Embryoid body formation of human amniotic fluid stem cells depends on mTOR

Oncogene. 2010 Feb 18;29(7):966-77. doi: 10.1038/onc.2009.405. Epub 2009 Nov 23.


Human amniotic fluid stem cells (hAFSCs) harbor high proliferative capacity and high differentiation potential and do not raise the ethical concerns associated with human embryonic stem cells. The formation of three-dimensional aggregates known as embryoid bodies (EBs) is the principal step in the differentiation of pluripotent embryonic stem cells. Using c-Kit-positive hAFSC lines, we show here that these stem cells harbor the potential to form EBs. As part of the two kinase complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is the key component of an important signaling pathway, which is involved in the regulation of cell proliferation, growth, tumor development and differentiation. Blocking intracellular mTOR activity through the inhibitor rapamycin or through specific small interfering RNA approaches revealed hAFSC EB formation to depend on mTORC1 and mTORC2. These findings demonstrate hAFSCs to be a new and powerful biological system to recapitulate the three-dimensional and tissue level contexts of in vivo development and identify the mTOR pathway to be essential for this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Aggregation
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proteins
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • CRTC2 protein, human
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • MTOR protein, human
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases