Analysis of Esg1 expression in pluripotent cells and the germline reveals similarities with Oct4 and Sox2 and differences between human pluripotent cell lines

Patrick Western, Joanna Maldonado-Saldivia, Jocelyn van den Bergen, Petra Hajkova, Mitinori Saitou, Sheila Barton, M Azim Surani
Stem Cells 2005, 23 (10): 1436-42
Establishment of pluripotent epiblast cells is a critical event during early mammalian development because all somatic lineages and the primordial germ cells (PGCs) are derived from them. The epiblast and PGCs are in turn the precursors of pluripotent embryonic stem cells and embryonic germ cells, respectively. Although PGCs are specialized cells, they express several key pluripotency-related genes, such as Oct4 and Sox2. We have analyzed Esg1 expression in mouse and human cells and shown that in the mouse the gene is specifically expressed in preimplantation embryos, stem cells, and the germline. Moreover, Esg1 coexpresses with Oct4 and Sox2, confirming its identity as a marker of the pluripotent cycle. Esg1 is also expressed with Oct4 and Sox2 by human embryonic stem cells and in germ cell carcinoma tissue but not by all human embryonal carcinoma cell lines. These data suggest that together with Oct4 and Sox2, Esg1 plays a conserved role in the pluripotent pathway of mouse and human stem and germ cells.

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