Research ArticleStem Cells

RhoA inhibits neural differentiation in murine stem cells through multiple mechanisms

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Science Signaling  26 Jul 2016:
Vol. 9, Issue 438, pp. ra76
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaf0791

Halting neural differentiation with RhoA

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are important for maintaining the pluripotency and self-renewal of embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Spontaneous differentiation of ESCs into neurons involves the production of Noggin, a secreted protein that inhibits BMP signaling. The GTPase RhoA maintains ESC pluripotency by preventing neural differentiation. Yang et al. found that the RhoA-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor Syx prevented neural differentiation of murine ESCs (mESCs) by limiting both the abundance of Noggin and its secretion. Thus, regulation of secretion, as well as production of differentiation-promoting factors, provides multiple layers of control over stem cell fate.

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