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Development. 2007 Feb;134(4):635-46. Epub 2007 Jan 10.

How is pluripotency determined and maintained?

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  • 1RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB Laboratory for Development and Regenerative Medicine, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, 7-5-1 Kusunokicho, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 6500017, Japan.


Mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells are pluripotent, as they have the ability to differentiate into the various cell types of a vertebrate embryo. Pluripotency is a property of the inner cell mass (ICM), from which mouse ES cells are derived, and of the epiblast of the blastocyst. Recent extensive molecular studies of mouse ES cells have revealed the unique molecular mechanisms that govern pluripotency. These studies show that ES cells continue to self-renew because of a self-organizing network of transcription factors that prevents their differentiation and promotes their proliferation, and because of epigenetic processes that might be under the control of the pluripotent transcription factor network.

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