The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 55: 995 - 1006 (2011)

Vol 55, Issue 10-11-12

Genome-wide gene expression analysis in mouse embryonic stem cells

Developmental Expression Pattern | Published: 10 January 2012

Juan Sainz*1,2, Fernando García-Alcalde3, Armando Blanco3 and Ángel Concha4

1Genomic Oncology Area, GENYO (Pfizer-University of Granada-Andalusian Goverment Centre for Genomics and Oncological Research), 2Hematology Department, University Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, 3Department of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, University of Granada and 4Department of Pathology, University Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, Granada, Spain


Embryonic stem cell studies have generated great interest, due to their ability to form a wide variety of matured cells. However, there remains a poor understanding of mechanisms regulating the cell state of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and of the genes they express during early differentiation. Gene expression analysis may be a valuable tool to elucidate either the molecular pathways involved in self-renewal and pluripotency, or early differentiation and to identify potential molecular therapy targets. The aim of this study was to characterize at the molecular level the undifferentiated mouse ESC state and the early development towards embryoid bodies. To attempt this issue, we performed CodeLink Mouse Uniset I 20K bioarrays in a well-characterized mouse ESC line, MES3, 3- and 7 day-old embryoid bodies and we compared our findings with those in adult tissue cells. Gene expression results were subsequently validated in a commercial stem cell line, CGR8 (ATCC). Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM) was used to identify statistically significant changes in microarray data. We identified 3664 genes expressed at significantly greater levels in MES3 stem cells than in adult tissue cells, which included 611 with 3-fold higher gene expression levels versus the adult cells. We also investigated the gene expression profile during early embryoid body formation, identifying 2040 and 2243 genes that were up-regulated in 3- and 7- day-old embryoid bodies, respectively. Our gene expression results in MES3 cells were partially confirmed in CGR8 cells, showing numerous genes that are expressed in both mouse stem cells. In conclusion, our results suggest that commonly expressed genes may be strong candidates for involvement in the maintenance of a pluripotent and undifferentiated phenotype and in early development.


mouse stem cell line, gene expression profiling, early differentiation

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