Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology

Maintenance of pluripotential embryonic stem cells by stem cell selection

Peter Mountford, Jennifer Nichols, Branko Zevnik, Carmel O'Brien and Austin Smith

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 10(8) 527 - 534
Published: 1998


As gastrulation proceeds, pluripotential stem cells with the capacity to contribute to all primary germ layers disappear from the mammalian embryo. The extinction of pluripotency also occurs during the formation of embryoid bodies from embryonic stem (ES) cells. In this report we show that if the initial differentiated progeny are removed from ES cell aggregates, further differentiation does not proceed and the stem cell population persists and expands. Significantly, the presence of even minor populations of differentiated cells lead to the complete loss of stem cells from the cultures. This finding implies that the normal elimination of pluripotent cells is dictated by inductive signals provided by differentiated progeny. We have exploited this observation to develop a strategy for the isolation of pluripotential cells. This approach, termed stem cell selection, may have widespread applicability to the derivation and propagation of stem cells.

Keywords: differentiation, gastrulation, pluripotent.

© CSIRO 1998

Export Citation