Analysis of OCT4 expression in an extended panel of human tumor cell lines from multiple entities and in human mesenchymal stem cells
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OCT4 is considered a main regulator of embryonic stem cell pluripotency and self renewal capacity. It was shown that relevant OCT4 expression only occurs in cells of embryonic pluripotent nature. However, several recent publications claimed to have demonstrated OCT4 expression in human somatic tumor cells, human adult stem or progenitor cells and differentiated cells.We analysed 42 human tumor cell lines from 13 entities and human bone marrowderived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). To validate OCT4 expression we used germ cell tumor (GCT) cell lines, derived xenografts and GCT samples. Analysis by RT-PCR, western blotting, immunocytochemistry and immunohistochemistry was performed. With exception of typical embryonal carcinoma cells, we did not observe reliable OCT4 expression in somatic tumor cell lines and MSC. We suggest that a high level of expression of the OCT4 protein together with its nuclear localization still remains a reliable and definitive feature of cells with embryonic pluripotent nature.