Metastable pluripotent states in NOD-mouse-derived ESCs

Cell Stem Cell. 2009 Jun 5;4(6):513-24. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2009.04.015. Epub 2009 May 7.


Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are isolated from the inner cell mass (ICM) of blastocysts, whereas epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs) are derived from the postimplantation epiblast and display a restricted developmental potential. Here we characterize pluripotent states in the nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse strain, which prior to this study was considered "nonpermissive" for ESC derivation. We find that NOD stem cells can be stabilized by providing constitutive expression of Klf4 or c-Myc or small molecules that can replace these factors during in vitro reprogramming. The NOD ESCs and iPSCs appear to be "metastable," as they acquire an alternative EpiSC-like identity after removal of the exogenous factors, while their reintroduction converts the cells back to ICM-like pluripotency. Our findings suggest that stem cells from different genetic backgrounds can assume distinct states of pluripotency in vitro, the stability of which is regulated by endogenous genetic determinants and can be modified by exogenous factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Dedifferentiation
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Germ Layers / cytology
  • Hemostasis*
  • Kruppel-Like Factor 4
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / genetics


  • Klf4 protein, mouse
  • Kruppel-Like Factor 4
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Myc protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE15603