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Exp Mol Med. 2010 Apr 30;42(4):294-301.

PKC-delta inhibitors sustain self-renewal of mouse embryonic stem cells under hypoxia in vitro.

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Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, NeuroVascular Coordination Research Center, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea.


Under hypoxia, mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) lose their self-renewal activity and display an early differentiated morphology mediated by the hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1 alpha). Previous studies have demonstrated that PKC-delta is activated by hypoxia and increases the protein stability and transcriptional activity of HIF-1 alpha in human cancer cells. Furthermore, activation of PKC-delta mediates cardiac differentiation of ESCs and hematopoietic stem cells. However, the role of PKC-delta in hypoxia-induced early differentiation of mESCs remains largely unknown. Here, we show the inhibition of PKC-delta activity prevents the early differentiation of mESCs under hypoxia using PKC-delta inhibitors, GF 109203X and rottlerin. Reduction of PKC-delta activity under hypoxia effectively decreased HIF-1 alpha protein levels and substantially recovered the expression of LIF-specific receptor (LIFR) and phosphorylated-STAT3 in mESCs. Furthermore, PKC-delta inhibitors aid to sustain the expression of self-renewal markers and suppress the expression of early differentiation markers in mESCs under hypoxia. Taken together, these results suggest that PKC-delta inhibitors block the early differentiation of mESCs via destabilization of HIF-1 alpha under hypoxia.

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