BMB Rep. 2015; 48(2): 68-80  
G protein-coupled receptors in stem cell maintenance and somatic reprogramming to pluripotent or cancer stem cells
Hye Yeon Choi, Subbroto Kumar Saha, Kyeongseok Kim, Sangsu Kim, Gwang-Mo Yang, BongWoo Kim, Jin-hoi Kim & Ssang-Goo Cho*
Department of Animal Biotechnology, Animal Resources Research Center, and Incurable Disease Animal Model and Stem Cell Institute (IDASI), Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Korea
Correspondence to: Tel: +82-2-450-4207; Fax: +82-2-450-1044; E-mail:
Received: November 18, 2014; Published online: February 28, 2015.
© Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. All rights reserved.

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a large class of transmembrane receptors categorized into five distinct families: rhodopsin, secretin, adhesion, glutamate, and frizzled. They bind and regulate 80% of all hormones and account for 20-50% of the pharmaceuticals currently on the market. Hundreds of GPCRs integrate and coordinate the functions of individual cells, mediating signaling between various organs. GPCRs are crucial players in tumor progression, adipogenesis, and inflammation. Several studies have also confirmed their central roles in embryonic development and stem cell maintenance. Recently, GPCRs have emerged as key players in the regulation of cell survival, proliferation, migration, and self-renewal in pluripotent (PSCs) and cancer stem cells (CSCs). Our study and other reports have revealed that the expression of many GPCRs is modulated during the generation of induced PSCs (iPSCs) or CSCs as well as during CSC sphere formation. These GPCRs may have crucial roles in the regulation of selfrenewal and other biological properties of iPSCs and CSCs. This review addresses the current understanding of the role of GPCRs in stem cell maintenance and somatic reprogramming to PSCs or CSCs.
Keywords: Cancer stem cells (CSC), G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC), Somatic reprogramming, Stem cell maintenance

This Article