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Blood. 2007 Dec 1;110(12):4111-9. Epub 2007 Aug 29.

Self-renewal of human embryonic stem cells requires insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor and ERBB2 receptor signaling.

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Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, 98195, USA.


Despite progress in developing defined conditions for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) cultures, little is known about the cell-surface receptors that are activated under conditions supportive of hESC self-renewal. A simultaneous interrogation of 42 receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) in hESCs following stimulation with mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) conditioned medium (CM) revealed rapid and prominent tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor (IR) and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1R); less prominent tyrosine phosphorylation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family members, including ERBB2 and ERBB3; and trace phosphorylation of fibroblast growth factor receptors. Intense IGF1R and IR phosphorylation occurred in the absence of MEF conditioning (NCM) and was attributable to high concentrations of insulin in the proprietary KnockOut Serum Replacer (KSR). Inhibition of IGF1R using a blocking antibody or lentivirus-delivered shRNA reduced hESC self-renewal and promoted differentiation, while disruption of ERBB2 signaling with the selective inhibitor AG825 severely inhibited hESC proliferation and promoted apoptosis. A simple defined medium containing an IGF1 analog, heregulin-1beta (a ligand for ERBB2/ERBB3), fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2), and activin A supported long-term growth of multiple hESC lines. These studies identify previously unappreciated RTKs that support hESC proliferation and self-renewal, and provide a rationally designed medium for the growth and maintenance of pluripotent hESCs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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