Ontological aspects of pluripotency and stemness gene expression pattern in the rhesus monkey

Namdori R. Mtango, Catherine A. Vandevoort, Keith E. Latham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Two essential aspects of mammalian development are the progressive specialization of cells toward different lineages, and the maintenance of progenitor cells that will give rise to the differentiated components of each tissue and also contribute new cells as older cells die or become injured. The transition from totipotentiality to pluripotentiality, to multipotentiality, to monopotentiality, and then to differentiation is a continuous process during development. The ontological relationship between these different stages is not well understood. We report for the first time an ontological survey of expression of 45 putative "stemness" and "pluripotency" genes in rhesus monkey oocytes and preimplantation stage embryos, and comparison to the expression in the inner cell mass, trophoblast stem cells, and a rhesus monkey (ORMES6) embryonic stem cell line. Our results reveal that some of these genes are not highly expressed in all totipotent or pluripotent cell types. Some are predominantly maternal mRNAs present in oocytes and embryos before transcriptional activation, and diminishing before the blastocyst stage. Others are well expressed in morulae or early blastocysts, but are poorly expressed in later blastocysts or ICMs. Also, some of the genes employed to induce pluripotent stem cells from somatic cells (iPS genes) appear unlikely to play major roles as stemness or pluripotency genes in normal embryos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-298
Number of pages14
JournalGene Expression Patterns
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Cell lineage
  • Embryo
  • mRNA expression
  • Pluripotency
  • Preimplantation embryo
  • Stem cell
  • Trophoblast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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