Bioprobes pp 11-35 | Cite as

Cell Proliferation and Differentiation

  • Nobumoto WatanabeEmail author
  • Hiroyuki Osada


Cell proliferation and differentiation are highly coordinated by cellular regulatory proteins. These proteins receive and transduce signals from external and internal stimuli and determine cell fate accordingly. When one or more of these strict control systems are impaired, cells begin to grow disorderly and become malignant. Even in normal development, these systems regulate the capacity for differentiation—i.e., pluripotency—and modulate cell differentiation. The artificial induction of factors that are essential for pluripotency has recently been shown to render differentiated cells undifferentiated.

In this chapter, several essential systems for cell proliferation and differentiation are described, as are recently identified small molecules that regulate them. Small molecules that inhibit the activity of factors that mediate malignant tumor cell growth can be exploited for cancer therapy. Small molecules also render cells undifferentiated. In addition, there are many small molecules that regulate the activity of cellular regulatory proteins and can be valuable tools to study the signaling systems in growth and differentiation—i.e., bioprobes.


Cell growth Cell cycle Protein kinase Small molecule Signal transduction Protein phosphorylation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bio-Active Compounds Discovery Research UnitRIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource ScienceWakoJapan
  2. 2.Chemical Biology Research GroupRIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource ScienceWakoJapan

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