Research Papers:

The expression pattern of PFKFB3 enzyme distinguishes between induced-pluripotent stem cells and cancer stem cells

Artur Cieślar-Pobuda, Mayur Vilas Jain, Gunnar Kratz, Joanna Rzeszowska-Wolny, Saeid Ghavami and Emilia Wiechec _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:29753-29770. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4995

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Artur Cieślar-Pobuda1,2,3, Mayur Vilas Jain1, Gunnar Kratz2,4,5, Joanna Rzeszowska-Wolny3, Saeid Ghavami6, Emilia Wiechec1,2

1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Cell Biology, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

2Integrative Regenerative Medicine Center (IGEN), Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

3Institute of Automatic Control, Silesian University of Technology, Akademicka 16, Gliwice, Poland

4Experimental Plastic Surgery, IKE, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

5Department of Plastic Surgery, County of Östergötland, Linköping, Sweden

6Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science, University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada

Correspondence to:

Emilia Wiechec, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: cancer stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, PFKFB3, PFK1, R-point

Received: February 19, 2015     Accepted: August 03, 2015     Published: August 13, 2015


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) have become crucial in medicine and biology. Several studies indicate their phenotypic similarities with cancer stem cells (CSCs) and a propensity to form tumors. Thus it is desirable to identify a trait which differentiates iPS populations and CSCs. Searching for such a feature, in this work we compare the restriction (R) point-governed regulation of cell cycle progression in different cell types (iPS, cancer, CSC and normal cells) based on the expression profile of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase3 (PFKFB3) and phosphofructokinase (PFK1). Our study reveals that PFKFB3 and PFK1 expression allows discrimination between iPS and CSCs. Moreover, cancer and iPS cells, when cultured under hypoxic conditions, alter their expression level of PFKFB3 and PFK1 to resemble those in CSCs. We also observed cell type-related differences in response to inhibition of PFKFB3. This possibility to distinguish CSC from iPS cells or non-stem cancer cells by PFKB3 and PFK1 expression improves the outlook for clinical application of stem cell-based therapies and for more precise detection of CSCs.

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