Open Access
Specification of the germ cell lineage in mice
Mitinori Saitou1
Laboratory for Mammalian Germ Cell Biology, Center for Developmental Biology, RIKEN Kobe Institute, 2-2-3 Minatojima-Minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0047, Japan.
DOI: 10.2741/3294 Volume 14 Issue 3, pp.1068-1087
Published: 01 January 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular biology of ticks and the tick-pathogen interface)

Specification of the germ cell lineage is fundamental in development and heredity. In mice, and presumably in all mammals, germ cell fate is not an inherited trait from the egg, but is induced in pluripotent epiblast cells by signaling molecules. Recent studies are beginning to uncover the signaling requirements and key transcriptional regulators for the specification of the germ cell lineage in mice, as well as the distinct properties that the specified germ cells acquire uniquely. Accordingly, the evidence suggests that germ cell specification is an integration of the repression of the somatic program, re-acquisition of potential pluripotency, and ensuing genome-wide epigenetic reprogramming. The accumulated knowledge will be critical for the reconstitution of this key lineage in vitro, which may provide a useful foundation for reproductive and regenerative medicine.

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Mitinori Saitou. Specification of the germ cell lineage in mice. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2009. 14(3); 1068-1087.