To gain insight into mechanisms controlling SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 2 (Sox2) protein activity in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs), the endogenous Sox2 gene was tagged with FLAG/ Hemagglutinin (HA) sequences by homologous recombination. Sox2 protein complexes were purified from Sox2/FLAG/HA knockin ESCs, and interacting proteins were defined by mass spectrometry. One protein in the complex was poly ADP-ribose polymerase I (Parp1). The results presented below demonstrate that Parp1 regulates Sox2 protein activity. In response to fibroblast growth factor (FGF)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling, Parp1 auto-poly ADP-ribosylation enhances Sox2-Parp1 interactions, and this complex inhibits Sox2 binding to octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (Oct4)/Sox2 enhancers. Based on these results, we propose a unique mechanism in which FGF signaling fine-tunes Sox2 activity through posttranslational modification of a critical interacting protein, Parp1, and balances the maintenance of ESC pluripotency and differentiation. In addition, we demonstrate that regulation of Sox2 activity by Parp1 is critical for efficient generation of induced pluripotent stem cells.