<figcaption> Credit: Miodrag Stojkovic / Photo Researchers, Inc</figcaption>
Credit: Miodrag Stojkovic / Photo Researchers, Inc

The paper:

L. Boyer et al., "Core transcriptional regulatory circuitry in human embryonic stem cells," Cell , 122:947-56, 2005. (Cited in 173 papers) [PUBMED]

The finding:

To characterize transcriptional regulation in human embryonic stem cells Richard Young at the Whitehead Institute and colleagues used a genome-wide analysis with chromatin immunoprecipitation and DNA microarrays, finding that transcription factors OCT4, SOX2, and NANOG target 353 genes, roughly half of which are not expressed. They also found that the three transcription factors co-occupy genes' promoter regions to regulate each others' activity.

The significance:

The study suggests these transcription factors repress genes involved in cell differentiation, which means they might play a role in maintaining embryonic stem cell self-renewal, says Tony Lee, also at the Whitehead and one of the paper's authors. It also suggests that unexpressed genes are repressed but poised for activation during...

The numbers:
Overlap of OCT4, SOX2 and NANOG target genes:
OCT4 + SOX2 = 404
OCT4 + NANOG = 433
SOX2 + NANOG = 845
OCT4 + SOX2 + NANOG = 353

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