Esrrb Is a Direct Nanog Target Gene that Can Substitute for Nanog Function in Pluripotent Cells

Adam Yates, Nicola Festuccia, Rodrigo Osorno, Florian Halbritter, Violetta Karwacki-Neisius, Pablo Navarro, Douglas Colby, Frederick Wong, Simon R. Tomlinson, Ian Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

258 Citations (Scopus)


Embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal efficiency is determined by the level of Nanog expression. However, the mechanisms by which Nanog functions remain unclear, and in particular, direct Nanog target genes are uncharacterized. Here we investigate ESCs expressing different Nanog levels and Nanog-/- cells with distinct functionally inducible Nanog proteins to identify Nanog-responsive genes. Surprisingly, these constitute a minor fraction of genes that Nanog binds. Prominent among Nanog-reponsive genes is Estrogen-related receptor b (Esrrb). Nanog binds directly to Esrrb, enhances binding of RNAPolII, and stimulates Esrrb transcription. Overexpression of Esrrb in ESCs maintains cytokine-independent self-renewal and pluripotency. Remarkably, this activity is retained in Nanog-/- ESCs. Moreover, Esrrb can reprogram Nanog-/- EpiSCs and can rescue stalled reprogramming in Nanog-/- pre-iPSCs. Finally, Esrrb deletion abolishes the defining ability of Nanog to confer LIF-independent ESC self-renewal. These findings are consistent with the functional placement of Esrrb downstream of Nanog.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-490
Number of pages14
JournalCell Stem Cell
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Esrrb Is a Direct Nanog Target Gene that Can Substitute for Nanog Function in Pluripotent Cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this