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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.
- Embryonic stem cell (ESC)
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- 1 Finished
1/06/11 → 31/05/14