Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 2017 Oct 5;550(7674):67-73. doi: 10.1038/nature24033. Epub 2017 Sep 20.

Genome editing reveals a role for OCT4 in human embryogenesis.

Author information

Human Embryo and Stem Cell Laboratory, The Francis Crick Institute, 1 Midland Road, London NW1 1AT, UK.
NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre hIPSC Core Facility, Department of Surgery, University of Cambridge, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge CB2 0SZ, UK.
Sex Chromosome Biology Laboratory, The Francis Crick Institute, London NW1 1AT, UK.
Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK.
Bourn Hall Clinic, Bourn, Cambridge CB23 2TN, UK.
Department of Chemistry, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-747, South Korea.
Bioinformatics Facility, The Francis Crick Institute, London NW1 1AT, UK.
Center for Genome Engineering, Institute for Basic Science, Daejeon 34047, South Korea.
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK.
Wellcome Trust and MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute and Biomedical Research Centre, Anne McLaren Laboratory, Department of Surgery, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 0SZ, UK.


Despite their fundamental biological and clinical importance, the molecular mechanisms that regulate the first cell fate decisions in the human embryo are not well understood. Here we use CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing to investigate the function of the pluripotency transcription factor OCT4 during human embryogenesis. We identified an efficient OCT4-targeting guide RNA using an inducible human embryonic stem cell-based system and microinjection of mouse zygotes. Using these refined methods, we efficiently and specifically targeted the gene encoding OCT4 (POU5F1) in diploid human zygotes and found that blastocyst development was compromised. Transcriptomics analysis revealed that, in POU5F1-null cells, gene expression was downregulated not only for extra-embryonic trophectoderm genes, such as CDX2, but also for regulators of the pluripotent epiblast, including NANOG. By contrast, Pou5f1-null mouse embryos maintained the expression of orthologous genes, and blastocyst development was established, but maintenance was compromised. We conclude that CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing is a powerful method for investigating gene function in the context of human development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center