RNA Genes: Retroelements and Virally Retroposable microRNAs in Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Yoichi R. Fujii*
Retroviral Genetics Group, Nagoya City University, Nagoya, 467-8603, Japan

© Yoichi R. Fujii; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Retroviral Genetics Group, Nagoya City University, Nagoya, 467-8603, Japan; Tel: +81-52-836-3430; E-mail:


Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are capable of undergoing self-renewal, and their developmental ability is known as the stemness. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) as regulators have been isolated from ESCs. Although Dicer and DiGeorge syndrome critical region gene 8 (DGCR8) are essential factors for the biogeneration of miRNA, Dicer-knockout (KO) ESCs have showed to fail to express differentiation markers and DGCR8-KO ESCs have showed to be arrest in the G1 phase. Furthermore, Dicer-KO ESCs lost the ability to epigenetically silence retroelemtns (REs). REs are expressed and transposed in ESCs, whose transcripts control expression of miRNAs, and their transposable retroelement (TE) expression is, therefore related to ESC proliferation and differentiation, suggesting that the interplay between miRNAs and REs may have a deep responsibility for the stemness including a short G1/S transition and for RE regulation in ESCs.

Keywords: ES cell, HIV-1, microRNA, retrotransposon, RNA wave..