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Keywords:

  • Zap70;
  • Mouse embryonic stem cells;
  • Jak/Stat3;
  • c-Myc;
  • SHP-1;
  • LIFR;
  • Self-renewal;
  • Pluripotency;
  • Stemness

Abstract

Zeta-chain-associated protein kinase-70 (Zap70), a Syk family tyrosine kinase, has been reported to be present exclusively in normal T-cells, natural killer cells, and B cells, serving as a pivotal regulator of antigen-mediated receptor signaling and development. In this study, we report that Zap70 is expressed in undifferentiated mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) and may critically regulate self-renewal and pluripotency in mESCs. We found that Zap70 knocked-down mESCs (Zap70KD) show sustained self-renewal and defective differentiation. In addition, we present evidence that the sustained self-renewal in Zap70KD is associated with enhanced Jak/Stat3 signaling and c-Myc induction. These altered signaling appears to result from upregulated leukemia inhibitory factor receptor and downregulated src homology region 2 domain containing phosphatase 1 (SHP-1) phosphatase activity. On the basis of these results, we propose that in undifferentiated mESCs, Zap70 plays important roles in modulating the balance between self-renewal capacity and pluripotent differentiation ability as a key regulator of the Jak/Stat3/c-Myc signaling pathway. Stem Cells 2010; 28:1476–1486.