Affiliation: Departamento de Genetica e Biologia Evolutiva, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Rua do Matao, 277- 05508-090, Cidade Universitaria, Sao Paulo, SP, Brasil.
MicroRNAs post-transcriptionally regulate the expression of approximately 60% of the mammalian genes, and have an important role in maintaining the differentiated state of somatic cells through the expression of unique tissuespecific microRNA sets. Likewise, the stemness of pluripotent cells is also sustained by embryonic stem cell-enriched microRNAs, which regulate genes involved in cell cycle, cell signaling and epigenetics, among others. Thus, microRNAs work as modulator molecules that ensure the appropriate expression profile of each cell type. Manipulation of microRNA expression might determine the cell fate. Indeed, microRNA-mediated reprogramming can change the differentiated status of somatic cells towards stemness or, conversely, microRNAs can also transform stem- into differentiated-cells both in vitro and in vivo. In this Review, we outline what is currently known in this field, focusing on the applications of microRNA in tissue engineering.