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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 1797692, 9 pages
Review Article

Long Noncoding RNA Regulation of Pluripotency

1Department of Biology and Biotechnology Charles Darwin, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
2Institute Pasteur Fondazione Cenci-Bolognetti, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy

Received 4 March 2015; Accepted 7 July 2015

Academic Editor: Aster H. Juan

Copyright © 2016 Alessandro Rosa and Monica Ballarino. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) represent a unique kind of stem cell, as they are able to indefinitely self-renew and hold the potential to differentiate into any derivative of the three germ layers. As such, human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs) and human induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (hiPSCs) provide a unique opportunity for studying the earliest steps of human embryogenesis and, at the same time, are of great therapeutic interest. The molecular mechanisms underlying pluripotency represent a major field of research. Recent evidence suggests that a complex network of transcription factors, chromatin regulators, and noncoding RNAs exist in pluripotent cells to regulate the balance between self-renewal and multilineage differentiation. Regulatory noncoding RNAs come in two flavors: short and long. The first class includes microRNAs (miRNAs), which are involved in the posttranscriptional regulation of cell cycle and differentiation in PSCs. Instead, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) represent a heterogeneous group of long transcripts that regulate gene expression at transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. In this review, we focus on the role played by lncRNAs in the maintenance of pluripotency, emphasizing the interplay between lncRNAs and other pivotal regulators in PSCs.