Transcription factor heterogeneity in pluripotent stem cells: A stochastic advantage

Maria Elena Torres-Padilla*, Ian Chambers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

When pluripotent cells are exposed to a uniform culture environment they routinely display heterogeneous gene expression. Aspects of this heterogeneity, such as Nanog expression, are linked to differences in the propensity of individual cells to either self-renew or commit towards differentiation. Recent findings have provided new insight into the underlying causes of this heterogeneity, which we summarise here using Nanog, a key regulator of pluripotency, as a model gene. We discuss the role of transcription factor heterogeneity in facilitating the intrinsically dynamic and stochastic nature of the pluripotency network, which in turn provides a potential benefit to a population of cells that needs to balance cell fate decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2173-2181
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopment
Volume141
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Embryonic stem cell (ESC)
  • Epiblast
  • Heterogeneity
  • Monoallelic
  • Pluripotency
  • Transcription

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