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Cell Res. 2009 Sep;19(9):1052-61. doi: 10.1038/cr.2009.79. Epub 2009 Jun 30.

Cross-regulation of the Nanog and Cdx2 promoters.

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Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital Boston, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.


The first cell fate choice in the mammalian embryo, the segregation of the inner cell mass (ICM) and trophectoderm (TE), is regulated by the mutually antagonistic effects of the transcription factors, Oct4 and Cdx2, while the pluripotency factor, Nanog, is essential to specify the epiblast. We have analyzed the promoters of Nanog and Cdx2, and have found that these two transcription factors are likewise regulated reciprocally. Using an embryonic stem cell line with conditional TE differentiation, we show that Nanog overexpression suppresses the upregulation of TE markers, while Nanog knockdown upregulates the expression of TE markers. We further show that Nanog and Cdx2 bind to and repress each other's promoters. However, whereas Nanog knockout results in detectable Cdx2 expression in the ICM, we observe no overt disruption of blastocyst development, indicating that Nanog plays a subservient role to Oct4 in segregation of the ICM and TE.

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