Transcription regulator involved in inner cell mass and embryonic stem (ES) cells proliferation and self-renewal. Imposes pluripotency on ES cells and prevents their differentiation towards extraembryonic endoderm and trophectoderm lineages. Blocks bone morphogenetic protein-induced mesoderm differentiation of ES cells by physically interacting with SMAD1 and interfering with the recruitment of coactivators to the active SMAD transcriptional complexes. Acts as a transcriptional activator or repressor. Binds optimally to the DNA consensus sequence 5'-TAAT[GT][GT]-3' or 5'-[CG][GA][CG]C[GC]ATTAN[GC]-3'. Able to autorepress its expression in differentiating (ES) cells: binds to its own promoter following interaction with ZNF281/ZFP281, leading to recruitment of the NuRD complex and subsequent repression of expression. When overexpressed, promotes cells to enter into S phase and proliferation.