Distinct requirements for energy metabolism in mouse primordial germ cells and their reprogramming to embryonic germ cells [Developmental Biology]
Primordial germ cells (PGCs), undifferentiated embryonic germ cells, are the only cells that have the ability to become gametes and to reacquire totipotency upon fertilization. It is generally understood that the development of PGCs proceeds through the expression of germ cell-specific transcription factors and characteristic epigenomic changes. However, little is known about the properties of PGCs at the metabolite and protein levels, which are directly responsible for the control of cell function. Here, we report the distinct energy metabolism of PGCs compared with that of embryonic stem cells. Specifically, we observed remarkably enhanced oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and decreased glycolysis in embryonic day 13.5 (E13.5) PGCs, a pattern that was gradually established during PGC differentiation. We also demonstrate that glycolysis and OXPHOS are important for the control of PGC reprogramming and specification of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) into PGCs in culture. Our findings about the unique metabolic property of PGCs provide insights into our understanding of the importance of distinct facets of energy metabolism for switching PGC and PSC status.
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