Oct4 is required for primordial germ cell survival

James Kehler, Elena Tolkunova, Birgit Koschorz, Maurizio Pesce, Luca Gentile, Michele Boiani, Hilda Lomelí, Andras Nagy, K. John McLaughlin, Hans R. Schöler, Alexey Tomilin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous studies have shown that Oct4 has an essential role in maintaining pluripotency of cells of the inner cell mass (ICM) and embryonic stem cells. However, Oct4 null homozygous embryos die around the time of implantation, thus precluding further analysis of gene function during development. We have used the conditional Cre/loxP gene targeting strategy to assess Oct4 function in primordial germ cells (PGCs). Loss of Oct4 function leads to apoptosis of PGCs rather than to differentiation into a trophectodermal lineage, as has been described for Oct4-deficient ICM cells. These new results suggest a previously unknown function of Oct4 in maintaining viability of mammalian germline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1078-1083
Number of pages6
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • Apoptosis
  • Conditional gene targeting
  • Cre/IoxP
  • Oct4 function
  • Primordial germ cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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    Kehler, J., Tolkunova, E., Koschorz, B., Pesce, M., Gentile, L., Boiani, M., Lomelí, H., Nagy, A., McLaughlin, K. J., Schöler, H. R., & Tomilin, A. (2004). Oct4 is required for primordial germ cell survival. EMBO Reports, 5(11), 1078-1083. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.embor.7400279