LIN28 alters cell fate succession and acts independently of the let-7 microRNA during neurogliogenesis in vitro
ABSTRACT LIN28 is an RNA-binding protein that is expressed in many developing tissues. It can block let-7 (Mirlet7) microRNA processing and help promote pluripotency. We have observed LIN28 expression in the developing mouse neural tube, colocalizing with SOX2, suggesting a role in neural development. To better understand its normal developmental function, we investigated LIN28 activity during neurogliogenesis in vitro, where the succession of neuronal to glial cell fates occurs as it does in vivo. LIN28 expression was high in undifferentiated cells, and was downregulated rapidly upon differentiation. Constitutive LIN28 expression caused a complete block of gliogenesis and an increase in neurogenesis. LIN28 expression was compatible with neuronal differentiation and did not increase proliferation. LIN28 caused significant changes in gene expression prior to any effect on let-7, notably on Igf2. Furthermore, a mutant LIN28 that permitted let-7 accumulation was still able to completely block gliogenesis. Thus, at least two biological activities of LIN28 are genetically separable and might involve distinct mechanisms. LIN28 can differentially promote and inhibit specific fates and does not function exclusively by blocking let-7 family microRNAs. Importantly, the role of LIN28 in cell fate succession in vertebrate cells is analogous to its activity as a developmental timing regulator in C. elegans.
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ABSTRACT: It is clear that neural differentiation from human pluripotent stem cells generates cells that are developmentally immature. Here, we show that the let-7 plays a functional role in the developmental decision making of human neural progenitors, controlling whether these cells make neurons or glia. Through gain- and loss-of-function studies on both tissue and pluripotent derived cells, our data show that let-7 specifically regulates decision making in this context by regulation of a key chromatin-associated protein, HMGA2. Furthermore, we provide evidence that the let-7/HMGA2 circuit acts on HES5, a NOTCH effector and well-established node that regulates fate decisions in the nervous system. These data link the let-7 circuit to NOTCH signaling and suggest that this interaction serves to regulate human developmental progression.10/2014; 3(5). DOI:10.1016/j.stemcr.2014.08.015
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ABSTRACT: Hypoxia augments human embryonic stem cell (hESC) self-renewal via hypoxia-inducible factor 2?-activated OCT4 transcription. Hypoxia also increases the efficiency of reprogramming differentiated cells to a pluripotent-like state. Combined, these findings suggest that low O2 tension would impair the purposeful differentiation of pluripotent stem cells. Here, we show that low O2 tension and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) activity instead promote appropriate hESC differentiation. Through gain- and loss-of-function studies, we implicate O2 tension as a modifier of a key cell fate decision, namely whether neural progenitors differentiate toward neurons or glia. Furthermore, our data show that even transient changes in O2 concentration can affect cell fate through HIF by regulating the activity of MYC, a regulator of LIN28/let-7 that is critical for fate decisions in the neural lineage. We also identify key small molecules that can take advantage of this pathway to quickly and efficiently promote the development of mature cell types.11/2014; 3(5):743-57. DOI:10.1016/j.stemcr.2014.09.021
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ABSTRACT: Embryonic stem cell maintenance, differentiation, and somatic cell reprogramming require the interplay of multiple pluripotency factors, epigenetic remodelers, and extracellular signaling pathways. RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are involved in a wide range of regulatory pathways, from RNA metabolism to epigenetic modifications. In recent years we have witnessed more and more studies on the discovery of new RBPs and the assessment of their functions in a variety of biological systems, including stem cells. We review the current studies on RBPs and focus on those that have functional implications in pluripotency, differentiation, and/or reprogramming in both the human and mouse systems.10/2014; 9(5):389-409. DOI:10.1007/s11515-014-1326-y