Signaling Molecules Governing Pluripotency and Early Lineage Commitments in Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

Document Type : Review Article


Department of Stem Cells and Developmental Biology, Cell Science Research Center, Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology, ACECR, Tehran, Iran


Signaling in pluripotent stem cells is a complex and dynamic process involving multiple mediators, finely tuned to balancing pluripotency and differentiation states. Characterizing and modifying the necessary signaling pathways to attain desired cell types is required for stem-cell applications in various fields of regenerative medicine. These signals may help enhance the differentiation potential of pluripotent cells towards each of the embryonic lineages and enable us to achieve pure in vitro cultures of various cell types. This review provides a timely synthesis of recent advances into how maintenance of pluripotency in hPSCs is regulated by extrinsic cues, such as the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and ACTIVIN signaling pathways, their interplay with other signaling pathways, namely, wingless- type MMTV integration site family (WNT) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and the pathways governing the determination of multiple lineages.