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bFGF signaling-mediated reprogramming of porcine primordial germ cells

Zhang, Yu, Ma, Jing, Li, Hai, Lv, Jiawei, Wei, Renyue, Cong, Yimei, Liu, Zhonghua
Cell and tissue research 2016 v.364 no.2 pp. 429-441
embryonic stem cells, fibroblasts, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genes, germ cells, mice, miniature swine, sexual development, signal transduction, swine, transcriptome, viability
Primordial germ cells (PGCs) have the ability to be reprogrammed into embryonic germ cells (EGCs) in vitro and are an alternative source of embryonic stem cells. Other than for the mouse, the systematic characterization of mammalian PGCs is still lacking, especially the process by which PGCs convert to pluripotency. This hampers the understanding of germ cell development and the derivation of authenticated EGCs from other species. We observed the morphological development of the genital ridge from Bama miniature pigs and found primary sexual differentiation in the E28 porcine embryo, coinciding with Blimp1 nuclear exclusion in PGCs. To explore molecular events involved in porcine PGC reprogramming, transcriptome data of porcine EGCs and fetal fibroblasts (FFs) were assembled and 1169 differentially expressed genes were used for Gene Ontology analysis. These genes were significantly enriched in cell-surface receptor-linked signal transduction, in agreement with the activation of LIF/Stat3 signaling and FGF signaling during the derivation of porcine EG-like cells. Using a growth-factor-defined culture system, we explored the effects of bFGF on the process and found that bFGF not only functioned at the very beginning of PGC dedifferentiation by impeding Blimp1 nuclear expression via a PI3K/AKT-dependent pathway but also maintained the viability of cultured PGCs thereafter. These results provide further insights into the development of germ cells from livestock and the mechanism of porcine PGC reprogramming.