Directing stem cell fate by controlled RNA interference
Wing, Winifred Yiu Yau
Chew, Sing Yian
Date of Issue2011
School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Directing stem cell fate remains a major area of interest and also a hurdle to many, particularly in the field of regenerative medicine. Unfortunately, conventional methods of over-expressing inductive factors through the use of biochemical induction cocktails have led to sub-optimal outcomes. A potential alternative may be to adopt the opposite by selectively silencing genes or pathways that are pivotal to stem cell differentiation. Indeed, over recent years, there have been an increasing number of studies on directing stem cell fate through gene knockdown via RNA interference (RNAi). While the effectiveness of RNAi in controlling stem cell differentiation is evident from the myriad of studies, a chaotically vast collection of gene silencing targets have also been identified. Meanwhile, variations in methods of transfecting stem cells have also affected silencing efficiencies and the subsequent extent of stem cell differentiation. This review serves to unite the pioneers who have ventured into the emerging field of RNAi-enhanced stem cell differentiation by summarizing and evaluating the current approaches adopted in utilizing gene silencing to direct stem cell fate and their corresponding outcomes.
© 2011 Elsevier.