Author(s): Burdon T, Smith A, Savatier P
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Abstract Pluripotent mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells can be expanded in large numbers in vitro owing to a process of symmetrical self-renewal. Self-renewal entails proliferation with a concomitant suppression of differentiation. Here we describe how the cytokine leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF) sustains self-renewal through activation of the transcription factor STAT3, and how two other signals - extracellular-signal-related kinase (ERK) and phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase (PI3K) - can influence differentiation and propagation, respectively. We relate these observations to the unusual cell-cycle properties of ES cells and speculate on the role of the cell cycle in maintaining pluripotency.
This article was published in Trends Cell Biol
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