Molecular Biotechnology

, Volume 60, Issue 11, pp 791–798 | Cite as

Identification of Potential Molecular Determinants of Murine Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation by a Transposon-Based Approach

  • Yan Wang
  • Tingjun Lei
  • Qian Dai
  • Ping Ding
  • Tong QiuEmail author
  • Yin FangEmail author
Original Paper


Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are self-renewing pluripotent cells, capable of differentiating into all somatic cell types. The molecular control of self-renewal is relatively well-characterized, whereas how ESCs exit pluripotent state to differentiate is poorly understood. Here we identify two genes are required for differentiation and dozens of intergenic regions that potentially regulate ESC differentiation. We used PiggyBac (PB) transposon-based approach to randomly mutate the genome of ESCs, and generated hundreds of clones that resisted differentiation signals. Each clone was sequenced to determine genomic regions mutated by PB insertion. Intriguingly, many mutations were localized among intergenic regions and we identified two genes are required for differentiation. This study should facilitate further exploration of novel molecular determinants of embryonic stem cell differentiation.


Embryonic stem cell Pluripotency Cell differentiation Stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPKPiggyBac transposon 



We thank Professor Pentao Liu (The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, United Kingdom) for kindly providing PiggyBac plasmid, Mrs. Ling Lin and the Science & Technology Department of West China Second University Hospital at Sichuan University for administrative assistance.

Author Contributions

TQ and YF conceived the experiments. YW, TL, PD, and QD conducted experiments and participated in writing the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript.


This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (81671115), and Science and Technology Department of Sichuan Province (2016JQ0029). The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary material

12033_2018_110_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (19 kb)
Supplementary Table S1 (XLSX 19 KB)
12033_2018_110_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (10 kb)
Supplementary Table S2 (XLSX 9 KB)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, West China Second University HospitalSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Center of Growth, Metabolism, and Aging, College of Life SciencesSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  3. 3.Sichuan Cunde TherapeuticsChengduChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Birth Defects and Related Diseases of Women and Children, Ministry of EducationSichuan UniversityChengduChina

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