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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2014 Apr;15(4):243-56. doi: 10.1038/nrm3772.

Metabolic requirements for the maintenance of self-renewing stem cells.

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Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, Departments of Cell Biology/Stem Cell Institute and Medicine, Albert Einstein Cancer Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.
Department of Cell Differentiation, The Sakaguchi Laboratory of Developmental Biology, School of Medicine, Keio University, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan.


A distinctive feature of stem cells is their capacity to self-renew to maintain pluripotency. Studies of genetically-engineered mouse models and recent advances in metabolomic analysis, particularly in haematopoietic stem cells, have deepened our understanding of the contribution made by metabolic cues to the regulation of stem cell self-renewal. Many types of stem cells heavily rely on anaerobic glycolysis, and stem cell function is also regulated by bioenergetic signalling, the AKT-mTOR pathway, Gln metabolism and fatty acid metabolism. As maintenance of a stem cell pool requires a finely-tuned balance between self-renewal and differentiation, investigations into the molecular mechanisms and metabolic pathways underlying these decisions hold great therapeutic promise.

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