Abstract: We previously demonstrated gradual loss of epiblast during diapause in embryos lacking components of the LIF/IL6 receptor. Here we explore requirement for the downstream signalling transducer and activator of transcription, STAT3 and its target, TFCP2L1, in maintenance of naive pluripotency. Unlike conventional markers, such as NANOG, which remains high in epiblast until implantation, both STAT3 and TFCP2L1 proteins decline during blastocyst expansion, but intensify in the embryonic region after induction of diapause, as observed visually and confirmed using our novel image analysis tool, consistent with our previous transcriptional expression data. Embryos lacking STAT3 or TFCP2L1, underwent catastrophic loss of most of the inner cell mass during the first few days of diapause, implicating involvement of signals in addition to LIF/IL6 for sustaining naive pluripotency in vivo. By blocking MEK/ERK signalling from the morula stage we could derive embryonic stem cells with high efficiency from STAT3 null embryos, but not those lacking TFCP2L1, suggesting a hitherto unknown additional role for this essential STAT3 target in transition from embryo to embryonic stem cells in vitro.

Journal Link: 10.1101/2022.09.23.509173 Journal Link: Publisher Website Journal Link: Download PDF Journal Link: Google Scholar