NANOG Is Required for the Long-Term Establishment of Avian Somatic Reprogrammed Cells

Stem Cell Reports. 2018 Nov 13;11(5):1272-1286. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.09.005. Epub 2018 Oct 11.


Somatic reprogramming, which was first identified in rodents, remains poorly described in non-mammalian species. Here, we generated avian reprogrammed cells by reprogramming of chicken and duck primary embryonic fibroblasts. The efficient generation of long-term proliferating cells depends on the method of delivery of reprogramming factors and the addition of NANOG and LIN28 to the canonical OCT4, SOX2, KLF4, and c-MYC gene combination. The reprogrammed cells were positive for several key pluripotency-associated markers including alkaline phosphatase activity, telomerase activity, SSEA1 expression, and specific cell cycle and epigenetic markers. Upregulated endogenous pluripotency-associated genes included POU5F3 (POUV) and KLF4, whereas cells failed to upregulate NANOG and LIN28A. However, cells showed a tumorigenic propensity when injected into recipient embryos. In conclusion, although the somatic reprogramming process is active in avian primary cells, it needs to be optimized to obtain fully reprogrammed cells with similar properties to those of chicken embryonic stem cells.

Keywords: NANOG; avian species; blastoderm; chicken; duck; embryonic stem cells; embryos; phylogenic comparison; pluripotency; somatic reprogramming.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cellular Reprogramming* / genetics
  • Chickens / metabolism*
  • Clone Cells
  • Ducks
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / ultrastructure
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / ultrastructure
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein / metabolism*


  • Nanog Homeobox Protein