© 2014 The Authors. STEM CELLS Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of AlphaMed Press.
Nucleostemin (NS) is a nucleolar GTP-binding protein that is involved in a plethora of functions including ribosomal biogenesis and maintenance of telomere integrity. In addition to its expression in cancerous cells, the NS gene is expressed in stem cells including embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Previous knockdown and knockout studies have demonstrated that NS is important to preserve the self-renewality and high expression levels of pluripotency marker genes in ESCs. Here, we found that forced expression of Nanog or Esrrb, but not other pluripotency factors, resulted in the dispensability of NS expression in ESCs. However, the detrimental phenotypes of ESCs associated with ablation of NS expression were not mitigated by forced expression of Rad51 or a nucleolar localization-defective NS mutant that counteracts the damage associated with loss of NS expression in other NS-expressing cells such as neural stem/progenitor cells. Thus, our results indicate that NS participates in preservation of the viability and integrity of ESCs, which is distinct from that in other NS-expressing cells.