We and other mammals have two copies of each gene, and each copy, or ‘allele,’ was thought to remain physically apart from the other in the cell nucleus. David Spector’s team now finds that the alleles of a specific gene, Oct4, can and do pair up in mammalian cells. (Oct4 gene alleles are labeled in green; other DNA is stained blue; cell nuclei are outlined in red). The Oct4 alleles were observed to pair up just as embryonic stem cells differentiated into specific cell types.
Credit: Spector Lab, CSHL
This work was supported by The National Institute of General Medical Sciences and by the Starr Foundation.
“Transient Pairing of Homologous Oct4 Alleles Accompanies the Onset of Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation” appears online in Cell Stem Cell on March 5, 2015. The authors are: Megan S. Hogan, David-Emlyn Parfitt, Cinthya J. Zepeda-Mendoza, Michael M. Shen, and David L. Spector. doi:10.1016/j.stem.2015.02.001