Navigating the epigenetic landscape of pluripotent stem cells

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Jul 23;13(8):524-35. doi: 10.1038/nrm3393.


Pluripotent stem cells, which include embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, use a complex network of genetic and epigenetic pathways to maintain a delicate balance between self-renewal and multilineage differentiation. Recently developed high-throughput genomic tools greatly facilitate the study of epigenetic regulation in pluripotent stem cells. Increasing evidence suggests the existence of extensive crosstalk among epigenetic pathways that modify DNA, histones and nucleosomes. Novel methods of mapping higher-order chromatin structure and chromatin-nuclear matrix interactions also provide the first insight into the three-dimensional organization of the genome and a framework in which existing genomic data of epigenetic regulation can be integrated to discover new rules of gene regulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Chromatin* / chemistry
  • Chromatin* / genetics
  • DNA Methylation / genetics
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genome
  • Heterochromatin / genetics
  • Histones / genetics
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Lamina / genetics
  • Nucleosomes / genetics


  • Chromatin
  • Heterochromatin
  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes