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Genes Dev. 2013 Sep 1;27(17):1932-46. doi: 10.1101/gad.220244.113.

Mutually exclusive signaling signatures define the hepatic and pancreatic progenitor cell lineage divergence.

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Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Basis of Embryonic Development.


Understanding how distinct cell types arise from multipotent progenitor cells is a major quest in stem cell biology. The liver and pancreas share many aspects of their early development and possibly originate from a common progenitor. However, how liver and pancreas cells diverge from a common endoderm progenitor population and adopt specific fates remains elusive. Using RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), we defined the molecular identity of liver and pancreas progenitors that were isolated from the mouse embryo at two time points, spanning the period when the lineage decision is made. The integration of temporal and spatial gene expression profiles unveiled mutually exclusive signaling signatures in hepatic and pancreatic progenitors. Importantly, we identified the noncanonical Wnt pathway as a potential developmental regulator of this fate decision and capable of inducing the pancreas program in endoderm and liver cells. Our study offers an unprecedented view of gene expression programs in liver and pancreas progenitors and forms the basis for formulating lineage-reprogramming strategies to convert adult hepatic cells into pancreatic cells.


RNA-seq; Wnt signaling; liver; mouse; pancreas

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