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Keywords:

  • MicroRNA;
  • Reprogramming;
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells;
  • Transdifferentiation

Abstract

It is now well-established that somatic cells can be reprogrammed to alternative cell fates by ectopic coexpression of defined factors. Reprogramming technology has uncovered a huge plasticity besides gene regulatory networks (GRNs) of differentiated cell states. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), which are an integral part of GRNs, have recently emerged as a powerful reprogramming toolbox. They regulate numerous genes, thereby modulating virtually all cellular processes, including somatic cell reprogramming. Not only can miRNAs provide novel opportunities for interrogating mechanisms of induced pluripotency and direct lineage reprogramming but they also offer hope for the efficient creation of safe cell sources for regenerative medicine. In reviewing landmark roles of miRNAs in cell reprogramming, we offer suggestions for evolution of the reprogramming field. Stem Cells 2014;32:3–15