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Activin/Nodal growth factors control a broad range of biological processes, including early cell fate decisions, organogenesis and adult tissue homeostasis. Here, we provide an overview of the mechanisms by which the Activin/Nodal signalling pathway governs stem cell function in these different stages of development. We describe recent findings that associate Activin/Nodal signalling to pathological conditions, focusing on cancer stem cells in tumorigenesis and its potential as a target for therapies. Moreover, we will discuss future directions and questions that currently remain unanswered on the role of Activin/Nodal signalling in stem cell self-renewal, differentiation and proliferation.

Original publication

DOI

10.1242/dev.091769

Type

Journal article

Journal

Development

Publication Date

15/02/2015

Volume

142

Pages

607 - 619

Keywords

Activin, Cell cycle, Differentiation, Nodal, Pluripotency, Stem cells, Activins, Animals, Cell Differentiation, Humans, Nodal Protein, Pluripotent Stem Cells, Signal Transduction, Stem Cells