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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The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2019)
BMC Developmental Biology (2019)
Current Medicinal Chemistry (2019)
Current Stem Cell Reports (2019)
Stem Cell Reports (2019)