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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 729281, 9 pages
Research Article

αVβ5 and CD44 Are Oxygen-Regulated Human Embryonic Stem Cell Attachment Factors

Guy Hilton Research Centre, Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine, University of Keele, Thornburrow Drive, Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 7QB, UK

Received 29 April 2013; Revised 19 September 2013; Accepted 4 October 2013

Academic Editor: Louise E. Glover

Copyright © 2013 Deepak Kumar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have great potential for clinical therapeutic use. However, relatively little is known of the mechanisms which dictate their specificity of adhesion to substrates through adhesion proteins including integrins. Previous observations demonstrated enhanced clonogenicity in reduced oxygen culture systems. Here, we demonstrated via antibody blocking experiments that αVβ5 and α6 significantly promoted hESC attachment in 2% O2 only, whereas blockage of CD44 inhibited cell attachment in 21% O2 alone. Immunofluorescence confirmed expression of αVβ5 and CD44 in both 2% O2 and 21% O2 cultured hESCs while flow cytometry revealed significantly higher αVβ5 expression in 2% O2 versus 21% O2 cultured hESCs and higher CD44 expression in 21% O2 versus 2% O2 cultured hESCs. Adhered hESCs following blockage of αVβ5 in 2% O2 displayed a reduction in nuclear colocalisation of Oct-4 and Nanog with little effect observed in 21% O2. Blockage of CD44 had the converse effect with dramatic reductions in nuclear colocalisation of Oct-4 and Nanog in 21% O2 cultured hESC which retained adherence, but not in 2% O2 cultured cells. Identification of oxygen-dependent substrate attachment mechanisms in hESCs has the potential to play a role in the development of novel substrates to improve hESC attachment and culture.