The nuclear transporter importin 13 is critical for cell survival during embryonic stem cell differentiation

Shadma Fatima, Kylie M. Wagstaff, Sue Mei Lim, Jose M. Polo, Julia C. Young, David A. Jans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Nuclear transporter Importin (Imp, Ipo) 13 is known to transport various mammalian cargoes into/out of the nucleus, but its role in directing cell-fate is unclear. Here we examine the role of Imp13 in the maintenance of pluripotency and differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) for the first time, using an embryonic body (EB)-based model. When induced to differentiate, Ipo13−/− ESCs displayed slow proliferation, reduced EB size, and lower expression of the proliferation marker KI67, concomitant with an increase in the number of TUNEL+ nuclei compared to wildtype ESCs. At days 5 and 10 of differentiation, Ipo13−/− EBs also showed enhanced loss of the pluripotency transcript OCT3/4, and barely detectable clusters of OCT3/4 positive cells. Day 5 Ipo13−/− EBs further exhibited reduced levels of the mesodermal markers Brachyury and Mixl1, correlating with reduced numbers of haemoglobinised cells generated. Our findings suggest that Imp13 is critical to ESC survival as well as early post-gastrulation differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Ectoderm
  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Endoderm
  • Importin 13
  • Ipo13 gene
  • Mesoderm
  • Nuclear import

Cite this