Although octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (Oct-4) is one of the most intensively studied factors in mammalian development, no cellular genes capable of replacing Oct-4 function in embryonic stem (ES) cells have been found. Recent data show that nuclear receptor subfamily 5, group A, member 2 (Nr5a2) is able to replace Oct-4 function in the reprogramming process; however, it is unclear whether Nr5a2 can replace Oct-4 function in ES cells. In this study, the ability of Nr5a2 to maintain self-renewal and pluripotency in ES cells was investigated. Nr5a2 localized to the nucleus in ES cells, similarly to Oct-4. However, expression of Nr5a2 failed to rescue the stem cell phenotype or to maintain the self-renewal ability of ES cells. Furthermore, as compared with Oct-4-expressing ES cells, Nr5a2-expressing ES cells showed a reduced number of cells in S-phase, did not expand normally, and did not remain in an undifferentiated state. Ectopic expression of Nr5a2 in ES cells was not able to activate transcription of ES cell-specific genes, and gene expression profiling demonstrated differences between Nr5a2-expressing and Oct-4-expressing ES cells. In addition, Nr5a2-expressing ES cells were not able to form teratomas in nude mice. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that the gene regulation properties of Nr5a2 and Oct-4 and their abilities to confer self-renewal and pluripotency of ES cells differ. The present study provides strong evidence that Nr5a2 cannot replace Oct-4 function in ES cells.
- embryonic stem cell
- induced pluripotent stem cell
- nuclear receptor subfamily 5, group A, member 2 (Nr5a2)
- octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (Oct-4)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology