John J Vincent

University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States

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Publications (4)51.78 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Primordial germ cells (PGCs) undergo dramatic rearrangements to their methylome during embryogenesis, including initial genome-wide DNA demethylation that establishes the germline epigenetic ground state. The role of the 5-methylcytosine (5mC) dioxygenases Tet1 and Tet2 in the initial genome-wide DNA demethylation process has not been examined directly. Using PGCs differentiated from either control or Tet2(-/-); Tet1 knockdown embryonic stem cells (ESCs), we show that in vitro PGC (iPGC) formation and genome-wide DNA demethylation are unaffected by the absence of Tet1 and Tet2, and thus 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC). However, numerous promoters and gene bodies were hypermethylated in mutant iPGCs, which is consistent with a role for 5hmC as an intermediate in locus-specific demethylation. Altogether, our results support a revised model of PGC DNA demethylation in which the first phase of comprehensive 5mC loss does not involve 5hmC. Instead, Tet1 and Tet2 have a locus-specific role in shaping the PGC epigenome during subsequent development.
    Cell stem cell 02/2013; · 23.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The generation of research-quality, clinically relevant cell types in vitro from human pluripotent stem cells requires a detailed understanding of the equivalent human cell types. Here we analysed 134 human embryonic and fetal samples from 6 to 20 developmental weeks and identified the stages at which cKIT(+) primordial germ cells (PGCs), the precursors of gametes, undergo whole-genome epigenetic reprogramming with global depletion of 5mC, H3K27me3 and H2A.Z, and the time at which imprint erasure is initiated and 5hmC is present. Using five alternative in vitro differentiation strategies combined with single-cell microfluidic analysis and a bona fide human cKIT(+) PGC signature, we show the stage of cKIT(+) PGC formation in the first 16 days of differentiation. Taken together, our study creates a resource of human germ line ontogeny that is essential for future studies aimed at in vitro differentiation and unveiling the mechanisms necessary to pass human DNA from one generation to the next.
    Nature Cell Biology 12/2012; · 20.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) hold significant promise in regenerative medicine due to their unlimited capacity for self-renewal and potential to differentiate into every cell type in the body. One major barrier to the use of PSCs is their potential risk for tumor initiation following differentiation and transplantation in vivo. In the current study we sought to evaluate the role of the tumor suppressor Pten in murine PSC neoplastic progression. Using eight functional assays that have previously been used to indicate PSC adaptation or transformation, Pten null embryonic stem cells (ESCs) failed to rate as significant in five of them. Instead, our data demonstrate that the loss of Pten causes the emergence of a small number of aggressive, teratoma-initiating embryonic carcinoma cells (ECCs) during differentiation in vitro, while the remaining 90-95% of differentiated cells are non-tumorigenic. Furthermore, our data show that the mechanism by which Pten null ECCs emerge in vitro and cause tumors in vivo is through increased survival and self-renewal, due to failed repression of the transcription factor Nanog.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(1):e16478. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cell intrinsic programming that regulates mammalian primordial germ cell (PGC) development in the pre-gonadal stage is challenging to investigate. To overcome this we created a transgene-free method for generating PGCs in vitro (iPGCs) from mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Using labeling for SSEA1 and cKit, two cell surface molecules used previously to isolate presumptive iPGCs, we show that not all SSEA1+/cKit+ double positive cells exhibit a PGC identity. Instead, we determined that selecting for cKit(bright) cells within the SSEA1+ fraction significantly enriches for the putative iPGC population. Single cell analysis comparing SSEA1+/cKit(bright) iPGCs to ESCs and embryonic PGCs demonstrates that 97% of single iPGCs co-express PGC signature genes Blimp1, Stella, Dnd1, Prdm14 and Dazl at similar levels to e9.5-10.5 PGCs, whereas 90% of single mouse ESC do not co-express PGC signature genes. For the 10% of ESCs that co-express PGC signature genes, the levels are significantly lower than iPGCs. Microarray analysis shows that iPGCs are transcriptionally distinct from ESCs and repress gene ontology groups associated with mesoderm and heart development. At the level of chromatin, iPGCs contain 5-methyl cytosine bases in their DNA at imprinted and non-imprinted loci, and are enriched in histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation, yet do not have detectable levels of Mvh protein, consistent with a Blimp1-positive pre-gonadal PGC identity. In order to determine whether iPGC formation is dependent upon Blimp1, we generated Blimp1 null ESCs and found that loss of Blimp1 significantly depletes SSEA1/cKit(bright) iPGCs. Taken together, the generation of Blimp1-positive iPGCs from ESCs constitutes a robust model for examining cell-intrinsic regulation of PGCs during the Blimp1-positive stage of development.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(12):e28960. · 3.73 Impact Factor