NANOG is a transcription factor in embryonic stem cells. It is believed to be a key factor in maintaining pluripotency in cells. The reason that these cells are so important is because of their ability to maintain pluripotency. What this means is that they are able to become pretty much any cell of any of the three germ layers.
NANOG has also been known to repress the expression of the transcription factor Tal1 which inhibits embryonic hematopoiesis. It is also known to have expressed pluripotency marker genes that allowed for the differentiation in vitro and in vivo conditions into the other derivatives.
Ectopic expression of NANOG in adult stem cells can restore the proliferation and differentiation potential that is lost due to organismal aging.
The human NANOG protein consists of 305 amino acids and has three functional domains. It has the N-terminal domain, the C-terminal domain and the conserved homeodomain motif. The latter of these facilitated DNA binding. The NANOG 1 gene can be found on chromosome 12 which has a 915 bp open reading frame with 4 econs and 3 introns.
There are additional NANOG genes that are thought to potentially impact ESC’s differentiation.
It is thought to function together with other factors such as POU5F1 and SOX2 in order to establish ESCF identity.
NANOG has the same mechanisms that maintain a cell’s pluripotency as this is one of the very things that does it. Overall, NANOG is extremely important for pluripotency. The stem cells that are pluripotent are able to form any terminally differentiated cell.