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Development. 2003 Jun;130(11):2505-12.

Involvement of Oct3/4 in the enhancement of neuronal differentiation of ES cells in neurogenesis-inducing cultures.

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Department of Cell Fate Modulation, Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, 860-0811, Japan.


Oct3/4 plays a critical role in maintaining embryonic stem cell pluripotency. Regulatable transgene-mediated sustained Oct3/4 expression in ES cells cultured in serum-free LIF-deficient medium caused accelerated differentiation to neuroectoderm-like cells that expressed Sox2, Otx1 and Emx2 and subsequently differentiated into neurons. Neurogenesis of ES cells is promoted by SDIA (stromal cell-derived inducing activity), which accumulates on the PA6 stromal cell surface. Oct3/4 expression in ES cells was maintained by SDIA whereas without it expression was promptly downregulated. Suppression of Oct3/4 abolished neuronal differentiation even after stimulation by SDIA. In contrast, sustained upregulated Oct3/4 expression enhanced SDIA-mediated neurogenesis of ES cells. Therefore, Oct3/4 appears to promote neuroectoderm formation and subsequent neuronal differentiation from ES cells.

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