Pluripotency

Pluripotency describes the ability of a cell to develop into the three primary germ cell layers of the early embryo and therefore into all cells of the adult body, but not extra-embryonic tissues such as the placenta. Embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells are characterised by their pluripotency.

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News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Embryonic stem cells derived from the inner cell mass can differentiate to all embryonic lineages of any adult cell type and to a limited extent to extra-embryonic tissues. A study now allows the generation of pig and human stem cells with enhanced differentiation potential towards all embryonic and extra-embryonic fates, one step closer to the totipotent state of the fertilized egg.

    • Fred Etoc
    •  & Ali Brivanlou
    Nature Cell Biology 21, 671-673
  • Research Highlights |

    A new study in Science reports the existence of a subpopulation of somatic cells from which ‘elite’ clones emerge that outperform other clones to drive reprogramming.

    • Linda Koch
  • Research Highlights |

    Unlike most organisms, planaria maintain pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) beyond embryogenesis. A new study reports the prospective identification and isolation of a neoblast subpopulation containing adult PSCs, characterization of which should help uncover the mechanisms underlying pluripotency and tissue regeneration.

    • Dorothy Clyde
  • News and Views |

    Brd4, a reader of histone acetylation, is a transcriptional co-activator implicated in the maintenance of embryonic stem cells (ESCs). A study now shows that Brd4 is dispensable in mouse ESCs maintained in ground state pluripotency, and that cooperative activity of Tet1/2 and ESC-specific transcription factors compensates for its loss.

    • Yaser Atlasi
    •  & Hendrik G. Stunnenberg
    Nature Cell Biology 20, 513-515