Jose M Polo

Monash University (Australia), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Publications (36)510.84 Total impact

  • Jaber Firas, Xiaodong Liu, Jose M Polo
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    ABSTRACT: Six decades ago, seminal work conducted by John Gurdon on genome conservation resulted in major advancements towards nuclear reprogramming technologies such as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), cell fusion and transcription factor mediated reprogramming. This revolutionized our views regarding cell fate conversion and development. These technologies also shed light on the role of the epigenome in cellular identity, and how the memory of the cell of origin affects the reprogrammed cell. This review will discuss recent work on epigenetic memory retained in pluripotent cells derived by SCNT and transcription factor mediated reprogramming, and the challenges attached to it.
    Differentiation 09/2014; · 2.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are self-renewing stem cells capable of replenishing all blood lineages. In all vertebrate embryos that have been studied, definitive HSCs are generated initially within the dorsal aorta (DA) of the embryonic vasculature by a series of poorly understood inductive events. Previous studies have identified that signalling relayed from adjacent somites coordinates HSC induction, but the nature of this signal has remained elusive. Here we reveal that somite specification of HSCs occurs via the deployment of a specific endothelial precursor population, which arises within a sub-compartment of the zebrafish somite that we have defined as the endotome. Endothelial cells of the endotome are specified within the nascent somite by the activity of the homeobox gene meox1. Specified endotomal cells consequently migrate and colonize the DA, where they induce HSC formation through the deployment of chemokine signalling activated in these cells during endotome formation. Loss of meox1 activity expands the endotome at the expense of a second somitic cell type, the muscle precursors of the dermomyotomal equivalent in zebrafish, the external cell layer. The resulting increase in endotome-derived cells that migrate to colonize the DA generates a dramatic increase in chemokine-dependent HSC induction. This study reveals the molecular basis for a novel somite lineage restriction mechanism and defines a new paradigm in induction of definitive HSCs.
    Nature 08/2014; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are characterised by their ability to differentiate into any cell type of the body. Accordingly, iPSCs possess immense potential for disease modelling, pharmaceutical screening and autologous cell therapies. The most common source of iPSCs derivation is skin fibroblasts. However, from a clinical point of view, skin fibroblasts may not be ideal, as invasive procedures such as skin biopsies are required for their extraction. Moreover, fibroblasts are highly heterogeneous with a poorly defined developmental pathway, which makes studying reprogramming mechanistics difficult. Granulocytes, on the other hand, are easily obtainable, their developmental pathway has been extensively studied and fluorescence activated cell sorting allows for the isolation of these cells at high purity; thus iPSCs derivation from granulocytes could provide an alternative to fibroblast-derived iPSCs. Previous studies succeeded in producing iPSC colonies from mouse granulocytes but with the use of a mitotically inactivated feeder layer, restricting their use for studying reprogramming mechanistics. As granulocytes display poor survival under culture conditions, we investigated the influence of haematopoietic cytokines to stabilise this cell type in vitro and allow for reprogramming in the absence of a feeder layer. Our results show that treatment with MEF-conditioned media and/or initial exposure to GM-CSF allows for reprogramming of granulocytes under feeder-free conditions. This work can serve as a basis for future work aimed at dissecting the reprogramming mechanism as well as obtaining large numbers of iPSCs from a clinically relevant cell source.
    Differentiation. 07/2014;
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    Laurent David, Jose M Polo
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    ABSTRACT: Despite advances in the field of somatic cell reprogramming, an understanding and exploration of the underlying mechanisms governing this process are only recently emerging. It is now increasingly apparent that key sequential events correlate with the reprogramming process; a process previously thought to be random and unpredictable is now looking, to a greater extent, defined and controlled. Herein, we will review the key cellular and molecular events associated with the reprogramming process, giving an integrative and conciliatory view of the different studies addressing the mechanism of nuclear reprogramming.
    Stem Cell Research 04/2014; 12(3):754-761. · 4.47 Impact Factor
  • Robin M Hobbs, Jose M Polo
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    ABSTRACT: Since the inception of nuclear reprogramming, the parallels between this process and tumorigenesis have become increasingly apparent. Recent studies by Abad et al. and Ohnishi et al. have now formalized this connection by demonstrating that the same transcription factors used for reprogramming to pluripotency drive tumor initiation in vivo.
    Cell stem cell 03/2014; 14(3):269-271. · 23.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mature cells can be reprogrammed to a pluripotent state. These so called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are able to give rise to all cell types of the body and consequently have vast potential for regenerative medicine applications. Traditionally iPS cells are generated by viral introduction of transcription factors Oct-4, Klf-4, Sox-2, and c-Myc (OKSM) into fibroblasts. However, reprogramming is an inefficient process with only 0.1-1% of cells reverting towards a pluripotent state, making it difficult to study the reprogramming mechanism. A proven methodology that has allowed the study of the reprogramming process is to separate the rare intermediates of the reaction from the refractory bulk population. In the case of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), we and others have previously shown that reprogramming cells undergo a distinct series of changes in the expression profile of cell surface markers which can be used for the separation of these cells. During the early stages of OKSM expression successfully reprogramming cells lose fibroblast identity marker Thy-1.2 and up-regulate pluripotency associated marker Ssea-1. The final transition of a subset of Ssea-1 positive cells towards the pluripotent state is marked by the expression of Epcam during the late stages of reprogramming. Here we provide a detailed description of the methodology used to isolate reprogramming intermediates from cultures of reprogramming MEFs. In order to increase experimental reproducibility we use a reprogrammable mouse strain that has been engineered to express a transcriptional transactivator (m2rtTA) under control of the Rosa26 locus and OKSM under control of a doxycycline responsive promoter. Cells isolated from these mice are isogenic and express OKSM homogenously upon addition of doxycycline. We describe in detail the establishment of the reprogrammable mice, the derivation of MEFs, and the subsequent isolation of intermediates during reprogramming into iPS cells via fluorescent activated cells sorting (FACS).
    Journal of Visualized Experiments 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The BCL6 transcriptional repressor is required for the development of germinal center (GC) B cells and diffuse large B cell lymphomas (DLBCLs). Although BCL6 can recruit multiple corepressors, its transcriptional repression mechanism of action in normal and malignant B cells is unknown. We find that in B cells, BCL6 mostly functions through two independent mechanisms that are collectively essential to GC formation and DLBCL, both mediated through its N-terminal BTB domain. These are (1) the formation of a unique ternary BCOR-SMRT complex at promoters, with each corepressor binding to symmetrical sites on BCL6 homodimers linked to specific epigenetic chromatin features, and (2) the "toggling" of active enhancers to a poised but not erased conformation through SMRT-dependent H3K27 deacetylation, which is mediated by HDAC3 and opposed by p300 histone acetyltransferase. Dynamic toggling of enhancers provides a basis for B cells to undergo rapid transcriptional and phenotypic changes in response to signaling or environmental cues.
    Cell Reports 07/2013; · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The chromatin state of pluripotency genes has been studied extensively in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and differentiated cells, but their potential interactions with other parts of the genome remain largely unexplored. Here, we identified a genome-wide, pluripotency-specific interaction network around the Nanog promoter by adapting circular chromosome conformation capture sequencing. This network was rearranged during differentiation and restored in induced pluripotent stem cells. A large fraction of Nanog-interacting loci were bound by Mediator or cohesin in pluripotent cells. Depletion of these proteins from ESCs resulted in a disruption of contacts and the acquisition of a differentiation-specific interaction pattern prior to obvious transcriptional and phenotypic changes. Similarly, the establishment of Nanog interactions during reprogramming often preceded transcriptional upregulation of associated genes, suggesting a causative link. Our results document a complex, pluripotency-specific chromatin "interactome" for Nanog and suggest a functional role for long-range genomic interactions in the maintenance and induction of pluripotency.
    Cell stem cell 05/2013; · 23.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transcription factors use diffusion to search the DNA, yet the mechanisms controlling transcription factor diffusion during mammalian development remain poorly understood. Here we combine photoactivation and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy to study transcription factor diffusion in developing mouse embryos. We show that the pluripotency-associated transcription factor Oct4 displays both fast and Brownian and slower subdiffusive behaviours that are controlled by DNA interactions. Following cell lineage specification, the slower DNA-interacting diffusion fraction distinguishes pluripotent from extraembryonic cell nuclei. Similar to Oct4, Sox2 shows slower diffusion in pluripotent cells while Cdx2 displays opposite dynamics, suggesting that slow diffusion may represent a general feature of transcription factors in lineages where they are essential. Slow Oct4 subdiffusive behaviours are conserved in embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), and lost during differentiation. We also show that Oct4 diffusion depends on its interaction with ERG-associated protein with SET domain. Photoactivation and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy provides a new intravital approach to study transcription factor diffusion in complex in vivo systems.
    Nature Communications 03/2013; 4:1637. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial DNA haplotypes are associated with various phenotypes, such as altered susceptibility to disease, environmental adaptations and ageing. Accumulating evidence suggests that mitochondrial DNA is essential for cell differentiation and the cell phenotype. However, the effects of different mitochondrial DNA haplotypes on differentiation and development remain to be determined. Using embryonic stem cell lines possessing the same Mus musculus chromosomes but harboring one of Mus musculus, Mus spretus or Mus terricolor mitochondrial DNA haplotypes, we have determined the effects of different mitochondrial DNA haplotypes on chromosomal gene expression, differentiation and mitochondrial metabolism. In undifferentiated and differentiating embryonic stem cells, we observed mitochondrial DNA haplotype-specific expression of genes involved in pluripotency, differentiation, mitochondrial energy metabolism and DNA methylation. These mitochondrial DNA haplotypes also influenced the potential of embryonic stem cells to produce spontaneously beating cardiomyocytes. The differences in gene expression patterns and cardiomyocyte production were independent of ATP content, oxygen consumption and respiratory capacity, which until now have been considered to be the primary roles of mitochondrial DNA. Differentiation of embryonic stem cells harboring the different mitochondrial DNA haplotypes in a 3D environment significantly increased chromosomal gene expression for all haplotypes during differentiation. However, haplotype-specific differences in gene expression patterns were maintained in this environment. Taken together, these results provide significant insight into the phenotypic consequences of mitochondrial DNA haplotypes and demonstrate their influence on differentiation and development. We propose that mitochondrial DNA haplotypes play a pivotal role in the process of differentiation and mediate the fate of the cell.
    Stem Cells 01/2013; · 7.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite mounting evidence that epigenetic abnormalities play a key role in cancer biology, their contributions to the malignant phenotype remain poorly understood. Here we studied genome-wide DNA methylation in normal B-cell populations and subtypes of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma: follicular lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas. These lymphomas display striking and progressive intra-tumor heterogeneity and also inter-patient heterogeneity in their cytosine methylation patterns. Epigenetic heterogeneity is initiated in normal germinal center B-cells, increases markedly with disease aggressiveness, and is associated with unfavorable clinical outcome. Moreover, patterns of abnormal methylation vary depending upon chromosomal regions, gene density and the status of neighboring genes. DNA methylation abnormalities arise via two distinct processes: i) lymphomagenic transcriptional regulators perturb promoter DNA methylation in a target gene-specific manner, and ii) aberrant epigenetic states tend to spread to neighboring promoters in the absence of CTCF insulator binding sites.
    PLoS Genetics 01/2013; 9(1):e1003137. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Factor-induced reprogramming of somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is inefficient, complicating mechanistic studies. Here, we examined defined intermediate cell populations poised to becoming iPSCs by genome-wide analyses. We show that induced pluripotency elicits two transcriptional waves, which are driven by c-Myc/Klf4 (first wave) and Oct4/Sox2/Klf4 (second wave). Cells that become refractory to reprogramming activate the first but fail to initiate the second transcriptional wave and can be rescued by elevated expression of all four factors. The establishment of bivalent domains occurs gradually after the first wave, whereas changes in DNA methylation take place after the second wave when cells acquire stable pluripotency. This integrative analysis allowed us to identify genes that act as roadblocks during reprogramming and surface markers that further enrich for cells prone to forming iPSCs. Collectively, our data offer new mechanistic insights into the nature and sequence of molecular events inherent to cellular reprogramming.
    Cell 12/2012; 151(7):1617-32. · 31.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is a process whose mechanistic underpinnings are only beginning to emerge. Here, we applied in-depth quantitative proteomics to monitor proteome changes during the course of reprogramming of fibroblasts to iPSCs. We uncover a two-step resetting of the proteome during the first and last 3 days of reprogramming, with multiple functionally related proteins changing in expression in a highly coordinated fashion. This comprised several biological processes, including changes in the stoichiometry of electron transport-chain complexes, repressed vesicle-mediated transport during the intermediate stage, and an EMT-like process in the late phase. In addition, we demonstrate that the nucleoporin Nup210 is essential for reprogramming by its permitting of rapid cellular proliferation and subsequent progression through MET. Along with the identification of proteins expressed in a stage-specific manner, this study provides a rich resource toward an enhanced mechanistic understanding of cellular reprogramming.
    Cell Reports 12/2012; · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The transcription factor Sox2 maintains the pluripotency of early embryonic cells and regulates the formation of several epithelia during fetal development. Whether Sox2 continues to play a role in adult tissues remains largely unknown. We show here that Sox2 marks adult cells in several epithelial tissues where its expression has not previously been characterized, including the stomach, cervix, anus, testes, lens, and multiple glands. Genetic lineage tracing and transplantation experiments demonstrate that Sox2-expressing cells continuously give rise to mature cell types within these tissues, documenting their self-renewal and differentiation potentials. Consistent with these findings, ablation of Sox2(+) cells in mice results in a disruption of epithelial tissue homeostasis and lethality. Developmental fate mapping reveals that Sox2(+) adult stem cells originate from fetal Sox2(+) tissue progenitors. Thus, our results identify Sox2 expression in numerous adult endodermal and ectodermal stem cell compartments, which are critical for normal tissue regeneration and survival.
    Cell stem cell 10/2011; 9(4):317-29. · 23.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are remarkably similar to embryonic stem (ES) cells, but recent reports indicate that there may be important differences between them. We carried out a systematic comparison of human iPS cells generated from hepatocytes (representative of endoderm), skin fibroblasts (mesoderm) and melanocytes (ectoderm). All low-passage iPS cells analysed retain a transcriptional memory of the original cells. The persistent expression of somatic genes can be partially explained by incomplete promoter DNA methylation. This epigenetic mechanism underlies a robust form of memory that can be found in iPS cells generated by multiple laboratories using different methods, including RNA transfection. Incompletely silenced genes tend to be isolated from other genes that are repressed during reprogramming, indicating that recruitment of the silencing machinery may be inefficient at isolated genes. Knockdown of the incompletely reprogrammed gene C9orf64 (chromosome 9 open reading frame 64) reduces the efficiency of human iPS cell generation, indicating that somatic memory genes may be functionally relevant during reprogramming.
    Nature Cell Biology 05/2011; 13(5):541-9. · 20.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have been derived from various somatic cell populations through ectopic expression of defined factors. It remains unclear whether iPSCs generated from different cell types are molecularly and functionally similar. Here we show that iPSCs obtained from mouse fibroblasts, hematopoietic and myogenic cells exhibit distinct transcriptional and epigenetic patterns. Moreover, we demonstrate that cellular origin influences the in vitro differentiation potentials of iPSCs into embryoid bodies and different hematopoietic cell types. Notably, continuous passaging of iPSCs largely attenuates these differences. Our results suggest that early-passage iPSCs retain a transient epigenetic memory of their somatic cells of origin, which manifests as differential gene expression and altered differentiation capacity. These observations may influence ongoing attempts to use iPSCs for disease modeling and could also be exploited in potential therapeutic applications to enhance differentiation into desired cell lineages.
    Nature Biotechnology 08/2010; 28(8):848-55. · 32.44 Impact Factor
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    Jose M Polo, Konrad Hochedlinger
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    ABSTRACT: Two independent studies by Li et al. (2010) and Samavarchi-Tehrani et al. (2010) in this issue of Cell Stem Cell suggest that a mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition is a critical initiating event during the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from fibroblasts, indicating remarkable similarities between cellular reprogramming, development, and cancer.
    Cell stem cell 07/2010; 7(1):5-6. · 23.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Murine pluripotent stem cells can exist in two functionally distinct states, LIF-dependent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and bFGF-dependent epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs). However, human pluripotent cells so far seemed to assume only an epiblast-like state. Here we demonstrate that human iPSC reprogramming in the presence of LIF yields human stem cells that display morphological, molecular, and functional properties of murine ESCs. We termed these hLR5 iPSCs because they require the expression of five ectopic reprogramming factors, Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, cMyc, and Nanog, to maintain this more naive state. The cells are "metastable" and upon ectopic factor withdrawal they revert to standard human iPSCs. Finally, we demonstrate that the hLR5 state facilitates gene targeting, and as such provides a powerful tool for the generation of recombinant human pluripotent stem cell lines.
    Cell stem cell 06/2010; 6(6):535-46. · 23.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BCL6 protects germinal center (GC) B cells against DNA damage-induced apoptosis during somatic hypermutation and class-switch recombination. Although expression of BCL6 was not found in early IL-7-dependent B cell precursors, we report that IL-7Ralpha-Stat5 signaling negatively regulates BCL6. Upon productive VH-DJH gene rearrangement and expression of a mu heavy chain, however, activation of pre-B cell receptor signaling strongly induces BCL6 expression, whereas IL-7Ralpha-Stat5 signaling is attenuated. At the transition from IL-7-dependent to -independent stages of B cell development, BCL6 is activated, reaches expression levels resembling those in GC B cells, and protects pre-B cells from DNA damage-induced apoptosis during immunoglobulin (Ig) light chain gene recombination. In the absence of BCL6, DNA breaks during Ig light chain gene rearrangement lead to excessive up-regulation of Arf and p53. As a consequence, the pool of new bone marrow immature B cells is markedly reduced in size and clonal diversity. We conclude that negative regulation of Arf by BCL6 is required for pre-B cell self-renewal and the formation of a diverse polyclonal B cell repertoire.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 06/2010; 207(6):1209-21. · 13.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The BCL6 transcriptional repressor is the most frequently involved oncogene in diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). We combined computer-aided drug design with functional assays to identify low-molecular-weight compounds that bind to the corepressor binding groove of the BCL6 BTB domain. One such compound disrupted BCL6/corepressor complexes in vitro and in vivo, and was observed by X-ray crystallography and NMR to bind the critical site within the BTB groove. This compound could induce expression of BCL6 target genes and kill BCL6-positive DLBCL cell lines. In xenotransplantation experiments, the compound was nontoxic and potently suppressed DLBCL tumors in vivo. The compound also killed primary DLBCLs from human patients.
    Cancer cell 04/2010; 17(4):400-11. · 25.29 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
510.84 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • Monash University (Australia)
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 2008–2013
    • Weill Cornell Medical College
      • • Division of Hematology/Medical Oncology
      • • Division of Hospital Medicine
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2012
    • Harvard Medical School
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2010–2011
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2008–2010
    • Cornell University
      • Department of Medicine
      Ithaca, NY, United States
  • 2005–2010
    • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
      • Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2009
    • Neural Stem Cell Institute
      Rensselaer, New York, United States