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Mouse embryonic stem cells resist c-Jun induced differentiation when in suspension

Bo Wang, Dongwei Li, Jiekai Chen, Jing Liu, Duanqing Pei
Cell Regeneration 2018, 7 (1): 16-21
The oncogene c-Jun plays a key role in development and cancer. Yet, its role in cell fate decision remains poorly understood at the molecular level. Here we report that c-Jun confers different fate decisions upon mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) in adhesion vs suspension culture. We developed a Tet-on system for temporal induction of c-Jun expression by Doxycycline treatment in mESCs. We show that mESCs carrying the inducible c-Jun TetOn remain pluripotent and grow slowly in suspension when c-Jun expression is induced, whilst when the cells adhere they undergo differentiation and show normal proliferative potential upon c-Jun induction. Our data indicates that c-Jun pushes mESCs in suspension into cell cycle arrest at G1/S, by activating the cell cycle inhibitors Cdkn1a/b and Cdkn2/a/b/c. Despite this cell cycle arrest, they can still re-enter the cell cycle upon transfer to an adhesive surface, and grow into typical mESC colonies, albeit at a lower efficiency. These results demonstrate that mESCs respond to induced c-Jun overexpression differently in suspension or adherent cultures. Our results suggest that cells in suspension may be more resistant to differentiation than when they adhere.


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