Pluripotency is an important feature of early embryonic cells of multicellular organisms. Recent advances in stem cell research have shown that Nanog and Pou5f1 (Oct3/4) play important roles in mammalian pluripotency. However, whether these molecules exert conserved functions in other species remains unknown. Although the epiblast of the early chicken embryo would provide a useful experimental model, a lack of antibodies against chicken Nanog (cNanog) and chicken PouV/Pou5f3 (cPouV) proteins has hampered intensive investigation. Here we report newly raised polyclonal antibodies that specifically recognize cNanog and cPouV proteins. The specificity and sensitivity of the antibodies were validated by both western blotting and immunostaining with transfected 293T cells and chicken embryonic tissues. Immunohistochemistry using these antibodies revealed that cNanog protein was specifically localized in epiblastic cells and germ cells. In contrast, cPouV expression was seen almost ubiquitously. We also found that chicken epiblast-derived colony-forming cells that morphologically resemble mouse embryonic stem cells were cNanog-positive, implying that these colony-forming cells possess pluripotency. The anti-cPouV antibody further enabled us to identify a previously unknown region at the N-terminus of the cPouV protein containing a characteristic motif that is absent in mammalian Pou5f1. Thus, the antibodies raised in this study are useful tools for studying the functions of cNanog and cPouV at the protein level and the molecular mechanisms of chicken pluripotency.
ASJC Scopus subject areas