The Francis Crick Institute
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Determining the potency of primordial germ cells by injection into early mouse embryos.

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-04-11, 10:16 authored by Lessly P Sepulveda-Rincon, Yi-Fang Wang, Chad Whilding, Benjamin Moyon, Obah A Ojarikre, Valdone Maciulyte, Nobuhiko Hamazaki, Katsuhiko Hayashi, James MA Turner, Harry G Leitch
Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are the earliest precursors of the gametes. During normal development, PGCs only give rise to oocytes or spermatozoa. However, PGCs can acquire pluripotency in vitro by forming embryonic germ (EG) cells and in vivo during teratocarcinogenesis. Classic embryological experiments directly assessed the potency of PGCs by injection into the pre-implantation embryo. As no contribution to embryos or adult mice was observed, PGCs have been described as unipotent. Here, we demonstrate that PGCs injected into 8-cell embryos can initially survive, divide, and contribute to the developing inner cell mass. Apoptosis-deficient PGCs exhibit improved survival in isolated epiblasts and can form naive pluripotent embryonic stem cell lines. However, contribution to the post-implantation embryo is limited, with no functional incorporation observed. In contrast, PGC-like cells show an extensive contribution to mid-gestation chimeras. We thus propose that PGC formation in vivo establishes a latent form of pluripotency that restricts chimera contribution.


Crick (Grant ID: CC2052, Grant title: Turner CC2052) Wellcome Trust (Grant ID: 222535/Z/21/Z, Grant title: WT 222535/Z/21/Z)