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Nat Cell Biol. 2013 Jan;15(1):113-22. doi: 10.1038/ncb2638. Epub 2012 Dec 16.

The ontogeny of cKIT+ human primordial germ cells proves to be a resource for human germ line reprogramming, imprint erasure and in vitro differentiation.

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1
Department of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.

Abstract

The generation of research-quality, clinically relevant cell types in vitro from human pluripotent stem cells requires a detailed understanding of the equivalent human cell types. Here we analysed 134 human embryonic and fetal samples from 6 to 20 developmental weeks and identified the stages at which cKIT(+) primordial germ cells (PGCs), the precursors of gametes, undergo whole-genome epigenetic reprogramming with global depletion of 5mC, H3K27me3 and H2A.Z, and the time at which imprint erasure is initiated and 5hmC is present. Using five alternative in vitro differentiation strategies combined with single-cell microfluidic analysis and a bona fide human cKIT(+) PGC signature, we show the stage of cKIT(+) PGC formation in the first 16 days of differentiation. Taken together, our study creates a resource of human germ line ontogeny that is essential for future studies aimed at in vitro differentiation and unveiling the mechanisms necessary to pass human DNA from one generation to the next.

PMID:
23242216
PMCID:
PMC3786872
DOI:
10.1038/ncb2638
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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