into CD34+ cells greatly increased number of different progenitor colonies in Colony-Forming-Cell assays, suggesting that hsa-miR-520h may promote differentiation of HSCs into progenitor cells by inhibiting ABCG2 expression. This study paves the way for identifying HSC-specific miRNAs and their roles in HSC development. J. Cell. Biochem. 104: 805–817, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.