PloS one

Efficient and directive generation of two distinct endoderm lineages from human ESCs and iPSCs by differentiation stage-specific SOX17 transduction.

PMID 21760905


The establishment of methods for directive differentiation from human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is important for regenerative medicine. Although Sry-related HMG box 17 (SOX17) overexpression in ESCs leads to differentiation of either extraembryonic or definitive endoderm cells, respectively, the mechanism of these distinct results remains unknown. Therefore, we utilized a transient adenovirus vector-mediated overexpression system to mimic the SOX17 expression pattern of embryogenesis. The number of alpha-fetoprotein-positive extraembryonic endoderm (ExEn) cells was increased by transient SOX17 transduction in human ESC- and iPSC-derived primitive endoderm cells. In contrast, the number of hematopoietically expressed homeobox (HEX)-positive definitive endoderm (DE) cells, which correspond to the anterior DE in vivo, was increased by transient adenovirus vector-mediated SOX17 expression in human ESC- and iPSC-derived mesendoderm cells. Moreover, hepatocyte-like cells were efficiently generated by sequential transduction of SOX17 and HEX. Our findings show that a stage-specific transduction of SOX17 in the primitive endoderm or mesendoderm promotes directive ExEn or DE differentiation by SOX17 transduction, respectively.