Developmental fate of embryonic germ cells (EGCs), in vivo and in vitro

Differentiation. 2003 Mar;71(2):135-41. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-0436.2003.710204.x.


Embryonic germ cells (EGCs) derived from mouse primordial germ cells (PGCs) are known both to colonize all cell lineages of the fetus and to make tumors in vivo. When aggregated with eight-cell embryos, EGCs from a new EGC line expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) were found to contribute preferentially to the epiblast but unexpectedly were also capable of colonizing primary endoderm. When injected under the kidney capsule, EGCs derived from 12.5 days post coitum (dpc) PGCs formed differentiated tumors. The ability of EGCs to differentiate in an organ culture system depends upon their partners in cell culture. When EGCs, marked with a LacZ transgene, were mixed with disaggregated and reaggregated mouse fetal lung in an organ culture system, they remained undifferentiated. In urogenital ridge reaggregates on the other hand, some EGCs were capable of differentiating to form small epithelial cysts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chimera / physiology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / physiology
  • Genes, Reporter / physiology
  • Germ Cells / growth & development*
  • Mice