Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are able to self-renew indefinitely and to differentiate into all adult cell types. hPSCs therefore show potential for application to drug screening, disease modelling and cellular therapies. In order to meet this potential, culture conditions must be developed that are consistent, defined, scalable, free of animal products and that facilitate stable self-renewal of hPSCs. Several culture surfaces have recently been reported to meet many of these criteria although none of them have been widely implemented by the stem cell community due to issues with validation, reliability and expense. Most hPSC culture surfaces have been derived from extracellular matrix proteins (ECMPs) and their cell adhesion molecule (CAM) binding motifs. Elucidating the CAM-mediated cell-surface interactions that are essential for the in vitro maintenance of pluripotency will facilitate the optimisation of hPSC culture surfaces. Reports indicate that hPSC cultures can be supported by cell-surface interactions through certain CAM subtypes but not by others. This review summarises the recent reports of defined surfaces for hPSC culture and focuses on the CAMs and ECMPs involved.
- Cell adhesion molecules
- Human embryonic stem cells
- Induced pluripotent stem cells