Pluripotent cells appear to be in a transient state during early development. These cells have the capability to transition into embryonic stem cells (ESCs). It has been reported that mouse pluripotent cells cultivated in chemically defined media sustain the ground state of pluripotency. Because the epigenetic pattern of pluripotent cells reflects their environment, culture under different conditions causes epigenetic changes, which could lead to genomic instability. This study focused on the DNA methylation pattern of repetitive elements (REs) and their activation levels under two ground-state conditions and assessed the genomic integrity of ESCs. We measured the methylation and expression level of REs in different media. The results indicated that although the ground-state conditions show higher REs activity, they did not lead to DNA damage; therefore, the level of genomic instability is lower under the ground-state compared with the conventional condition. Our results indicated that when choosing an optimum condition, different features of the condition must be considered to have epigenetically and genomically stable stem cells.
Keywords: DNA methylation; embryonic stem cells (ESCs); genomic instability; ground state of pluripotency; repetitive elements (REs).
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