Capturing pluripotency

Cell. 2008 Feb 22;132(4):532-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.02.006.


In this Essay, we argue that pluripotent epiblast founder cells in the embryo and embryonic stem (ES) cells in culture represent the ground state for a mammalian cell, signified by freedom from developmental specification or epigenetic restriction and capacity for autonomous self-replication. We speculate that cell-to-cell variation may be integral to the ES cell condition, safe-guarding self-renewal while continually presenting opportunities for lineage specification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases