Phosphatidylinositide 3 kinases (PI3Ks) and their downstream mediators AKT and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) constitute the core components of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signalling cascade, regulating cell proliferation, survival and metabolism. Although these functions are well-defined in the context of tumorigenesis, recent studies – in particular those using pluripotent stem cells – have highlighted the importance of this pathway to development and cellular differentiation. Here, we review the recent in vitro and in vivo evidence for the role PI3K/AKT/mTOR signalling plays in the control of pluripotency and differentiation, with a particular focus on the molecular mechanisms underlying these functions.
The authors declare no competing or financial interests.
This work was supported by UK Medical Research Council; and Genesis Research Trust.