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Dev Biol. 2005 Oct 15;286(2):574-86. Epub 2005 Sep 12.

Perception of differentiation cues by GATA factors in primitive endoderm lineage determination of mouse embryonic stem cells.

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Ovarian Cancer and Tumor Cell Biology Programs, Department of Medical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497, USA.


The formation of the primitive endoderm covering the inner cell mass of early mouse embryos can be simulated in vitro by the differentiation of mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells in culture following either aggregation of suspended cells or stimulation of cell monolayers with retinoic acid. The developmentally regulated transcription factors GATA-4 and GATA-6 have determining role in mouse extraembryonic endoderm development. We analyzed the in vitro differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells deficient of GATA factors and conclude that GATA-4 is required for ES cells to perceive a cell positioning (cell aggregation) signal and GATA-6 is required to sense morphogenic (retinoic acid) signal. The collaboration between GATA-6 and GATA-4, or GATA-6 and GATA-5 which can substitute for GATA-4, is involved in the perception of differentiation cues by embryonic stem cells in their determination of endoderm lineage. This study indicates that the lineage differentiation of ES cells can be manipulated by the expression of GATA factors.

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