The importance of microRNAs and long noncoding RNAs in the regulation of pluripotency has been documented; however, the noncoding components of stem cell gene networks remain largely unknown. Here we investigate the role of noncoding RNAs in the pluripotent state, with particular emphasis on nuclear and retrotransposon-derived transcripts. We have performed deep profiling of the nuclear and cytoplasmic transcriptomes of human and mouse stem cells, identifying a class of previously undetected stem cell-specific transcripts. We show that long terminal repeat (LTR)-derived transcripts contribute extensively to the complexity of the stem cell nuclear transcriptome. Some LTR-derived transcripts are associated with enhancer regions and are likely to be involved in the maintenance of pluripotency.
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