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During gastrulation, epiblast cells are pluripotent and their fate is thought to be constrained principally by their position. Cell fate is progressively restricted by localised signalling cues from areas including the primitive streak. However, it is unknown whether this restriction accompanies, at the individual cell level, a reduction in potency.(More)
Embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal efficiency is determined by the level of Nanog expression. However, the mechanisms by which Nanog functions remain unclear, and in particular, direct Nanog target genes are uncharacterized. Here we investigate ESCs expressing different Nanog levels and Nanog(-/-) cells with distinct functionally inducible Nanog(More)
Chimera formation after blastocyst injection or morula aggregation is the principal functional assay of the developmental potential of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs). This property, which demonstrates functional equivalence between ESCs and the preimplantation epiblast, is not shared by epiblast stem cell (EpiSC) lines. Here, we show that EpiSCs derived(More)
Embryonic stem cell (ESC) pluripotency is governed by a gene regulatory network centered on the transcription factors Oct4 and Nanog. To date, robust self-renewing ESC states have only been obtained through the chemical inhibition of signaling pathways or enforced transgene expression. Here, we show that ESCs with reduced Oct4 expression resulting from(More)
Robust development of the early embryo may benefit from mechanisms that ensure that not all pluripotent cells differentiate at exactly the same time: such mechanisms would build flexibility into the process of lineage allocation. This idea is supported by the observation that pluripotent stem cells differentiate at different rates in vitro. We use a clonal(More)
The transcription factors Nanog and Oct4 regulate pluripotency in the pre-implantation epiblast and in derivative embryonic stem cells. During post-implantation development, the precise timing and mechanism of the loss of pluripotency is unknown. Here, we show that in the mouse, pluripotency is extinguished at the onset of somitogenesis, coincident with(More)
NANOG, OCT4 and SOX2 form the core network of transcription factors supporting embryonic stem (ES) cell self-renewal. While OCT4 and SOX2 expression is relatively uniform, ES cells fluctuate between states of high NANOG expression possessing high self-renewal efficiency, and low NANOG expression exhibiting increased differentiation propensity. NANOG, OCT4(More)
Stem cells are defined by the simultaneous possession of the seemingly incongruent properties of self-renewal and multi-lineage differentiation potential. To maintain a stem cell population, these opposing forces must be balanced. Transcription factors that function to direct pluripotent cell identity are not all equally distributed throughout the(More)
Pluripotency is a property that early embryonic cells possess over a considerable developmental time span. Accordingly, pluripotent cell lines can be established from the pre-implantation or post-implantation mouse embryo as embryonic stem (ES) or epiblast stem (EpiSC) cell lines, respectively. Maintenance of the pluripotent phenotype depends on the(More)
Primordial germ cell (PGC) development is characterized by global epigenetic remodeling, which resets genomic potential and establishes an epigenetic ground state. Here we recapitulate PGC specification in vitro from naive embryonic stem cells and characterize the early events of epigenetic reprogramming during the formation of the human and mouse germline.(More)