Deletion of Sox2 from mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) causes trophectodermal differentiation. While this can be prevented by enforced expression of the related SOXB1 proteins, SOX1 or SOX3, the roles of SOXB1 proteins in epiblast stem cell (EpiSC) pluripotency are unknown. Here we show that Sox2 can be deleted from EpiSCs with impunity. This is due to a shift in the balance of SoxB1 expression in EpiSCs, which have decreased Sox2 and increased Sox3 compared to ESCs. Consistent with functional redundancy, Sox3 can also be deleted from EpiSCs without eliminating self-renewal. However, deletion of both Sox2 and Sox3 prevents self-renewal. The overall SOXB1 levels in ESCs affect differentiation choices: neural differentiation of Sox2 heterozygous ESCs is compromised, while increased SOXB1 levels divert the ESC to EpiSC transition towards neural differentiation. Therefore, optimal SOXB1 levels are critical for each pluripotent state and for cell fate decisions during exit from naïve pluripotency.
- Andrea Corsinotti
- Frederick CK Wong
- Florian Halbritter
- Douglas Colby
- Nicholas P Mullin
- Valerie Wilson
- Ian Chambers
- Elisa Hall-Ponsele
- Ian Chambers
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Animal experiments were performed under the UK Home Office project license PPL60/4435, approved by the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Panel of the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine and within the conditions of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
- Martin Pera, University of Melbourne, Australia
© 2017, Corsinotti et al.
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