Embryonic stem (ES) cells are pluripotent cells derived from the inner cell mass of blastocyst stage embryos. These cells possess two unique characteristics: an indefinite self-renewal capacity and pluripotency, the ability to differentiate to cells from the three germ layers. Both human and mouse ES cells are currently at the center of intensive research. One of the burning issues in this research is the way in which these cells remain undifferentiated and maintain their pluripotency. In the past years, data has accumulated concerning the pathways responsible for the unique phenotype of these cells, in both human and mouse. This paper will review the main extrinsic factors and intrinsic transcriptional pathways currently implicated in the self-renewal and pluripotency of ES cells.
|Number of pages
|Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology
|Published - 2006