Despite the recent identification of the transcriptional regulatory circuitry involving SOX2, NANOG, and OCT-4, the intracellular signaling networks that control pluripotency of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) remain largely undefined. Here, we demonstrate an essential role for the serine/threonine protein kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in regulating hESC long-term undifferentiated growth. Inhibition of mTOR impairs pluripotency, prevents cell proliferation, and enhances mesoderm and endoderm activities in hESCs. At the molecular level, mTOR integrates signals from extrinsic pluripotency-supporting factors and represses the transcriptional activities of a subset of developmental and growth-inhibitory genes, as revealed by genome-wide microarray analyses. Repression of the developmental genes by mTOR is necessary for the maintenance of hESC pluripotency. These results uncover a novel signaling mechanism by which mTOR controls fate decisions in hESCs. Our findings may contribute to effective strategies for tissue repair and regeneration.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - May 12 2009|
- Long-term undifferentiated growth
ASJC Scopus subject areas