Virology, Nebraska Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Cell Science 124 (2011), pp. 2654–2665


Copyright © 2011 The Company of Biologists, Ltd. Used by permission.


Self-renewal is a complex biological process necessary for maintaining the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Recent studies have used global proteomic techniques to identify proteins that associate with the master regulators Oct4, Nanog, and Sox2 in ESCs or in ESCs during the early stages of differentiation. Through an unbiased proteomic screen, Banf1 was identified as a Sox2- associated protein. Banf1 has been shown to be essential for worm and fly development but, until now, its role in mammalian development and ESCs has not been explored. In this study, we examined the effect of knocking down Banf1 on ESCs. We demonstrate that the knockdown of Banf1 promotes the differentiation of mouse ESCs and decreases the survival of both mouse and human ESCs. For mouse ESCs, we demonstrate that knocking down Banf1 promotes their differentiation into cells that exhibit markers primarily associated with mesoderm and trophectoderm. Interestingly, knockdown of Banf1 disrupts the survival of human ESCs without significantly reducing the expression levels of the master regulators Sox2, Oct4 and Nanog or inducing the expression of markers of dif-ferentiation. Furthermore, we determined that the knockdown of Banf1 alters the cell cycle distribu-tion of both human and mouse ESCs by causing an uncharacteristic increase in the proportion of cells in the G2–M phase of the cell cycle.