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Basal expression of pluripotency-associated genes can contribute to stemness property and differentiation potential

Dadheech N, Srivastava A, Belani M, Gupta S, Pal R, Bhonde RR, Srivastava AS, Gupta S. Stem Cells Dev. 2013 Jun 15;22(12):1802-17. doi: 10.1089/scd.2012.0261.

Abstract

Pluripotency and stemness is believed to be associated with high Oct-3/4, Nanog, and Sox-2 (ONS) expression. Similar to embryonic stem cells (ESCs), high ONS expression eventually became the measure of pluripotency in any cell. The threshold expression of ONS genes that underscores pluripotency, stemness, and differentiation potential is still unclear. Therefore, we raised a question as to whether pluripotency and stemness is a function of basal ONS gene expression. To prove this, we carried out a comparative study between basal ONS expressing NIH3T3 cells with pluripotent mouse bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (mBMSC) and mouse ESC. Our studies on cellular, molecular, and immunological biomarkers between NIH3T3 and mBMSC demonstrated stemness property of undifferentiated NIH3T3 cells that was similar to mBMSC and somewhat close to ESC as well.
In vivo teratoma formation with all three germ layer derivatives strengthen the fact that these cells in spite of basal ONS gene expression can differentiate into cells of multiple lineages without any genetic modification. Conclusively, our novel findings suggested that the phenomenon of pluripotency which imparts ability for multilineage cell differentiation is not necessarily a function of high ONS gene expression.

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