[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human embryonic stem (hES) cells activate a rapid apoptotic response after DNA damage but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. A critical mediator of apoptosis is Bax, which is reported to become active and translocate to the mitochondria only after apoptotic stimuli. Here we show that undifferentiated hES cells constitutively maintain Bax in its active conformation. Surprisingly, active Bax was maintained at the Golgi rather than at the mitochondria, thus allowing hES cells to effectively minimize the risks associated with having preactivated Bax. After DNA damage, active Bax rapidly translocated to the mitochondria by a p53-dependent mechanism. Interestingly, upon differentiation, Bax was no longer active, and cells were not acutely sensitive to DNA damage. Thus, maintenance of Bax in its active form is a unique mechanism that can prime hES cells for rapid death, likely to prevent the propagation of mutations during the early critical stages of embryonic development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are primed for rapid apoptosis following mild forms of genotoxic stress. A natural form of such cellular stress occurs in response to recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) single-strand DNA genomes, which exploit the host DNA damage response for replication and genome persistence. Herein, we discovered a unique DNA damage response induced by rAAV transduction specific to pluripotent hESCs. Within hours following rAAV transduction, host DNA damage signaling was elicited as measured by increased gamma-H2AX, ser15-p53 phosphorylation, and subsequent p53-dependent transcriptional activation. Nucleotide incorporation assays demonstrated that rAAV transduced cells accumulated in early S-phase followed by the induction of apoptosis. This lethal signaling sequalae required p53 in a manner independent of transcriptional induction of Puma, Bax and Bcl-2 and was not evident in cells differentiated towards a neural lineage. Consistent with a lethal DNA damage response induced upon rAAV transduction of hESCs, empty AAV protein capsids demonstrated no toxicity. In contrast, DNA microinjections demonstrated that the minimal AAV origin of replication and, in particular, a 40 nucleotide G-rich tetrad repeat sequence, was sufficient for hESC apoptosis. Our data support a model in which rAAV transduction of hESCs induces a p53-dependent lethal response that is elicited by a telomeric sequence within the AAV origin of replication.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(11):e27520. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the remarkable regenerative capacity of mammalian skin, an adult dermal stem cell has not yet been identified. Here, we investigated whether skin-derived precursors (SKPs) might fulfill such a role. We show that SKPs derive from Sox2(+) hair follicle dermal cells and that these two cell populations are similar with regard to their transcriptome and functional properties. Both clonal SKPs and endogenous Sox2(+) cells induce hair morphogenesis, differentiate into dermal cell types, and home to a hair follicle niche upon transplantation. Moreover, hair follicle-derived SKPs self-renew, maintain their multipotency, and serially reconstitute hair follicles. Finally, grafting experiments show that follicle-associated dermal cells move out of their niche to contribute cells for dermal maintenance and wound-healing. Thus, SKPs derive from Sox2(+) follicle-associated dermal precursors and display functional properties predicted of a dermal stem cell, contributing to dermal maintenance, wound-healing, and hair follicle morphogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Approximately 10% of humans with anophthalmia (absent eye) or severe microphthalmia (small eye) show haploid insufficiency due to mutations in SOX2, a SOXB1-HMG box transcription factor. However, at present, the molecular or cellular mechanisms responsible for these conditions are poorly understood. Here, we directly assessed the requirement for SOX2 during eye development by generating a gene-dosage allelic series of Sox2 mutations in the mouse. The Sox2 mutant mice display a range of eye phenotypes consistent with human syndromes and the severity of these phenotypes directly relates to the levels of SOX2 expression found in progenitor cells of the neural retina. Retinal progenitor cells with conditionally ablated Sox2 lose competence to both proliferate and terminally differentiate. In contrast, in Sox2 hypomorphic/null mice, a reduction of SOX2 expression to <40% of normal causes variable microphthalmia as a result of aberrant neural progenitor differentiation. Furthermore, we provide genetic and molecular evidence that SOX2 activity, in a concentration-dependent manner, plays a key role in the regulation of the NOTCH1 signaling pathway in retinal progenitor cells. Collectively, these results show that precise regulation of SOX2 dosage is critical for temporal and spatial regulation of retinal progenitor cell differentiation and provide a cellular and molecular model for understanding how hypomorphic levels of SOX2 cause retinal defects in humans.
Genes & Development 06/2006; 20(9):1187-202. · 12.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multipotent neural stem cells are present throughout the development of the central nervous system (CNS), persist into adulthood in defined locations and can be derived from more primitive embryonic stem cells. We show that SOX2, an HMG box transcription factor, is expressed in multipotent neural stem cells at all stages of mouse ontogeny. We have generated transgenic mice expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) under the control of the endogenous locus-regulatory regions of the Sox2 gene to prospectively identify neural stem/progenitor cells in vivo and in vitro. Fluorescent cells coexpress SOX2 protein, and EGFP fluorescence is detected in proliferating neural progenitor cells of the entire anterior-posterior axis of the CNS from neural plate stages to adulthood. SOX2-EGFP cells can form neurospheres that can be passaged repeatedly and can differentiate into neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. Moreover, prospective clonal analysis of SOX2-EGFP-positive cells shows that all neurospheres, whether isolated from the embryonic CNS or the adult CNS, express SOX2-EGFP. In contrast, the pattern of SOX2-EGFP expression using randomly integrated Sox2 promoter/reporter construct differs, and neurospheres are heterogeneous for EGFP expression. These studies demonstrate that SOX2 may meet the requirements of a universal neural stem cell marker and provides a means to identify cells which fulfill the basic criteria of a stem cell: self-renewal and multipotent differentiation.