Differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells induces progesterone receptor gene expression

Carley N. Sauter, Rebecca L. McDermid, Amy L. Weinberg, Tamara L. Greco, Xiaojie Xu, Fern E. Murdoch, Michael K. Fritsch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The role of steroid hormone receptors in very early embryonic development remains unknown. Clearly, expression during organogenesis is important for tissue-specific development. However, progesterone receptor (PR) and estrogen receptors (ERα, ERβ) are expressed during early development through the blastocyst stage in mice and other species, and yet are not essential for embryonic viability. We have utilized the mouse embryonic stem (mES) cell model to investigate the regulated expression of these receptors during differentiation. Surprisingly, one of the earliest changes in gene expression in response to a differentiation signal observed is PR gene induction. It parallels the time course of expression for the patterning genes Hoxb1 and Hoxa5. Unexpectedly, PR gene expression is not regulated in an estrogen-dependent manner by endogenous ERs or by transiently overexpressed ERα. Our results suggest a potentially novel mechanism of PR gene regulation within mES cells compared to adult tissues and the possibility of unique targets of PR action during early mES cell differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-264
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 10 2005


  • Development
  • Differentiation
  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Nuclear receptors
  • Steroid receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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