Plasticity in energy metabolism allows stem cells to match the divergent demands of self-renewal and lineage specification. Beyond a role in energetic support, new evidence implicates nutrient-responsive metabolites as mediators of crosstalk between metabolic flux, cellular signaling, and epigenetic regulation of cell fate. Stem cell metabolism also offers a potential target for controlling tissue homeostasis and regeneration in aging and disease. In this Perspective, we cover recent progress establishing an emerging relationship between stem cell metabolism and cell fate control.
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