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Biol Chem. 2008 Jul;389(7):897-903. doi: 10.1515/BC.2008.108.

The WNT receptor FZD7 contributes to self-renewal signaling of human embryonic stem cells.

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Leukemia Research Program, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA.


A number of recent studies identified nuclear factors that together have the unique ability to induce pluripotency in differentiated cell types. However, little is known about the factors that are needed to maintain human embryonic stem (ES) cells in an undifferentiated state. In a search for such requirements, we performed a comprehensive meta-analysis of publicly available SAGE and microarray data. The rationale for this analysis was to identify genes that are exclusively expressed in human ES cell lines compared to 30 differentiated tissue types. The WNT receptor FZD7 was found among the genes with an ES cell-specific expression profile in both SAGE and microarray analyses. Subsequent validation by quantitative RT-PCR and flow cytometry confirmed that FZD7 mRNA levels in human ES cells are up to 200-fold higher compared to differentiated cell types. ShRNA-mediated knockdown of FZD7 in human ES cells induced dramatic changes in the morphology of ES cell colonies, perturbation of expression levels of germ layer-specific marker genes, and a rapid loss of expression of the ES cell-specific transcription factor OCT4. These findings identify the WNT receptor FZD7 as a novel ES cell-specific surface antigen with a likely important role in the maintenance of ES cell self-renewal capacity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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