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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e45220. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045220. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

E-cadherin promotes incorporation of mouse epiblast stem cells into normal development.

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Pluripotent Stem Cell Studies, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB), Kobe, Japan.


Mouse epiblast stem cells (mEpiSCs) are pluripotent stem cells derived from epiblasts of postimplantation mouse embryos. Their pluripotency is distinct from that of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) in several cell biological criteria. One of the distinctions is that mEpiSCs contribute either not at all or at much lower efficiency to chimeric embryos after blastocyst injection compared to mESCs. However, here we showed that mEpiSCs can be incorporated into normal development after blastocyst injection by forced expression of the E-cadherin transgene for 2 days in culture. Using this strategy, mEpiSCs gave rise to live-born chimeras from 5% of the manipulated blastocysts. There were no obvious signs of reprogramming of mEpiSCs toward the mESC-like state during the 2 days after induction of the E-cadherin transgene, suggesting that mEpiSCs possess latent ability to integrate into the normal developmental process as its origin, epiblasts.

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