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Stem Cells Dev. 2016 Sep 19. [Epub ahead of print]

Conserved Role of bFGF and a Divergent Role of LIF for Pluripotency Maintenance and Survival in Canine Pluripotent Stem Cells.

Luo J1,2, Cibelli JB1,3,4.

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1 Department of Animal Science, Michigan State University , East Lansing, Michigan.
2 Yale Cardiovascular Research Center, Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Yale University , New Haven, Connecticut.
3 Department of Physiology, Michigan State University , East Lansing, Michigan.
4 LARCEL, Laboratorio Andaluz de Reprogramación Celular , BIONAND, Andalucía, Spain .


Dogs have been widely used as a preclinical model for human disease. With the successful generation of canine induced pluripotent stem cells (ciPSCs), the biomedical community has a unique opportunity to study therapeutic interventions using autologous stem cells that can benefit dogs and humans. Unlike mice and human pluripotent cells, which are leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF)- and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF)-dependent, respectively, dog iPSCs require both growth factors simultaneously. In an effort to elucidate the role of each factor in the control of ciPSC self-renewal, we performed a series of experiments aiming at understanding the signaling pathways activated by them. We found that bFGF regulates pluripotency by indirectly activating the SMAD2/3 pathway in the presence of feeder cells, exclusively targeting NANOG expression, and inhibiting spontaneous differentiation toward ectoderm and mesoderm. LIF activates the JAK-STAT3 pathway but does not function in the typical manner described in mouse naïve embryonic stem cells. These results show that a unique mechanism for maintenance of pluripotency is present in ciPSC. These findings should be taken into account when establishing stem cell differentiation protocols and may provide more insight into pluripotency regulation in species other than mice and humans.

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