The Journal of biological chemistry

Determination of protein interactome of transcription factor Sox2 in embryonic stem cells engineered for inducible expression of four reprogramming factors.

PMID 22334693


Unbiased proteomic screens provide a powerful tool for defining protein-protein interaction networks. Previous studies employed multidimensional protein identification technology to identify the Sox2-interactome in embryonic stem cells (ESC) undergoing differentiation in response to a small increase in the expression of epitope-tagged Sox2. Thus far the Sox2-interactome in ESC has not been determined. To identify the Sox2-interactome in ESC, we engineered ESC for inducible expression of different combinations of epitope-tagged Sox2 along with Oct4, Klf4, and c-Myc. Epitope-tagged Sox2 was used to circumvent the lack of suitable Sox2 antibodies needed to perform an unbiased proteomic screen of Sox2-associated proteins. Although i-OS-ESC differentiate when both Oct4 and Sox2 are elevated, i-OSKM-ESC do not differentiate even when the levels of the four transcription factors are coordinately elevated ∼2-3-fold. Our findings with i-OS-ESC and i-OSKM-ESC provide new insights into the reasons why ESC undergo differentiation when Sox2 and Oct4 are elevated in ESC. Importantly, the use of i-OSKM-ESC enabled us to identify the Sox2-interactome in undifferentiated ESC. Using multidimensional protein identification technology, we identified >70 proteins that associate with Sox2 in ESC. We extended these findings by testing the function of the Sox2-assoicated protein Smarcd1 and demonstrate that knockdown of Smarcd1 disrupts the self-renewal of ESC and induces their differentiation. Together, our work provides the first description of the Sox2-interactome in ESC and indicates that Sox2 along with other master regulators is part of a highly integrated protein-protein interaction landscape in ESC.