Mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and the inner cell mass (ICM)-derived epiblast exhibit naive pluripotency. ESC-derived epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs) and the postimplantation epiblast exhibit primed pluripotency. Although core pluripotency factors are well-characterized, additional regulators, including Otx2, recently have been shown to function during the transition from naive to primed pluripotency. Here we uncover a role for Otx2 in the control of the naive pluripotent state. We analyzed Otx2-binding activity in ESCs and EpiSCs and identified Nanog, Oct4, and Sox2 as direct targets. To unravel the Otx2 transcriptional network, we targeted the strongest Otx2-binding site in the Nanog promoter, finding that this site modulates the size of specific ESC-subtype compartments in cultured cells and promotes Nanog expression in vivo, predisposing ICM differentiation to epiblast. Otx2-mediated Nanog regulation thus contributes to the integrity of the ESC state and cell lineage specification in preimplantation development.
- Embryonic stem cells
- Preimplantation epiblast
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)