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Cell Stem Cell. 2007 Oct 11;1(4):403-15.

Oct4 expression is not required for mouse somatic stem cell self-renewal.

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nine Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


The Pou domain containing transcription factor Oct4 is a well-established regulator of pluripotency in the inner cell mass of the mammalian blastocyst as well as in embryonic stem cells. While it has been shown that the Oct4 gene is inactivated through a series of epigenetic modifications following implantation, recent studies have detected Oct4 activity in a variety of somatic stem cells and tumor cells. Based on these observations it has been suggested that Oct4 may also function in maintaining self-renewal of somatic stem cells and, in addition, may promote tumor formation. We employed a genetic approach to determine whether Oct4 is important for maintaining pluripotency in the stem cell compartments of several somatic tissues including the intestinal epithelium, bone marrow (hematopoietic and mesenchymal lineages), hair follicle, brain, and liver. Oct4 gene ablation in these tissues revealed no abnormalities in homeostasis or regenerative capacity. We conclude that Oct4 is dispensable for both self-renewal and maintenance of somatic stem cells in the adult mammal.

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