Yong Zhang

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, United States

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Publications (4)7.9 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Skin-derived progenitors (SKP) are neural crest derived and can generate neural and mesodermal progeny in vitro, corresponding to the multipotency of neural crest stem cells. Likewise, neural stem/progenitor cells (displaying as neurospheres) have the capacity of self-renewing, and can produce most phenotypes in the nervous system. Both form spheres when cultured with epidermal growth factor (EGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Although the "stemness" of neural stem/progenitor cells has been extensively investigated, the molecular comparison of SKP spheres and neurospheres has not been elucidated. Here, SKP spheres and neurospheres from the same individual porcine fetuses were isolated with the same culture medium, and the multipotency was tested by in vitro differentiation assays. Microarray analysis was used to illustrate the "stemness" of SKP spheres and neurospheres. The upregulated genes that were in common in the SKP spheres and neurospheres are involved in ribosome, tight junction, gap junction, cell communication, calcium signaling, ErbB signaling, JAK-STAT signaling, MAPK signaling, etc. The differentially expressed genes between SKP spheres and neurospheres are mainly involved in ECM-receptor interaction and the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-b) signaling pathway. Finally, treatment with leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) or MEK inhibitor results in a distinctive impact on the "stemness" and differentiation genes of SKP spheres and neurospheres. Thus, the cell-intrinsic genetic program may contribute to the innate "stemness" of SKP spheres and neurospheres in a similar local microenvironment.
    Cellular reprogramming. 06/2010; 12(3):329-45.
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    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 05/2010; 9(10):2040-1. · 5.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Skin stem cells have an essential role in maintaining tissue homeostasis by dynamically replenishing those constantly lost during tissue turnover or following injury. Multipotent skin derived progenitors (SKP) can generate both neural and mesodermal progeny, representing neural crest-derived progenitors during embryogenesis through adulthood. SKP cells develop into spheres in suspension and can differentiate into fibroblast-like cells (SFC) in adhesive culture with serum. Concomitantly they gradually lose the neural potential but retain certain mesodermal potential. However, little is known about the molecular mechanism of the transition of SKP spheres into SFC in vitro. Here we characterized the transcriptional profiles of porcine SKP spheres and SFC by microarray analysis. We found 305 upregulated and 96 downregulated genes, respectively. The downregulated genes are mostly involved in intrinsic programs like the Dicer pathway and asymmetric cell division, whereas upregulated genes are likely to participate in extrinsic signaling pathways such as ErbB signaling, MAPK signaling, ECM-receptor reaction, Wnt signaling, cell communication, and tumor growth factor (TGF)-β signaling pathways. These intrinsic programs and extrinsic signaling pathways collaborate to mediate the transcription-state transition between SKP spheres and SFC. We speculate that these potential signaling pathways may play an important role in regulating the cell fate transition between SKP spheres and SFC in vitro.
    Cellular reprogramming. 04/2010; 12(2):161-73.
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    ABSTRACT: Multipotent skin-derived progenitors (SKP) can produce both neural and mesodermal progeny in vitro, sharing the characteristics of embryonic neural crest stem cells. However, the molecular basis for the property of multiple lineage potential and neural crest origin of SKPs is still elusive. Here we report the cooperative expression of pluripotency related genes (POU5F1, SOX2, NANOG, STAT3) and neural crest marker genes (p75NTR, TWIST1, PAX3, SNAI2, SOX9, SOX10) in GFP-transgenic porcine skin-derived progenitors (pSKP). The proportion of cells positive for POU5F1, nestin, fibronectin, and vimentin were 12.3%, 15.1%, 67.9% and 53.7%, showing the heterogeneity of pSKP spheres. Moreover, pSKP cells can generate both neural (neurons and glia) and mesodermal cell types (smooth muscle cells and adipocytes) in vitro, indicating the multiple lineage potency. Four transcription factors (POU5F1, SNAI2, SOX9, and PAX3) were identified that were sensitive to mitogen (FBS) and/or growth factors (EGF and bFGF). We infer that POU5F1, SNAI2, SOX9, and PAX3 may be the key players for maintaining the neural crest derived multipotency of SKP cells in vitro. This study has provided new insight into the molecular mechanism of stemness for somatic-derived stem cells at the level of transcriptional regulation.
    Cloning and Stem Cells 03/2009; 11(1):111-22. · 2.66 Impact Factor