Nanog expression in mouse germ cell development

Gene Expr Patterns. 2005 Jun;5(5):639-46. doi: 10.1016/j.modgep.2005.03.001. Epub 2005 Apr 9.


Nanog is a newly identified transcriptional factor bearing a homeodomain and expressed in pluripotential cells of preimplantation and early postimplantation embryos, and embryonic stem (ES) and embryonic germ (EG) cells. Knockout experiments indicate that Nanog functions as a key player in maintaining the pluripotency of stem cells. Importantly, Nanog expression is highly expressed in primordial germ cells (PGCs) of E11.5 and E12.5 mouse embryos. However, its temporal and spatial expression pattern and function in germ cells are largely unknown. To address these issues, whole embryos and cryosections of embryos were immunostained with anti-NANOG and anti-STELLA/PGC7 antibodies. NANOG expression, repressed in colonized PGCs of E7.25-E7.5 embryos, became detectable in migrating PGCs of E7.75-E8.0 embryos. Both male and female PGCs migrating in E9.5 and E10.5 embryos and colonizing the genital ridges of E11.5 and E12.5 embryos were positive for NANOG immunostaining, while the NANOG expression pattern differed between the sexes in the later developmental stage. In female gonadal PGCs of E13.5 and E14.5 embryos, NANOG became undetectable in germ cells positive for the synaptonemal complex-specific protein SCP3, while in male PGCs of E14.5-E16.5 embryos, the number of NANOG-positive germ cells drastically decreased during the mitotic arrest. No germ cells positive for NANOG were detectable in testes and ovaries of adult mice. Thus, in germ cell development, NANOG is expressed in proliferating germ cells, in which nuclear reprogramming is progressing.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Germ Cells / cytology*
  • Germ Cells / metabolism*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Testis / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein
  • Nanog protein, mouse