X-chromosome inactivation in monkey embryos and pluripotent stem cells.
ABSTRACT Inactivation of one X chromosome in female mammals (XX) compensates for the reduced dosage of X-linked gene expression in males (XY). However, the inner cell mass (ICM) of mouse preimplantation blastocysts and their in vitro counterparts, pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs), initially maintain two active X chromosomes (XaXa). Random X chromosome inactivation (XCI) takes place in the ICM lineage after implantation or upon differentiation of ESCs, resulting in mosaic tissues composed of two cell types carrying either maternal or paternal active X chromosomes. While the status of XCI in human embryos and ICMs remains unknown, majority of human female ESCs show non-random XCI. We demonstrate here that rhesus monkey ESCs also display monoallelic expression and methylation of X-linked genes in agreement with non-random XCI. However, XIST and other X-linked genes were expressed from both chromosomes in isolated female monkey ICMs indicating that ex vivo pluripotent cells retain XaXa. Intriguingly, the trophectoderm (TE) in preimplantation monkey blastocysts also expressed X-linked genes from both alleles suggesting that, unlike the mouse, primate TE lineage does not support imprinted paternal XCI. Our results provide insights into the species-specific nature of XCI in the primate system and reveal fundamental epigenetic differences between in vitro and ex vivo primate pluripotent cells.
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ABSTRACT: The hourglass model of development postulates divergence in early and late embryo development bridged by a period of developmental constraint at mid-embryogenesis. Recently, molecular support for the hourglass model of development has accumulated, with the emphasis on studies using zebrafish and Drosophila species. Across mammals, the hourglass model and specifically divergence in early development has thus far received little attention. Divergence in mammalian pre-implantation development is particularly interesting because of its potential impact on derivation of pluripotent embryonic stem cells. Here, we review recent findings that support the hourglass model of development. We provide striking examples of variation in key events in mammalian peri-implantation development and their potential consequences for pluripotency of embryonic stem cell lines, including mechanisms of cell signalling and differentiation, gene regulatory networks, X-chromosome inactivation, and epigenetic regulation. The variation in these processes indicates divergence in early mammalian development as was postulated by the hourglass model of development. We discuss the naive and primed states of pluripotency in light of this developmental divergence and their implications for human pluripotent stem cell states.Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 05/2014; DOI:10.1111/brv.12117 · 6.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The ability to culture pluripotent stem cells and direct their differentiation into specific cell types in vitro provides a valuable experimental system for modeling pluripotency, development and cellular differentiation. High-throughput profiling of the transcriptomes and epigenomes of pluripotent stem cells and their differentiated derivatives has led to identification of patterns characteristic of each cell type, discovery of new regulatory features in the epigenome and early insights into the complexity of dynamic interactions among regulatory elements. This work has also revealed potential limitations of the use of pluripotent stem cells as in vitro models of developmental events, due to epigenetic variability among different pluripotent stem cell lines and epigenetic instability during derivation and culture, particularly at imprinted and X-inactivated loci. This review focuses on the two most well-studied epigenetic mechanisms, DNA methylation and histone modifications, within the context of pluripotency and differentiation.Epigenomics 02/2014; 6(1):121-37. DOI:10.2217/epi.13.80 · 2.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Ohno's hypothesis states that dosage compensation in mammals evolved in two steps: a twofold hyperactivation of the X chromosome in both sexes to compensate for gene losses on the Y chromosome, and silencing of one X (X-chromosome inactivation, XCI) in females to restore optimal dosage. Recent tests of this hypothesis have returned contradictory results. In this review, we explain this ongoing controversy and argue that a novel view on dosage compensation evolution in mammals is starting to emerge. Ohno's hypothesis may be true for a few, dosage-sensitive genes only. If so few genes are compensated, then why has XCI evolved as a chromosome-wide mechanism? This and several other questions raised by the new data in mammals are discussed, and future research directions are proposed.Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 10/2013; 71(8). DOI:10.1007/s00018-013-1499-6 · 5.86 Impact Factor