A Temporal Chromatin Signature in Human Embryonic Stem Cells Identifies Regulators of Cardiac Development
ABSTRACT Directed differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into cardiovascular cells provides a model for studying molecular mechanisms of human cardiovascular development. Although it is known that chromatin modification patterns in ESCs differ markedly from those in lineage-committed progenitors and differentiated cells, the temporal dynamics of chromatin alterations during differentiation along a defined lineage have not been studied. We show that differentiation of human ESCs into cardiovascular cells is accompanied by programmed temporal alterations in chromatin structure that distinguish key regulators of cardiovascular development from other genes. We used this temporal chromatin signature to identify regulators of cardiac development, including the homeobox gene MEIS2. Using the zebrafish model, we demonstrate that MEIS2 is critical for proper heart tube formation and subsequent cardiac looping. Temporal chromatin signatures should be broadly applicable to other models of stem cell differentiation to identify regulators and provide key insights into major developmental decisions.
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ABSTRACT: Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) regulate diverse biological processes, including cell lineage specification. Here, we report transcriptome profiling of human endoderm and pancreatic cell lineages using purified cell populations. Analysis of the data sets allows us to identify hundreds of lncRNAs that exhibit differentiation-stage-specific expression patterns. As a first step in characterizing these lncRNAs, we focus on an endoderm-specific lncRNA, definitive endoderm-associated lncRNA1 (DEANR1), and demonstrate that it plays an important role in human endoderm differentiation. DEANR1 contributes to endoderm differentiation by positively regulating expression of the endoderm factor FOXA2. Importantly, overexpression of FOXA2 is able to rescue endoderm differentiation defects caused by DEANR1 depletion. Mechanistically, DEANR1 facilitates FOXA2 activation by facilitating SMAD2/3 recruitment to the FOXA2 promoter. Thus, our study not only reveals a large set of differentiation-stage-specific lncRNAs but also characterizes a functional lncRNA that is important for endoderm differentiation. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Cell Reports 04/2015; 123(1). DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2015.03.008
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ABSTRACT: During embryonic development, cells become gradually restricted in their developmental potential and start elaborating lineage-specific transcriptional networks to ultimately acquire a unique differentiated state. Hox genes play a central role in specifying regional identities, thereby providing the cell with critical information on positional value along its differentiation path. The exquisite DNA-binding specificity of the Hox proteins is frequently dependent upon their interaction with members of the TALE family of homeodomain proteins. In addition to their function as Hox-cofactors, TALE homeoproteins control multiple crucial developmental processes through Hox-independent mechanisms. Here, we will review recent findings on the function of both Hox and TALE proteins in cell differentiation, referring mostly to vertebrate species. In addition, we will discuss the direct implications of this knowledge on cell plasticity and cell reprogramming. Developmental Dynamics, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Developmental Dynamics 01/2014; 243(1). DOI:10.1002/dvdy.24075
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ABSTRACT: Epigenetic mechanisms have been proposed to play crucial roles in mammalian development, but their precise functions are only partially understood. To investigate epigenetic regulation of embryonic development, we differentiated human embryonic stem cells into mesendoderm, neural progenitor cells, trophoblast-like cells, and mesenchymal stem cells and systematically characterized DNA methylation, chromatin modifications, and the transcriptome in each lineage. We found that promoters that are active in early developmental stages tend to be CG rich and mainly engage H3K27me3 upon silencing in nonexpressing lineages. By contrast, promoters for genes expressed preferentially at later stages are often CG poor and primarily employ DNA methylation upon repression. Interestingly, the early developmental regulatory genes are often located in large genomic domains that are generally devoid of DNA methylation in most lineages, which we termed DNA methylation valleys (DMVs). Our results suggest that distinct epigenetic mechanisms regulate early and late stages of ES cell differentiation.Cell 05/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2013.04.022