NCE (Year 6)
The overall goal of this project was to understand how STAT3 regulates the fate of mouse and human embryonic stem cells. In the past reporting period, we found that STAT3 induces rapid differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells toward the trophectoderm (TE) lineage when its activation level exceeds certain thresholds. STAT3 induces this differentiation phenotype via induction of Tfap2c and its downstream target Cdx2. Our findings provide a novel concept in the realm of STAT3, self-renewal signaling, and pluripotent stem cell biology. This finding may also facilitate optimization of culture conditions for human embryonic stem cells, a critical step for the future clinical application of these cells.