The majority of early primordial germ cells acquire pluripotency by AKT activation

Yasuhisa Matsui, Asuka Takehara, Yuko Tokitake, Makiko Ikeda, Yuka Obara, Yuiko Morita-Fujimura, Tohru Kimura, Toru Nakano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are undifferentiated germ cells in embryos, the fate of which is to become gametes; however, mouse PGCs can easily be reprogrammed into pluripotent embryonic germ cells (EGCs) in culture in the presence of particular extracellular factors, such as combinations of Steel factor (KITL), LIF and bFGF (FGF2). Early PGCs form EGCs more readily than do later PGCs, and PGCs lose the ability to form EGCs by embryonic day (E) 15.5. Here, we examined the effects of activation of the serine/threonine kinase AKT in PGCs during EGC formation; notably, AKT activation, in combination with LIF and bFGF, enhanced EGC formation and caused ∼60% of E10.5 PGCs to become EGCs. The results indicate that the majority of PGCs at E10.5 could acquire pluripotency with an activated AKT signaling pathway. Importantly, AKT activation did not fully substitute for bFGF and LIF, and AKT activation without both LIF and bFGF did not result in EGC formation. These findings indicate that AKT signal enhances and/or collaborates with signaling pathways of bFGF and of LIF in PGCs for the acquisition of pluripotency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4457-4467
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1


  • AKT
  • BFGF
  • EGCs
  • LIF
  • PGCs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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