A Distinct Expression Pattern in Mammalian Testes Indicates a Conserved Role for NANOG in Spermatogenesis

Ewart W. Kuijk, Jeffrey de Gier, Susana M. Chuva de Sousa Lopes, Ian Chambers, Ans M. M. van Pelt, Ben Colenbrander, Bernard A. J. Roelen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: NANOG is a key player in pluripotency and its expression is restricted to pluripotent cells of the inner cell mass, the epiblast and to primordial germ cells. Spermatogenesis is closely associated with pluripotency, because through this process highly specialized sperm cells are produced that contribute to the formation of totipotent zygotes. Nevertheless, it is unknown if NANOG plays a role in this process.

Methodology/Principal Findings: In the current study, NANOG expression was examined in testes of various mammals, including mouse and human. Nanog mRNA and NANOG protein were detected by RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, and western blotting. Furthermore, eGFP expression was detected in the testis of a transgenic Nanog eGFP-reporter mouse. Surprisingly, although NANOG expression has previously been associated with undifferentiated cells with stem cell potential, expression in the testis was observed in pachytene spermatocytes and in the first steps of haploid germ cell maturation (spermiogenesis). Weak expression in type A spermatogonia was also observed.

Conclusions: The findings of the current study strongly suggest a conserved role for NANOG in meiotic and post-meiotic stages of male germ cell development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10987
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2010


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