EMBO J 2013 Oct 27;32(21):2819-32. Epub 2013 Sep 27.
Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Rome 'La Sapienza', Rome, Italy.
The transcription factor Nanog plays a critical role in the self-renewal of embryonic stem cells as well as in neural stem cells (NSCs). microRNAs (miRNAs) are also involved in stemness regulation. However, the miRNA network downstream of Nanog is still poorly understood. High-throughput screening of miRNA expression profiles in response to modulated levels of Nanog in postnatal NSCs identifies miR-17-92 cluster as a direct target of Nanog. Nanog controls miR-17-92 cluster by binding to the upstream regulatory region and maintaining high levels of transcription in NSCs, whereas Nanog/promoter association and cluster miRNAs expression are lost alongside differentiation. The two miR-17 family members of miR-17-92 cluster, namely miR-17 and miR-20a, target Trp53inp1, a downstream component of p53 pathway. To support a functional role, the presence of miR-17/20a or the loss of Trp53inp1 is required for the Nanog-induced enhancement of self-renewal of NSCs. We unveil an arm of the Nanog/p53 pathway, which regulates stemness in postnatal NSCs, wherein Nanog counteracts p53 signals through miR-17/20a-mediated repression of Trp53inp1.