The reprogramming factor nuclear receptor subfamily 5, group A, member 2 cannot replace octamer-binding transcription factor 4 function in the self-renewal of embryonic stem cells

Kyeng Won Choi, Hye Rim Oh, Jaeyoung Lee, Bobae Lim, Yong Mahn Han, Jun Seo Oh, Jungho Kim

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1 Citation (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1045
Number of pages17
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb 1



  • embryonic stem cell
  • induced pluripotent stem cell
  • nuclear receptor subfamily 5, group A, member 2 (Nr5a2)
  • octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (Oct-4)
  • self-renewal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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