Spatial stochastic modelling of the Hes1 gene regulatory network: intrinsic noise can explain heterogeneity in embryonic stem cell differentiation

J R Soc Interface. 2013 Jan 16;10(80):20120988. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2012.0988. Print 2013 Mar 6.


Individual mouse embryonic stem cells have been found to exhibit highly variable differentiation responses under the same environmental conditions. The noisy cyclic expression of Hes1 and its downstream genes are known to be responsible for this, but the mechanism underlying this variability in expression is not well understood. In this paper, we show that the observed experimental data and diverse differentiation responses can be explained by a spatial stochastic model of the Hes1 gene regulatory network. We also propose experiments to control the precise differentiation response using drug treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological*
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Transcription Factor HES-1


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Hes1 protein, mouse
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Transcription Factor HES-1