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Directed differentiation of embryonic stem cells into motor neurons.

Inductive signals and transcription factors involved in motor neuron generation have been identified, raising the question of whether these developmental insights can be used to direct stem cells to a motor neuron fate. We show that developmentally relevant signaling factors can induce mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells to differentiate into spinal progenitor cells, and subsequently into motor neurons, through a pathway recapitulating that used in vivo. ES cell-derived motor neurons can populate the embryonic spinal cord, extend axons, and form synapses with target muscles. Thus, inductive signals involved in normal pathways of neurogenesis can direct ES cells to form specific classes of CNS neurons.

Pubmed ID: 12176325


  • Wichterle H
  • Lieberam I
  • Porter JA
  • Jessell TM



Publication Data

August 9, 2002

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chick Embryo
  • Embryonic Induction
  • Graft Survival
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motor Neurons
  • Signal Transduction
  • Spheroids, Cellular
  • Spinal Cord
  • Stem Cells
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tretinoin