MicroRNAs Regulate Ca 2+ Homeostasis in Murine Embryonic Stem Cells

Kimberley M. Reid, Juan Miguel Sanchez-Nieto, Sandra Terrasse, Danilo Faccenda, Barbara Pernaute, Michelangelo Campanella, Tristan A. Rodriguez, Bradley S. Cobb, Y-h. Taguchi (Editor)

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators of embryonic stem cell (ESC) biology, and their study has identified key regulatory mechanisms. To find novel pathways regulated by miRNAs in ESCs, we undertook a bioinformatics analysis of gene pathways differently expressed in the absence of miRNAs due to the deletion of Dicer, which encodes an RNase that is essential for the synthesis of miRNAs. One pathway that stood out was Ca2+ signaling. Interestingly, we found that Dicer−/− ESCs had no difference in basal cytoplasmic Ca2+ levels but were hyperresponsive when Ca2+ import into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) was blocked by thapsigargin. Remarkably, the increased Ca2+ response to thapsigargin in ESCs resulted in almost no increase in apoptosis and no differences in stress response pathways, despite the importance of miRNAs in the stress response of other cell types. The increased Ca2+ response in Dicer−/− ESCs was also observed during purinergic receptor activation, demonstrating a physiological role for the miRNA regulation of Ca2+ signaling pathways. In examining the mechanism of increased Ca2+ responsiveness to thapsigargin, neither store-operated Ca2+ entry nor Ca2+ clearance mechanisms from the cytoplasm appeared to be involved. Rather, it appeared to involve an increase in the expression of one isoform of the IP3 receptors (Itpr2). miRNA regulation of Itpr2 expression primarily appeared to be indirect, with transcriptional regulation playing a major role. Therefore, the miRNA regulation of Itpr2 expression offers a unique mechanism to regulate Ca2+ signaling pathways in the physiology of pluripotent stem cells.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1957
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number15
Early online date28 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2023


  • stress response
  • Ca2+ regulation
  • miRNAs
  • embryonic stem cells
  • IP3 receptors
  • dicer
  • Ca regulation
  • IP receptors
  • Homeostasis
  • Thapsigargin/pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation/genetics
  • Mice
  • Embryonic Stem Cells
  • MicroRNAs/metabolism


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