Research ArticleDevelopment

Chemical Genetics Identifies c-Src as an Activator of Primitive Ectoderm Formation in Murine Embryonic Stem Cells

Science Signaling  13 Oct 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 92, pp. ra64
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2000311

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Decoding Kinase Functions in Stem Cells

Embryonic stem cells are self-renewing cells with the potential to differentiate into multiple cell types. Understanding the signals that control the fate and regeneration of these cells may allow the development of therapeutic strategies based on stem cells. Src family kinases have been implicated in both maintenance of pluripotency and differentiation of these cells. Meyn and Smithgall show that when the activity of all Src family kinases is inhibited, restoration of the activity of a single member, c-Src, is sufficient to drive the embryonic stem cells to differentiate into cells with properties of primitive ectoderm. Thus, Src family members are not functionally redundant and general inhibitors of this family may mask member-specific roles because the activity of some family members may override the functions of others.