Krüppel-like factors in mammalian stem cells and development

Development. 2017 Mar 1;144(5):737-754. doi: 10.1242/dev.145441.


Krüppel-like factors (KLFs) are a family of zinc-finger transcription factors that are found in many species. Recent studies have shown that KLFs play a fundamental role in regulating diverse biological processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, development and regeneration. Of note, several KLFs are also crucial for maintaining pluripotency and, hence, have been linked to reprogramming and regenerative medicine approaches. Here, we review the crucial functions of KLFs in mammalian embryogenesis, stem cell biology and regeneration, as revealed by studies of animal models. We also highlight how KLFs have been implicated in human diseases and outline potential avenues for future research.

Keywords: Cellular regeneration; Human disease; Krüppel-like factors; Mammalian development; Stem cells.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Lung / embryology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Phylogeny
  • Regeneration
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Zinc Fingers


  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors