The Francis Crick Institute
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Mammalian embryo comparison identifies novel pluripotency genes associated with the naïve or primed state

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-07-01, 11:25 authored by Andreia S Bernardo, Alice Jouneau, Hendrik Marks, Philip Kensche, Julianna Kobolak, Kristine Freude, Vanessa Hall, Anita Feher, Zsuzsanna Polgar, Chiara Sartori, Istvan Bock, Claire Louet, Tiago Faial, Hindrik HD Kerstens, Camille Bouissou, Gregory Parsonage, Kaveh Mashayekhi, James C Smith, Giovanna Lazzari, Poul Hyttel, Hendrik G Stunnenberg, Martijn Huynen, Roger A Pedersen, Andras Dinnyes
During early mammalian development, transient pools of pluripotent cells emerge that can be immortalised upon stem cell derivation. The pluripotent state, 'naïve' or 'primed', depends on the embryonic stage and derivation conditions used. Here we analyse the temporal gene expression patterns of mouse, cattle and porcine embryos at stages that harbour different types of pluripotent cells. We document conserved and divergent traits in gene expression, and identify predictor genes shared across the species that are associated with pluripotent states in vivo and in vitro Amongst these are the pluripotency-linked genes Klf4 and Lin28b The novel genes discovered include naïve- (Spic, Scpep1 and Gjb5) and primed-associated (Sema6a and Jakmip2) genes as well as naïve to primed transition genes (Dusp6 and Trip6). Both Gjb5 and Dusp6 play a role in pluripotency since their knockdown results in differentiation and downregulation of key pluripotency genes. Our interspecies comparison revealed new insights of pluripotency, pluripotent stem cell identity and a new molecular criterion for distinguishing between pluripotent states in various species, including human.