[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pluripotent stem cells are derived from culture of early embryos or the germline and can be induced by reprogramming of somatic cells. Barriers to reprogramming that stabilize the differentiated state and have tumor suppression functions are expected to exist. However, we have a limited understanding of what such barriers might be. To find novel barriers to reprogramming to pluripotency, we compared the transcriptional profiles of the mouse germline with pluripotent and somatic cells, in vivo and in vitro. There is a remarkable global expression of the transcriptional program for pluripotency in primordial germ cells (PGCs). We identify parallels between PGC reprogramming to pluripotency and human germ cell tumorigenesis, including the loss of LATS2, a tumor suppressor kinase of the Hippo pathway. We show that knockdown of LATS2 increases the efficiency of induction of pluripotency in human cells. LATS2 RNAi, unlike p53 RNAi, specifically enhances the generation of fully reprogrammed iPS cells without accelerating cell proliferation. We further show that LATS2 represses reprogramming in human cells by post-transcriptionally antagonizing TAZ but not YAP, two downstream effectors of the Hippo pathway. These results reveal transcriptional parallels between germ cell transformation and the generation of iPS cells and indicate that the Hippo pathway constitutes a barrier to cellular reprogramming.
Human Molecular Genetics 02/2012; 21(9):2054-67. DOI:10.1093/hmg/dds023 · 6.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] 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.