Pluripotency, Differentiation, and Reprogramming: A Gene Expression Dynamics Model with Epigenetic Feedback Regulation

PLoS Computational Biology
Tadashi MiyamotoKunihiko Kaneko


Embryonic stem cells exhibit pluripotency: they can differentiate into all types of somatic cells. Pluripotent genes such as Oct4 and Nanog are activated in the pluripotent state, and their expression decreases during cell differentiation. Inversely, expression of differentiation genes such as Gata6 and Gata4 is promoted during differentiation. The gene regulatory network controlling the expression of these genes has been described, and slower-scale epigenetic modifications have been uncovered. Although the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells is normally irreversible, reprogramming of cells can be experimentally manipulated to regain pluripotency via overexpression of certain genes. Despite these experimental advances, the dynamics and mechanisms of differentiation and reprogramming are not yet fully understood. Based on recent experimental findings, we constructed a simple gene regulatory network including pluripotent and differentiation genes, and we demonstrated the existence of pluripotent and differentiated states from the resultant dynamical-systems model. Two differentiation mechanisms, interaction-induced switching from an expression oscillatory state and noise-assisted transition between bistable stationary state...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Cell Differentiation Process
Computational Molecular Biology
Feedback, Biochemical
Pluripotent Stem Cells
Epigenesis, Genetic
Embryonic Stem Cells
Cellular Reprogramming
Gene Expression
SOX2 Transcription Factor

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