Targeting RNA helicase DDX3 in stem cell maintenance and teratoma formation

Candace L. Kerr, Guus M. Bol, Farhad Vesuna, Venu Raman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


DDX3 is an RNA helicase that has antiapoptotic properties, and promotes proliferation and transformation. Besides the role of DDX3 in transformed cells, there is evidence to indicate that DDX3 expression is at its highest levels during early embryonic development and is also expressed in germ cells of adults. Even though there is a distinct pattern of DDX3 expression during embryonic development and in adults, very little is known regarding its role in embryonic stem cells and pluripotency. In this work, we examined the relationship between DDX3 and human embryonic stem cells and its differentiated lineages. DDX3 expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in human embryonic stem cells and embryonal carcinoma cells. From the data obtained, it was evident that DDX3 was overexpressed in undifferentiated stem cells compared to differentiated cells. Moreover, when DDX3 expression was abrogated in multiple stem cells, proliferation was decreased, but differentiation was facilitated. Importantly, this resulted in reduced potency to induce teratoma formation. Taken together, these findings indicate a distinct role for DDX3 in stem cell maintenance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalGenes and Cancer
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2019


  • DDX3
  • Differentiation
  • RK-33
  • Stem cells
  • Teratoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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