Embryoid body formation of human amniotic fluid stem cells depends on mTOR

A. Valli, M. Rosner, C. Fuchs, N. Siegel, C. E. Bishop, H. Dolznig, U. Mädel, W. Feichtinger, A. Atala, M. Hengstschläger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Human amniotic fluid stem cells (hAFSCs) harbor high proliferative capacity and high differentiation potential and do not raise the ethical concerns associated with human embryonic stem cells. The formation of three-dimensional aggregates known as embryoid bodies (EBs) is the principal step in the differentiation of pluripotent embryonic stem cells. Using c-Kit-positive hAFSC lines, we show here that these stem cells harbor the potential to form EBs. As part of the two kinase complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is the key component of an important signaling pathway, which is involved in the regulation of cell proliferation, growth, tumor development and differentiation. Blocking intracellular mTOR activity through the inhibitor rapamycin or through specific small interfering RNA approaches revealed hAFSC EB formation to depend on mTORC1 and mTORC2. These findings demonstrate hAFSCs to be a new and powerful biological system to recapitulate the three-dimensional and tissue level contexts of in vivo development and identify the mTOR pathway to be essential for this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)966-977
Number of pages12
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Amniotic fluid
  • EB
  • MTOR
  • Stem cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics


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