CRG: New protagonist in cell reprogramming discovered

CRG: New protagonist in cell reprogramming discovered

News from CRG

The protein Nanog, a transcription factor, is key to maintaining stem cells in a pluripotent state. Researchers from the Centre for Genomic Regulation have been investigating the role of this protein, and have just published an article in the prestigious journal Cell Reports where they reveal the mechanism whereby Nanog acts. The scientists have discovered that Nanog involves other agents and they have been able to detail their dynamics. In particular, by studying another protein that is also involved in cell reprogramming (beta-catenin) they have been able to improve the knowledge of Nanog's functioning.

"We knew that Nanog was somehow involved in keeping stem cells pluripotent; now we know which mechanism it uses and we understand better how it works", explains Lucía Marucci, one of the authors of the work from the cell reprogramming and regeneration laboratory at the CRG, led by researcher Pia Cosma. "Studying this process has allowed us to discover not only Nanog's key role in reprogramming, but also the dynamics of another protein, known as beta-catenin. We now know that beta-catenin, just like Nanog, continuously fluctuates in the cell and does not only appear when reprogramming is activated", adds Elisa Pedone, co-author of the work from the same laboratory.

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Marucci et al., ß-Catenin Fluctuates in Mouse ESCs and is Essential for Nanog-mediated Reprogramming of Somatic Cells to Pluripotency, Cell Reports (2014), DOI