Pluripotency of embryo-derived stem cells from rodents, lagomorphs, and primates: Slippery slope, terrace and cliff

Stem Cell Res. 2017 Mar;19:104-112. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2017.01.008. Epub 2017 Jan 17.


The diverse cell states and in vitro conditions for the derivation and maintenance of the mammalian embryo-derived pluripotent stem cells raise the questions of whether there are multiple states of pluripotency of the stem cells of each species, and if there are innate species-specific variations in the pluripotency state. We will address these questions by taking a snapshot of our knowledge of the properties of the pluripotent stem cells, focusing on the maintenance of pluripotency and inter-conversion of the different types of pluripotent stem cells from rodents, lagomorphs and primates. We conceptualize pluripotent stem cells acquiring a series of cellular states represented as terraces on a slope of descending gradient of pluripotency. We propose that reprogramming pluripotent stem cells from a primed to a naive state is akin to moving upstream over a steep cliff to a higher terrace.

Keywords: Mouse; Pluripotent stem cells; Primate; Rabbit; Rat.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Lagomorpha
  • Mice
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Primates
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases