1. Cancer Research Institute, Department of Neurosurgery, School of Basic Medical Science, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410008, China.
2. Changsha Kexin Cancer Hospital, Changsha, Hunan 410205, China.
3. The Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis of the Chinese Ministry of Health and the Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Cancer Invasion of the Chinese Ministry of Education, Central South University, Changsha 410008, China.
4. Department of Neurosurgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410008, China.
The self-renewal, pluripotency and differentiation of stem cells are regulated by various genetic and epigenetic factors. As a kind of RNA binding protein (RBP), the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs) can act as “RNA scaffold” and recruit mRNA, lncRNA, microRNA and circRNA to affect mRNA splicing and processing, regulate gene transcription and post-transcriptional translation, change genome structure, and ultimately play crucial roles in the biological processes of cells. Recent researches have demonstrated that hnRNPs are irreplaceable for self-renewal and differentiation of stem cells. hnRNPs function in stem cells by multiple mechanisms, which include regulating mRNA stability, inducing alternative splicing of mRNA, epigenetically regulate gene expression, and maintaining telomerase activity and telomere length. The functions and the underlying mechanisms of hnRNPs in stem cells deserve further investigation.
Keywords: Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein, Stem cell, mRNA stability, Epigenetic regulation, Telomere length and telomerase activity