SAITOU Totipotent Epigenome

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Research Director: Mitinori SAITOU
Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University
Research Term: Oct 2011 - Mar 2017
Special Extention Period: Apr 2017 - Mar 2018
Grant Number: JPMJER1104


The spermatozoa, oocytes, and their precursors are referred to as germ cells. In multicellular organisms, the germ cell lineage ensures the transmission of genetic and epigenetic information to the successive generations, and creates the diversity of such information among/within species.

This project aimed at understanding the mechanism of germ-cell development in mice and a primate model, cynomolgus monkeys. Based on the knowledge obtained, the project also aimed at reconstituting the germ-cell development using pluripotent stem cells of mice, monkeys, and humans as starting materials.

The key achievements include: 1) the induction of mouse primordial germ cell-like cells (mPGCLCs) from mESCs/iPSCs and the generation of spermatozoa, oocytes, and offspring from mPGCLCs (Cell, 2011; Science, 2012; Cell Rep., 2016), 2) the clarification of the mechanism for signaling, transcription, and epigenetic regulation of mouse PGC(LC)s (EMBO J, 2013; Cell Stem Cell, 2013; Nature, 2013; Dev. Cell, 2013; Cell Stem Cell, 2015; Dev. Cell, 2016), 3) the induction of human PGCLCs from hiPSCs (Cell Stem Cell, 2015), 4) the analysis of the mechanism of early development of cynomolgus monkeys, and the identification of a developmental coordinate of the spectrum of pluripotency in mice, monkeys, and humans (Nature, 2016), and 5) the clarification of the specification of cynomolgus monkey PGCs (Dev. Cell, 2016).



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