An expanded Oct4 interaction network: implications for stem cell biology, development, and disease.
The transcription factor Oct4 is key in embryonic stem cell identity and reprogramming. Insight into its partners should illuminate how the pluripotent state is established and regulated. Here, we identify a considerably expanded set of Oct4-binding proteins in mouse embryonic stem cells. We find that Oct4 associates with a varied set of proteins including regulators of gene expression and modulators of Oct4 function. Half of its partners are transcriptionally regulated by Oct4 itself or other stem cell transcription factors, whereas one-third display a significant change in expression upon cell differentiation. The majority of Oct4-associated proteins studied to date show an early lethal phenotype when mutated. A fraction of the human orthologs is associated with inherited developmental disorders or causative of cancer. The Oct4 interactome provides a resource for dissecting mechanisms of Oct4 function, enlightening the basis of pluripotency and development, and identifying potential additional reprogramming factors.