SCF/KIT inhibition has a cumulative but reversible effect on the self-renewal of embryonic stem cells and on the survival of differentiating cells

Lindsay Fraser, A Helen Taylor, Lesley M Forrester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The receptor tyrosine kinase c-KIT is expressed in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and adult stem cells, and many functional studies have demonstrated the importance of the SCF/KIT signaling pathway in adult stem cell maintenance. In this study, we show that a high level of KIT expression in wild-type ESCs correlates with an enhanced self-renewal and that inhibition of KIT signaling in ESCs for extended periods of time has a cumulative but reversible effect on self-renewal. Together these data suggest that continued KIT signaling in some cells within a self-renewing ESC population is required for optimal ESC function. Using a KIT blocking antibody, we recapitulated the phenotype we previously reported for genetically deficient KIT-null cells, demonstrating that SCF/KIT signaling is essential for the survival of differentiating ESCs. Here we show that this phenotype is also reversible. Pharmacological inhibition of JNK also had a cumulative but reversible detrimental effect on the survival of differentiating cells, thus recapitulating the Kit null phenotype and implicating JNK as a downstream mediator of KIT signaling. In contrast, the self-renewal of ESCs was unaffected by prolonged exposure to the JNK inhibitor, suggesting that JNK-independent downstream pathways are involved in KIT-mediated ESC self-renewal whereas KIT-mediated survival of differentiating ESC is likely to be JNK dependent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-68
Number of pages10
JournalCellular Reprogramming
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

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