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Boosting the cellular potency of embryonic stem cells by spliceosome targeting

In recent work published in Cell, Shen et al.1 identified spliceosome inhibition in embryonic stem (ES) cells as a key mechanism for the transition from pluri- to totipotency. Spliceosome inhibition, achieved by RNA interference or the chemical inhibitor pladienolide B, may gain widespread relevance to the culture of totipotent ES cells, in vitro differentiation of extra-embryonal tissue and organoids, translation to the maintenance of pluripotent cells of other mammal species, including humans, and a better molecular understanding of cellular potency in stem cells and cancer.

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