Pluripotency Deconstructed.

22 Feb 2018

Pluripotency denotes the flexible capacity of single cells to give rise to all somatic lineages and typically also the germline. Mouse ES cells and post-implantation epiblast-derived stem cells (EpiSC) are widely used pluripotent cell culture systems. These two in vitro stem cell types have divergent characteristics. They are considered as representative of distinct developmental stages, distinguished by using the terms "naïve" and "primed". A binary description is an over-simplification, however. Here, we discuss an intermediate stage of pluripotency that we term "formative". Formative pluripotency features a gene regulatory network switch from the naïve state and comprises capacitation of enhancers, signaling pathways and epigenetic machinery in order to install competence for lineage specification.