Kaushik Dilip Deb, Anitha Devi Jayaprakash, Vijay Sharma, Satish Totey
ABSTRACT Embryonic stem cells are considered the mother of all kinds of tissues and cells and it is envisioned as the holy grail of regenerative medicine. However, their use in cell replacement therapies (CRT) has so far been limited and their potentials are yet to be fully realized. The use of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) involves many safety issues pertaining to culture conditions and epigenetic changes. The role and importance of an epigenomic signature in derivation and maintenance of hESC are discussed. We provide a list of important epigenetic markers, which should be studied for evaluation of safety in hESC-based cell replacement therapies. These genes also need to be screened to determine an epigenetic signature for pluripotency in the hESCs. Finally a comprehensive list of all known stemness signature genes and the marker genes for different germ line lineages are presented. This review aims at summing up most of the intriguing molecules that can play a role in the maintenance of pluripotency and can help in determining hESC differentiation to various lineages. Extensive understanding of these markers will eventually help the researchers to transform the hESC research from bench to the bedside. The use of hESCs in CRTs is still in its infancy; much effort is warranted to turn them into the much dreamed about magic wand of regenerative medicine.
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