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Keywords:

  • embryonic stem cells;
  • Nanog;
  • pluripoentcy;
  • microarray;
  • RNA interference

Abstract

Nanog plays an important role in embryonic stem (ES) cells pluripotency and self-renewal, yet the precise mechanism through which Nanog accomplishes this important function remains unclear. To understand comprehensive molecular mechanism by which Nanog mediates, we identified genome-wide molecular changes upon silencing Nanog in ES cells by using microarray technology. In order to downregulate Nanog expression efficiently, four siRNAs were designed on the basis of the conserved Nanog sequence and their effects on the Nanog expression were tested. Among these four siRNAs, Nanog-siRNA-P1 was found to be most effective. Once Nanog was downregulated, ES cells underwent differentiation by showing morphological change and decreased proliferation rate. Microarray analysis was then used to identify the altered gene expression after Nanog was silenced. A series of differentially expressed genes due to reduced expression of Nanog was identified as Nanog-related genes. These genes identified here could provide insights into the roles of Nanog in ES cells self-renewal and early differentiation. J. Cell. Biochem. 104: 2348–2362, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.