Direct lineage conversion of terminally differentiated hepatocytes to functional neurons.
ABSTRACT Several recent studies have showed that mouse and human fibroblasts can be directly reprogrammed into induced neuronal (iN) cells, bypassing a pluripotent intermediate state. However, fibroblasts represent heterogeneous mesenchymal progenitor cells that potentially contain neural crest lineages, and the cell of origin remained undefined. This raises the fundamental question of whether lineage reprogramming is possible between cell types derived from different germ layers. Here, we demonstrate that terminally differentiated hepatocytes can be directly converted into functional iN cells. Importantly, single-cell and genome-wide expression analyses showed that fibroblast- and hepatocyte-derived iN cells not only induced a neuronal transcriptional program, but also silenced their donor transcriptome. The remaining donor signature decreased over time and could not support functional hepatocyte properties. Thus, the reprogramming factors lead to a binary lineage switch decision rather than an induction of hybrid phenotypes, but iN cells retain a small but detectable epigenetic memory of their donor cells.
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ABSTRACT: Neurogenic transcription factors and evolutionarily conserved signalling pathways have been found to be instrumental in the formation of neurons. However, the instructive role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in neurogenesis remains unexplored. We recently discovered that miR-9* and miR-124 instruct compositional changes of SWI/SNF-like BAF chromatin-remodelling complexes, a process important for neuronal differentiation and function. Nearing mitotic exit of neural progenitors, miR-9* and miR-124 repress the BAF53a subunit of the neural-progenitor (np)BAF chromatin-remodelling complex. After mitotic exit, BAF53a is replaced by BAF53b, and BAF45a by BAF45b and BAF45c, which are then incorporated into neuron-specific (n)BAF complexes essential for post-mitotic functions. Because miR-9/9* and miR-124 also control multiple genes regulating neuronal differentiation and function, we proposed that these miRNAs might contribute to neuronal fates. Here we show that expression of miR-9/9* and miR-124 (miR-9/9*-124) in human fibroblasts induces their conversion into neurons, a process facilitated by NEUROD2. Further addition of neurogenic transcription factors ASCL1 and MYT1L enhances the rate of conversion and the maturation of the converted neurons, whereas expression of these transcription factors alone without miR-9/9*-124 was ineffective. These studies indicate that the genetic circuitry involving miR-9/9*-124 can have an instructive role in neural fate determination.Nature 08/2011; 476(7359):228-31. · 36.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Effective use of conditional Cre recombinase-loxP gene modification requires Cre-expressing mouse strains with defined patterns of expression. To assess the in vivo functionality of Cre-expressing mice, we have engineered an improved reporter strain for monitoring Cre-mediated excisions. The beta-galactosidase-neomycin phosphotransferase fusion gene (betageo)-trapped ROSA26 locus was modified by gene targeting such that betageo is expressed only after Cre-mediated excision of loxP-flanked DNA sequences. betageo from the excised ROSA26 allele is expressed ubiquitously in embryos and adult mice. By mating the reporter strain with Cre-expressing transgenic mice, we have shown that the loxP-flanked ROSA26 allele is accessible to Cre during early embryogenesis, as well as in a specific hematopoietic lineage (T lymphocytes). This improved reporter strain should facilitate monitoring in vivo Cre-mediated excision events in a variety of experimental contexts.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/1999; 96(9):5037-42. · 9.68 Impact Factor
Article: Keratinocyte serum-free medium maintains long-term liver gene expression and function in cultured rat hepatocytes by preventing the loss of liver-enriched transcription factors.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Freshly isolated hepatocytes rapidly lose their differentiated properties when placed in culture. Therefore, production of a simple culture system for maintaining the phenotype of hepatocytes in culture would greatly facilitate their study. Our aim was to identify conditions that could maintain the differentiated properties of hepatocytes for up to 28 days of culture. Adult rat hepatocytes were isolated and attached in Williams' medium E containing 10% serum. The medium was changed to either fresh Williams' medium E or keratinocyte serum-free medium supplemented with dexamethasone, epidermal growth factor and pituitary gland extract. The hepatic phenotype was then analysed using RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and assays of liver function. Cells cultured in keratinocyte serum-free medium supplemented with dexamethasone, epidermal growth factor and pituitary gland extract maintained their phenotype for 3-4 weeks, based on expression of liver proteins, ureagenesis and response to xenobiotics. In contrast, hepatocytes cultured in Williams' medium E rapidly lost the expression of liver proteins after 3 days. Cells cultured in keratinocyte serum-free medium supplemented with dexamethasone, epidermal growth factor and pituitary gland extract maintained their expression of liver-enriched transcription factors (C/EBPalpha and beta, HNF4alpha and RXRalpha) while expression was either lost or reduced in cells cultured in Williams' medium E. These results suggest that keratinocyte serum-free medium supplemented with dexamethasone, epidermal growth factor and pituitary gland extract can maintain the hepatic phenotype for a prolonged period and that this is probably related to the continued expression of the liver-enriched transcription factors.The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology 02/2007; 39(3):541-54. · 4.63 Impact Factor