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Mol Cell. 2012 Jul 27;47(2):169-82. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.06.020. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

Oct4 and Nanog directly regulate Dnmt1 to maintain self-renewal and undifferentiated state in mesenchymal stem cells.

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Institute of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 112, Taiwan.


The roles of Oct4 and Nanog in maintaining self-renewal and undifferentiated status of adult stem cells are unclear. Here, increase in Oct4 and Nanog expression along with increased proliferation and differentiation potential but decreased spontaneous differentiation were observed in early-passage (E), hypoxic culture (H), and p21 knockdown (p21KD) mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) compared to late-passage (L), normoxic culture (N), and scrambled shRNA-overexpressed (Scr) MSCs. Knockdown of Oct4 and Nanog in E, H, and p21KD MSCs decreased proliferation and differentiation potential and enhanced spontaneous differentiation, whereas overexpression of Oct4 and Nanog in L, N, and Scr MSCs increased proliferation and differentiation potential and suppressed spontaneous differentiation. Oct4 and Nanog upregulate Dnmt1 through direct binding to its promoter, thereby leading to the repressed expression of p16 and p21 and genes associated with development and lineage differentiation. These data demonstrate the important roles of Oct4 and Nanog in maintaining MSC properties.

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