Extrinsic regulation of pluripotent stem cells

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Abstract

During early mammalian development, as the pluripotent cells that give rise to all of the tissues of the body proliferate and expand in number, they pass through transition states marked by a stepwise restriction in developmental potential and by changes in the expression of key regulatory genes. Recent findings show that cultured stem-cell lines derived from different stages of mouse development can mimic these transition states. They further reveal that there is a high degree of heterogeneity and plasticity in pluripotent populations in vitro and that these properties are modulated by extrinsic signalling. Understanding the extrinsic control of plasticity will guide efforts to use human pluripotent stem cells in research and therapy.

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Figure 1: Stem-cell types derived from mouse embryos around the time of implantation.
Figure 2: Extrinsic signals that affect self-renewal, differentiation and viability of human ES cells.
Figure 3: Interconversion of mouse embryo-derived stem-cell types.

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Correspondence to Martin F. Pera or Patrick P. L. Tam.

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