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FEBS Lett. 2007 Nov 13;581(27):5247-54. Epub 2007 Oct 15.

Beta-catenin signaling contributes to stemness and regulates early differentiation in murine embryonic stem cells.

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Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Ulm University, D-89069 Ulm, Germany.


ES cells can self-renew while preserving pluripotency and are able to differentiate into many cell types. In both processes, different signal transduction pathways are implicated, including the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway, which we here further analyzed. We found that a loss of beta-catenin in ES cells leads to altered expression of stem cell marker genes. TCF/beta-catenin reporter gene assays indicate that undifferentiated murine ES cells are capable of reacting to LiCl and Wnt3a but not Wnt5a stimulation, but have low endogenous TCF/beta-catenin activity. Oct-3/4, nanog and Wnt11 were able to repress TCF/beta-catenin transcriptional activity. During differentiation, activation of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway influences formation of mesoderm and cardiomyocytes in a time and dose dependent manner.

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