JAK-STAT signaling in stem cells

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;786:247-67. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-6621-1_14.


Adult stem cells are essential for the regeneration and repair of tissues in an organism. Signals from many different pathways converge to regulate stem cell maintenance and differentiation while preventing overproliferation. Although each population of adult stem cells is unique, common themes arise by comparing the regulation of various stem cell types in an organism or by comparing similar stem cell types across species. The JAK-STAT signaling pathway, identified nearly two decades ago, is now known to be involved in many biological processes including the regulation of stem cells. Studies in Drosophila first implicated JAK-STAT signaling in the control of stem cell maintenance in the male germline stem cell microenvironment, or niche; subsequently it has been shown play a role in other niches in both Drosophila and mammals. In this chapter, we will address the role of JAK-STAT signaling in stem cells in the germline, intestinal, hematopoietic and neuronal niches in Drosophila as well as the hematopoietic and neuronal niches in mammals. We will comment on how the study of JAK-STAT signaling in invertebrate systems has helped to advance our understanding of signaling in vertebrates. In addition to the role of JAK- STAT signaling in stem cell niche homeostasis, we will also discuss the diseases, including cancers, that can arise when this pathway is misregulated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells / cytology
  • Adult Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Germ Cells / cytology
  • Germ Cells / metabolism*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Janus Kinases / genetics*
  • Janus Kinases / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • STAT Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • STAT Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cell Niche


  • STAT Transcription Factors
  • Janus Kinases