Stem Cell Signaling
Various signals influence stem cell generation, self-renewal and differentiation. In vivo, the microenvironment responsible for maintaining stem cells in pluripotent form and enabling their self-renewal is called the stem-cell niche. Environmental cues and certain signal pathways, such as the Wnt and JAK-STAT pathways, contribute to the maintenance of this niche.
Communication between the stem cells within this environment helps coordinate the process of differentiation, after it is triggered by signal molecules such as growth factors and Wnt proteins. Signaling pathways closely linked to developmental processes, and which are frequently dysregulated in cancer - e.g. Notch, Hedgehog and Wnt - have also been linked with the regulation of stem cell self-renewal. Internal signals, controlled by the cell's genes, play an equally important role in stem cell differentiation. While these signaling pathways are integral to the generation of specific differentiated cells, the mechanisms that determine differentiated cell type and destination are not entirely understood.
Other signals result in the reprogramming of differentiated cells, generating embryonic-like stem cells. Transcription factors such as Oct4, Sox2 and Nanog regulate the expression of selected induction genes and are used to create pluripotent cells. These induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provide a viable alternative to embryonic stem cells (ESCs), without the moral issues affecting human ESC use. Recent research has moved away from the use of viruses and oncogenes to genomically alter adult cells; instead, recombinant proteins have been used to successfully generate murine piPSCs (protein-induced pluripotent stem cells). The fusion of pluripotent cells with somatic cells also enables the transfer of pluripotent phenotype by an unknown mechanism.View all products for Stem Cell Signaling »
Literature for Stem Cell Signaling
A collection of over 750 products for cancer research, the guide includes research tools for the study of:
- Cancer Metabolism
- Epigenetics in Cancer
- Receptor Signaling
- Cell Cycle and DNA Damage Repair
- Invasion and Metastasis
This review provides an overview of the use of small molecules in the control of stem cell growth and differentiation. Key signaling pathways are highlighted, and the regulation of ES cell self-renewal and somatic cell reprogramming is discussed. Compounds available from Tocris are listed.Request copy | Download PDF | View all reviews