Human embryonic germ (EG) cells can be derived from primordial germ cells (PGCs) by using methods similar to those used to derive mouse EG cultures. PGCs are the sole means of genetic transmission between parent and offspring, as they generate eggs and sperm. Rather than having a previously determined fate, cells in this location receive external signals to further differentiate into PGCs, as demonstrated by the observation that transplantation of cells from other parts of the epiblast to this region can take on a PGC fate. PGCs are associated with dorsal mesenteries, and are translocated to genital ridges. Both cellular migration and association with moving tissues cause the migration of PGCs. In absence of inhibitory signals, female PGCs undergo cogenesis. Although not as thoroughly studied, much is known regarding the migratory path of human PGCs, including their association with gut endoderm and migration into developing genital ridges. PGCs do not survive well under standard tissue culture conditions and are not pluripotent stem cells in vivo or in vitro. Cells that retain a high capacity for cell proliferation and express markers of multiple lineages can be isolated from embryoid bodies (EBs), and can be used in a variety of in vitro and in vivo differentiation paradigms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)