Not as Pluripotent as You Used to Be: Embryonic Stem Cell Markers and the Aging Process

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 05:02

We at Novus Biologicals recently extended our antibody catalog to include several embryonic stem cells (ESC) antibodies validated for use in FACS (fluorescent activated cell sorting) assays. Among them was Oct4, which recently became the focus of an interesting study into the human aging process.

ESCs are pluripotent cells with the ability to differentiate into any of the cells of the 3 embryonic germ cell layers. They are crucial to embryonic development. Until recently, it was thought pluripotency was restricted to ESCs, and that adult stem cells (ASCs) could only differentiate into specific cell type subsets (i.e. were multipotent). However, it has now been shown that adult stem cells can redevelop pluripotency when transferred from one ASC environment to another.

Immunocytochemistry/Immunofluorescence: OCT4 Antibody Immunocytochemistry/Immunofluorescence: OCT4 Antibody

Oct 4 is a transcription factor found in ESCs and germ cells, thought to play a crucial role in maintaining and regaining pluripotency of stem cells, as well as regulating germ cell development. Now, researchers at the Thomas Jefferson University have revealed a link between the aging protein WRN and Oct4 pluripotency.

WRN is expressed in the autosomal recessive premature aging disorder, Werner syndrome, and is an accepted model for the normal aging process. However, the study revealed that WRN has a hitherto unknown novel function, in that it also controls Oct4 expression by interacting with the protein Dnmt3b, controlling methylation of DNA at the Oct4 promoter .

DNA methylation causes inactivation of the Oct4 gene, enabling stem cell differentiation (and therefore embryonic development) to take place. This antibody research supports the hypothesis that reduced differentiation of stem cells forms part of the aging process.

Novus Biologicals offers many Oct4 reagents for your research needs including:

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