Hair follicle-derived neural crest stem cells (NCSCs) can be induced to differentiate into Schwann cells (SCs). However, the underlying regulatory mechanism during cell differentiation remains poorly understood. Dr. Yuxin Ni and her team, Hospital of Stomatology, Jilin University, China isolated NCSCs from human hair follicle and induced them to differentiate into SCs. MicroRNA (miR-21) expression was gradually increased during the differentiation of NCSCs into SCs. After transfection with the miR-21 agonist (agomir-21), the differentiation capacity of NCSCs was increased. Without compromising SOX2 mRNA expression, miR-21 down-regulated SOX protein expression by binding to the 3'-UTR of miR-21 mRNA. Knocking out the SOX2 gene from the NCSCs significantly reversed the miR-21 antagonist inhibition of NCSCs differentiating into SCs. The results suggest that SOX-2 was an effective target of miR-21 and miR-21 promoted the differentiation of NCSCs into SCs through down-regulating SOX protein expression by binding to the 3'-UTR of SOX2 mRNA. These results were published in Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 9, No. 8, 2014).
Article: " miR-21 promotes the differentiation of hair follicle-derived neural crest stem cells into Schwann cells," by Yuxin Ni1, Kaizhi Zhang2, Xuejuan Liu3, Tingting Yang1, Baixiang Wang1, Li Fu1, Lan A1, Yanmin Zhou1 (1 Hospital of Stomatology, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin Province, China; 2 China-Japan Union Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin Province, China; 3 First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin Province, China)
Ni YX, Zhang KZ, Liu XJ, Yang TT, Wang BX, Fu L, A L, Zhou YM. miR-21 promotes the differentiation of hair follicle-derived neural crest stem cells into Schwann cells. Neural Regen Res. 2014;9(8):828-836.