Chromatin organization and differentiation in embryonic stem cell models

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2007 Apr;17(2):132-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2007.02.012. Epub 2007 Mar 2.


Embryonic stem cells derived from mammalian embryos represent indispensable tools for mammalian genetics. Their key features--self-renewal and pluripotency--enable them, on the one hand, to be propagated in culture almost indefinitely and, on the other, to be used to study the molecular details of cell commitment and differentiation. In the past few years, it has become clear that chromatin and epigenetic modifications have a central role in maintaining the gene expression programs that are important for both self-renewal and cell commitment. Therefore, studies focused on the chromatin profiles of embryonic stem cells are likely to be very informative for understanding pluripotency and the process of differentiation, and ultimately for using embryonic stem cells as a tool for cell replacement therapy or as models for the study of genetic diseases, cancer progression or drug testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / physiology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*