BMB Rep. 2015; 48(12): 668-676  
Stem cell maintenance by manipulating signaling pathways: past, current and future
Xi Chen1, Shoudong Ye2 & Qi-Long Ying1,*
1Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC, Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA, 2Center for Stem Cell and Translational Medicine, School of Life Sciences, Anhui University, Hefei 230601, P.R. China
Correspondence to: Tel: +1-323-442-3308; Fax: +1-323-442-4040; E-mail: qying@med.usc.edu
Received: October 20, 2015; Published online: December 31, 2015.
© Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. All rights reserved.

Abstract
Pluripotent stem cells only exist in a narrow window during early embryonic development, whereas multipotent stem cells are abundant throughout embryonic development and are retained in various adult tissues and organs. While pluripotent stem cell lines have been established from several species, including mouse, rat, and human, it is still challenging to establish stable multipotent stem cell lines from embryonic or adult tissues. Based on current knowledge, we anticipate that by manipulating extrinsic and intrinsic signaling pathways, most if not all types of stem cells can be maintained in a long-term culture. In this article, we summarize current culture conditions established for the long-term maintenance of authentic pluripotent and multipotent stem cells and the signaling pathways involved. We also discuss the general principles of stem cell maintenance and propose several strategies on the establishment of novel stem cell lines through manipulation of signaling pathways.
Keywords: Adult stem cells, Embryonic stem cell self-renewal, Neural stem cells, Stem cells, Wnt/β-catenin pathway


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