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Development. 2010 Oct;137(20):3351-60. doi: 10.1242/dev.050146.

The role of FGF/Erk signaling in pluripotent cells.

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  • 1Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling controls fundamental processes such as proliferation, differentiation and migration throughout mammalian development. Here we discuss recent discoveries that implicate FGF/Erk signaling in the control of pluripotency and lineage specification in several different stem cell states, including the separation of pluripotent epiblast and primitive endoderm in the blastocyst, the lineage priming of embryonic stem (ES) cells, and in the stabilization of the metastable state of mouse epiblast and human ES cells. Understanding how extrinsic signals such as FGF regulate different stem cell states will be crucial to harvest the clinical promise of induced pluripotent and embryo-derived stem cells.

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