• embryonic germ cells;
  • embryonic stem cells;
  • cell cycle;
  • in vitrodifferentiation


Embryonic germ (EG) cells of line EG-1 derived from mouse primordial germ cells were investigated for theirin vitrodifferentiation capacity. By cultivation as embryo-like aggregates EG-1 cells differentiated into cardiac, skeletal muscle and neuronal cells accompanied by the expression of tissue-specific genes and proteins as shown by RT-PCR analysis and indirect immunofluorescence. In comparison to embryonic stem (ES) cells of line D3 the efficiency of differentiation into cardiac and muscle cells was comparatively low, whereas spontaneous neuronal differentiation was more efficient than in D3 cells. Furthermore, the distribution of cell cycle phases as a parameter for the differentiation state was analysed in undifferentiated EG cells and ES cells and compared to data obtained for embryonic carcinoma (EC) cells of line P19 and differentiated, epithelioid EPI-7 cells. Flow cytometric analysis revealed similar cell cycle phase distributions in EG, EC and ES cells. In contrast, the somatic differentiated EPI-7 cells showed a longer G1-phase and shorter S- and G2/M-phases. Together, our results demonstrate that the differentiation state and capacity of EG cellsin vitroresemble that of totipotent ES cells.