I Ibarra, Y Erlich, SK Muthuswamy, R Sachidanandam, GJ Hannon
microRNA (miRNA) expression profiles are often characteristic of specific cell types. The mouse mammary epithelial cell line, Comma-Dbeta, contains a population of self-renewing progenitor cells that can reconstitute the mammary gland. We purified this population and determined its miRNA signature. Several microRNAs, including miR-205 and miR-22, are highly expressed in mammary progenitor cells, while others, including let-7 and miR-93, are depleted. Let-7 sensors can be used to prospectively enrich self-renewing populations, and enforced let-7 expression induces loss of self-renewing cells from mixed cultures.