Overview of Stem Cells & Wnt Signaling Pathway
Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells that can differentiate into specialized cells and can divide (through mitosis) to produce more stem cells. The Wnt signaling pathways are a group of signal transduction pathways made of proteins that pass signals from outside of a cell through cell surface receptors to the inside of the cell. Specifically, the JAK/STAT, Hedgehog, Wnt, Notch, Smad, PI3K/phosphatase and tensin homolog, and NK-κB signaling pathways have all been shown experimentally to mediate various stem cell properties, such as self-renewal, cell fate decisions, survival, proliferation, and differentiation. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been believed to be responsible for tumor initiation, growth, and recurrence. Numerous agents have been developed to specifically target CSCs by suppressing the expression of pluripotency maintaining factors Nanog, Oct-4, Sox-2, and c-Myc and transcription of GLI. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have the capacity to differentiate into various types of cells, and a self-renewing resource, and scientists can experiment with an unlimited number of pluripotent cells to perfect the process of targeted differentiation, transplantation, and more, for personalized medicine.
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