An overview of mammalian pluripotency

Development. 2016 May 15;143(10):1644-8. doi: 10.1242/dev.132928.


Mammalian pluripotency is the ability to give rise to all somatic cells as well as the germ cells of an adult mammal. It is a unique feature of embryonic epiblast cells, existing only transiently, as cells pass through early developmental stages. By contrast, pluripotency can be captured and stabilized indefinitely in cell culture and can also be reactivated in differentiated cells via nuclear reprogramming. Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are the in vitro carriers of pluripotency and they can inhabit discrete pluripotent states depending on the stage at which they were derived and their culture conditions. Here, and in the accompanying poster, we provide a summary of mammalian pluripotency both in vivo and in vitro, and highlight recent and future applications of PSCs for basic and translational research.

Keywords: Embryonic stem cells; Pluripotency; Pluripotent stem cells; Reprogramming.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mammals / metabolism*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Stem Cell Research
  • Stem Cell Transplantation