Malignant transformation of 293 cells induced by ectopic expression of human Nanog

Mol Cell Biochem. 2011 May;351(1-2):109-16. doi: 10.1007/s11010-011-0717-5. Epub 2011 Jan 19.


Tumor development has long been known to resemble abnormal embryogenesis. The ESC self-renewal gene NANOG is purportedly expressed in some epithelial cancer cells and solid tumors, but a casual role in tumor development has remained unclear. In order to more comprehensively elucidate the relationship between human Nanog and tumorigenesis, the hNanog was ectopically expressed in the 293 cell line to investigate its potential for malignant transformation of cells both in vitro and in vivo. Here we provide compelling evidence that the overexpression of hNanog resulted in increased cell proliferation, anchor-independent growth in soft agar, and formation of tumors after subcutaneous injection of athymic nude mice. Pathologic analysis revealed that these tumors were poorly differentiated. In analysis of the underlying molecular mechanism, two proteins, FAK and Ezrin, were identified to be upregulated in the hNanog expressing 293 cells. Our results demonstrate that hNanog is a potent human oncogene and has the ability to induce cellular transformation of human cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Focal Adhesion Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein
  • Oncogenes
  • Up-Regulation


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • NANOG protein, human
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein
  • ezrin
  • Focal Adhesion Protein-Tyrosine Kinases