Deconstructing the pluripotency gene regulatory network

Nat Cell Biol. 2018 Apr;20(4):382-392. doi: 10.1038/s41556-018-0067-6. Epub 2018 Mar 28.


Pluripotent stem cells can be isolated from embryos or derived by reprogramming. Pluripotency is stabilized by an interconnected network of pluripotency genes that cooperatively regulate gene expression. Here we describe the molecular principles of pluripotency gene function and highlight post-transcriptional controls, particularly those induced by RNA-binding proteins and alternative splicing, as an important regulatory layer of pluripotency. We also discuss heterogeneity in pluripotency regulation, alternative pluripotency states and future directions of pluripotent stem cell research.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cellular Reprogramming*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / physiology*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factors