[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reactivation of the endogenous telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) catalytic subunit and telomere elongation occur during the reprogramming of somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. However, the role of TERT in the reprogramming process is unclear. To clarify its function, the reprogramming process was examined in TERT-KO somatic cells. To exclude the effect of telomere elongation, tail-tip fibroblasts (TTFs) from first generation TERT-KO mice were used. Although iPS cells were successfully generated from TERT-KO TTFs, the efficiency of reprogramming of these cells was markedly lower than that of WT TTFs. The gene expression profiles of iPS cells induced from TERT-KO TTFs were similar to those of WT iPS cells and ES cells, and TERT-KO iPS cells formed teratomas that differentiated into all three germ layers. These data indicate that TERT plays an extratelomeric role in the reprogramming process but its function is dispensable. However, TERT-KO iPS cells showed transient defects in growth and teratoma formation during continuous growth. In addition, TERT-KO iPS cells developed chromosome fusions that accumulated with increasing passage numbers, consistent with the fact that TERT is essential for the maintenance of genome structure and stability in iPS cells. In a rescue experiment, an enzymatically inactive mutant of TERT (D702A) had a positive effect on somatic cell reprogramming of TERT-KO TTFs, which confirmed the extratelomeric role of TERT in this process.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nucleostemin is a nucleolar protein known to play a variety of roles in cell-cycle progression, apoptosis inhibition, and DNA damage protection in embryonic stem cells and tissue stem cells. However, the role of nucleostemin in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) is yet to be determined. Here, we identified an indispensable role of nucleostemin in mouse HSCs. Depletion of nucleostemin using short hairpin RNA strikingly impaired the self-renewal activity of HSCs both in vitro and in vivo. Consistently, loss of nucleostemin triggered apoptosis rather than cell-cycle arrest in HSCs. Furthermore, DNA damage accumulated during cultivation upon depletion of nucleostemin. The impaired self-renewal activity of HSCs induced by nucleostemin depletion was partially rescued by p53 deficiency but not by p16(Ink4a) or p19(Arf) deficiency. Taken together, our study demonstrates that nucleostemin protects HSCs from DNA damage accumulation and is required for the maintenance of HSCs.
No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are unipotent cells committed to germ lineage: PGCs can only differentiate into gametes in vivo. However, upon fertilization, germ cells acquire the capacity to differentiate into all cell types in the body, including germ cells. Therefore, germ cells are thought to have the potential for pluripotency. PGCs can convert to pluripotent stem cells in vitro when cultured under specific conditions that include bFGF, LIF, and the membrane-bound form of SCF (mSCF). Here, the culture conditions which efficiently convert PGCs to pluripotent embryonic germ (EG) cells are described, as well as methods used for identifying pluripotent candidate cells during culture.
No preview · Article · May 2013 · Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Considering the similarities between the transcriptional programming involved in cancer progression and somatic cell reprogramming, we tried to identify drugs that would be effective against malignant cancers. We used the EOS (Early transposon Oct4 and Sox2 enhancer) system to select human prostate cancer (PCA) cells expressing high levels of OCT4. Patients with metastatic castration-resistant PCA that does not respond to treatment with docetaxel have few therapeutic options. Indeed, the OCT4-expressing PCA cells selected using the EOS system showed increased tumorigenicity and high resistance to docetaxel, both in vitro and in vivo. By using their gene expression data, expression signature-based prediction for compound candidates identified an anti-viral drug, ribavirin, as a conversion modulator from drug-resistance to sensitivity. Treatment of PCA cells with ribavirin decreased their resistance against treatment with docetaxel. This indicated that ribavirin reversed the gene expression, including that of humoral factors, in the OCT4-expressing PCA cells selected using the EOS system. Thereby, ribavirin increased the efficacy of docetaxel for cancer cells. We propose a novel cell reprogramming approach, named Drug Efficacy Reprogramming, as a new model for identifying candidate anti-tumor drugs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Germ cells are similar to pluripotent stem cells in terms of gene expression patterns and the capacity to convert to pluripotent stem cells in culture. The factors involved in germ cell development are also able to reprogram somatic cells. This suggests that germ cells are useful tools for investigating the mechanisms responsible for somatic cell reprogramming. In this study, the expression of reprogramming factors in primordial germ cells (PGCs) was analyzed. PGCs expressed Oct3/4, Sox2 and c-Myc, but not Klf4. However, Klf2, Klf5, Essrb, or Essrg, which were expressed in PGCs, could compensate for Klf4 during somatic cell reprogramming. Furthermore, PGCs could be converted to a pluripotent state by infection with any of the known reprogramming factors (Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc). These cells were designated as multipotent PGCs (mPGCs). Contrary to differences in the origins of somatic cells in somatic cell reprogramming, we hypothesized that the gene expression levels of the reprogramming factors would vary in mPGCs. Candidate genes involved in the regulation of tumorigenicity and/or reprogramming efficiency were identified by comparing the gene expression profiles of mPGCs generated by the exogenous expression of c-Myc or L-Myc.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Defining the metabolic programs that underlie stem cell maintenance will be essential for developing strategies to manipulate stem cell capacity. Mammalian hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) maintain cell cycle quiescence in a hypoxic microenvironment. It has been proposed that HSCs exhibit a distinct metabolic phenotype under these conditions. Here we directly investigated this idea using metabolomic analysis and found that HSCs generate adenosine-5'-triphosphate by anaerobic glycolysis through a pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (Pdk)-dependent mechanism. Elevated Pdk expression leads to active suppression of the influx of glycolytic metabolites into mitochondria. Pdk overexpression in glycolysis-defective HSCs restored glycolysis, cell cycle quiescence, and stem cell capacity, while loss of both Pdk2 and Pdk4 attenuated HSC quiescence, glycolysis, and transplantation capacity. Moreover, treatment of HSCs with a Pdk mimetic promoted their survival and transplantation capacity. Thus, glycolytic metabolic status governed by Pdk acts as a cell cycle checkpoint that modulates HSC quiescence and function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The epigenetic status of germ cells changes dynamically during development. In this study, we analyzed the dynamics of histone H3 lysine 9 dimethylation (H3K9me2), a highly conserved mark of epigenetic silencing, and the expression of 2 lysine methyltransferases, G9a/Ehmt2/KMT1C and GLP/Ehmt1/KMT1D, in murine male embryonic germ cells after sex determination. Our previous studies have established that G9a and GLP are the primary enzymes for H3K9me2, and predominantly exist as a G9a-GLP heteromeric complex that appears to be a functional H3K9 methyltransferase in vivo. During the embryonic developmental stages E13.5 to E18.5 in mice, gonadal H3K9me2 levels were substantially lower in germ cells than in cells of non-germ lineage. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that during this phase in development, GLP but not G9a level was also significantly lower in male germ cells. However, GLP mRNA was present in E13 and E16 male germ cells, with levels similar to those in cells of non-germ lineage. Interestingly, GLP is upregulated in embryonic male germ cells deficient for Nanos2, which encodes a germ cell-specific RNA-binding protein. Our data suggest that GLP protein expression is posttranscriptionally regulated in murine embryonic male germ cells after sex determination and that low H3K9me2 level results from the absence of GLP (severe reduction of the G9a-GLP heteromeric complex).
No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Biology of Reproduction
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Somatic cell reprogramming is achieved by four reprogramming transcription factors (RTFs), Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc. However, in addition to the induction of pluripotent cells, these RTFs also generate pseudo-pluripotent cells, which do not show Nanog promoter activity. Therefore, it should be possible to fine-tune the RTFs to produce only fully pluripotent cells. For this study, a tagging system was developed to sort induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells according to the expression levels of each of the four RTFs. Using this system, the most effective ratio (Oct3/4-high, Sox2-low, Klf4-high, c-Myc-high) of the RTFs was 88 times more efficient at producing iPS cells than the worst effective ratio (Oct3/4-low, Sox2-high, Klf4-low, c-Myc-low). Among the various RTF combinations, Oct3/4-high and Sox2-low produced the most efficient results. To investigate the molecular basis, microarray analysis was performed on iPS cells generated under high (Oct3/4-high and Sox2-low) and low (Oct3/4-low and Sox2-high) efficiency reprogramming conditions. Pathway analysis revealed that the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) pathway was up-regulated significantly under the high efficiency condition and treatment with the chemokine, C-C motif ligand 2, a member of the GPCR family, enhanced somatic cell reprogramming 12.3 times. Furthermore, data from the analysis of the signature gene expression profiles of mouse embryonic fibroblasts at 2 days after RTF infection revealed that the genetic modifier, Whsc1l1 (variant 1), also improved the efficiency of somatic cell reprogramming. Finally, comparison of the overall gene expression profiles between the high and low efficiency conditions will provide novel insights into mechanisms underlying somatic cell reprogramming.
No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To understand mechanisms underlying acquisition of pluripotency, it is critical to identify cells that can be converted to pluripotent stem cells. For this purpose, we focused on unipotent primordial germ cells (PGCs), which can be reprogrammed into pluripotent embryonic germ (EG) cells under defined conditions. Treatment of PGCs with combinations of signaling inhibitors, including inhibitors of MAP2K (MEK), GSK3B (GSK-3beta), and TGFB (TGFbeta) type 1 receptors, induced cells to enter a pluripotent state at a high frequency (12.1%) by Day 10 of culture. When we employed fluorescence-activated cell sorting to monitor conversion of candidate cells to a pluripotent state, we observed a cell cycle shift to S phase, indicating enrichment of pluripotent cells, during the early phase of EG formation. Transcriptome analysis revealed that PGCs retained expression of some pluripotent stem cell-associated genes, such as Pou5f1 and Sox2, during EG cell formation. On the other hand, PGCs lost their germ lineage characteristics and acquired expression of pluripotent stem cell markers, such as Klf4 and Eras. The overall gene expression profiles revealed by this system provide novel insight into how pluripotency is acquired in germ-committed cells.
Preview · Article · Mar 2012 · Biology of Reproduction
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Germ cells possess the unique ability to acquire totipotency during development in vivo as well as give rise to pluripotent stem cells under the appropriate conditions in vitro. Recent studies in which somatic cells were experimentally converted into pluripotent stem cells revealed that genes expressed
in primordial germ cells (PGCs), such as Oct3/4, Sox2, and Lin28, are involved in this reprogramming. These findings suggest that PGCs may be useful for identifying factors that successfully
and efficiently reprogram somatic cells into toti- and/or pluripotent stem cells. Here, we show that Blimp-1, Prdm14, and Prmt5, each of which is crucial for PGC development, have the potential to reprogram somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells.
Among them, Prmt5 exhibited remarkable reprogramming of mouse embryonic fibroblasts into which Prmt5, Klf4, and Oct3/4 were introduced. The resulting cells exhibited pluripotent gene expression, teratoma formation, and germline transmission
in chimeric mice, all of which were indistinguishable from those induced with embryonic stem cells. These data indicate that
some of the factors that play essential roles in germ cell development are also active in somatic cell reprogramming.
Preview · Article · Mar 2011 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During cell division, one of the major features of somatic cell reprogramming by defined factors, cells are potentially exposed to DNA damage. Inactivation of the tumor suppressor gene p53 raised reprogramming efficiency but resulted in an increased number of abnormal chromosomes in established iPS cells. Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM), which is critical in the cellular response to DNA double-strand breaks, may also play an important role during reprogramming. To clarify the function of ATM in somatic cell reprogramming, we investigated reprogramming in ATM-deficient (ATM-KO) tail-tip fibroblasts (TTFs). Although reprogramming efficiency was greatly reduced in ATM-KO TTFs, ATM-KO iPS cells were successfully generated and showed the same proliferation activity as WT iPS cells. ATM-KO iPS cells had a gene expression profile similar to ES cells and WT iPS cells, and had the capacity to differentiate into all three germ layers. On the other hand, ATM-KO iPS cells accumulated abnormal genome structures upon continuous passages. Even with the abnormal karyotype, ATM-KO iPS cells retained pluripotent cell characteristics for at least 20 passages. These data indicate that ATM does participate in the reprogramming process, although its role is not essential.
No preview · Article · Mar 2011 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nucleostemin (NS) gene encodes a nucleolar protein found at high levels in several types of stem cells and tumor cell lines. The function of NS is unclear but it may play a critical role in S-phase entry by stem/progenitor cells. Here we characterize NS expression in murine male germ cells. Although NS protein was highly expressed in the nucleoli of all primordial germ cells, only a limited number of gonocytes showed NS expression in neonatal testes. In adult testes, NS protein was expressed at high levels in the nucleoli of spermatogonia and primary spermatocytes but at only low levels in round spermatids. To evaluate the properties of cells expressing high levels of NS, we generated transgenic reporter mice expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of the NS promoter (NS-GFP Tg mice). In adult NS-GFP Tg testes, GFP and endogenous NS protein expression were correlated in spermatogonia and spermatocytes but GFP was also ectopically expressed in elongated spermatids and sperm. In testes of NS-GFP Tg embryos, neonates, and 10-day-old pups, however, GFP expression closely coincided with endogenous NS expression in developing germ cells. In contrast to a previous report, our results support the existence in neonatal testes of spermatogonial stem cells with long-term repopulating capacity. Furthermore, our data show that NS expression does not correlate with cell-cycle status during prepuberty, and that strong NS expression is essential for the maintenance of germline stem cell proliferation capacity. We conclude that NS is a marker of undifferentiated status in the germ cell lineage during prepubertal spermatogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian spermatogenesis is maintained by stem cell capacity within undifferentiated spermatogonial subpopulation. Here, using a combination of surface markers, we describe a purification method for undifferentiated spermatogonia. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that this population is composed of Plzf-positive cells and exhibits quiescence and the side population phenotype, fulfilling general stem cell criteria. We then applied this method to analyze undifferentiated spermatogonia and stem cell activity of Atm(-/-) mice. Atm(-/-) testis shows progressive depletion of undifferentiated spermatogonia accompanied by cell-cycle arrest. In Atm(-/-) undifferentiated spermatogonia, a self-renewal defect was observed in vitro and in vivo. Accumulation of DNA damage and activation of the p19(Arf)-p53-p21(Cip1/Waf1) pathway were observed in Atm(-/-) undifferentiated spermatogonia. Moreover, suppression of p21(Cip1/Waf1) in an Atm(-/-) background restored transplantation ability of undifferentiated spermatogonia, indicating that ATM plays an essential role in maintenance of undifferentiated spermatogonia and their stem cell capacity by suppressing DNA damage-induced cell-cycle arrest.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lifelong spermatogenesis is maintained by coordinated sequential processes including self-renewal of stem cells, proliferation of spermatogonial cells, meiotic division, and spermiogenesis. It has been shown that ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) is required for meiotic division of the seminiferous tubules. Here, we show that, in addition to its role in meiosis, ATM has a pivotal role in premeiotic germ cell maintenance. ATM is activated in premeiotic spermatogonial cells and the Atm-null testis shows progressive degeneration. In Atm-null testicular cells, differing from bone marrow cells of Atm-null mice, reactive oxygen species-mediated p16(Ink4a) activation does not occur in Atm-null premeiotic germ cells, which suggests the involvement of different signaling pathways from bone marrow defects. Although Atm-null bone marrow undergoes p16(Ink4a)-mediated cellular senescence program, Atm-null premeiotic germ cells exhibited cell cycle arrest and apoptotic elimination of premeiotic germ cells, which is different from p16(Ink4a)-mediated senescence.
No preview · Article · Jan 2007 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stem cells are maintained in an undifferentiated state by interacting with a microenvironment known as the “niche,” which
is comprised of various secreted and membrane proteins. Our goal was to identify niche molecules participating in stem cell-stem
cell and/or stem cell-supporting cell interactions. Here, we isolated genes encoding secreted and membrane proteins from purified
male germ stem cells using a signal sequence trap approach. Among the genes identified, we focused on the junctional adhesion
molecule 4 (JAM4), an immunoglobulin type cell adhesion molecule. JAM4 protein was actually localized to the plasma membrane
in male germ cells. JAM4 expression was downregulated as cells differentiated in both germ cell and hematopoietic cell lineages.
To analyze function in vivo, we generated JAM4-deficient mice. Histological analysis of testes from homozygous nulls did not
show obvious abnormalities, nor did liver and kidney tissues, both of which strongly express JAM4. The numbers of hematopoietic
stem cells in bone marrow were indistinguishable between wild-type and mutant mice, as was male germ cell development. These
results suggest that JAM4 is expressed in stem cells and progenitor cells but that other cell adhesion molecules may substitute
for JAM4 function in JAM4-deficient mice both in male germ cell and hematopoietic lineages.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2006 · Molecular and Cellular Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian spermatogenesis is maintained by a continuous supply of differentiating cells from self-renewing stem cells. The stem cell activity resides in a small subset of primitive germ cells, the undifferentiated spermatogonia. However, the relationship between the establishment of this population and the initiation of differentiation in the developing testes remains unclear. In this study, we have investigated this issue by using the unique expression of Ngn3, which is expressed specifically in the undifferentiated spermatogonia, but not in the differentiating spermatogonia or their progenitors, the gonocytes. Our lineage analyses demonstrate that the first round of mouse spermatogenesis initiates directly from gonocytes, without passing through the Ngn3-expressing stage (Ngn3- lineage). By contrast, the subsequent rounds of spermatogenesis are derived from Ngn3-positive undifferentiated spermatogonia, which are also immediate descendents of the gonocytes and represent the stem cell function (Ngn3+ lineage). Thus, in mouse spermatogenesis, the state of the undifferentiated spermatogonia is not an inevitable step but is a developmental option that ensures continuous sperm production. In addition, the segregation of gonocytes into undifferentiated spermatogonia (Ngn3+ lineage) or differentiating spermatogonia (Ngn3- lineage) is topographically related to the establishment of the seminiferous epithelial cycle, thus suggesting a role of somatic components in the establishment of stem cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Questions persist regarding male germ stem cells and how they mature during the prespermatogenic period of testicular development. We successfully labeled the prespermatogonia with green fluorescence protein (GFP) by using Oct-4 enhancer/promoter. This study shows that GFP was specifically expressed in prespermatogonia, spermatogonia and spermatids that faithfully reproduce the endogenous expression of Oct-4. Histochemical analysis revealed that most of the TRA98-positive gonocytes are also positive for GFP. However, the frequency of GFP expressing cells out of TRA98 expressing cells decreased together with the maturation of gonocytes in the first week after birth. To compare the stem cell activity between GFP-positive and -negative populations, we performed a transplantation of sorted cells into testes from an individual population. Colonization efficiency of germ cells from a GFP-positive population resulted in a 30-fold increase in colonization compared with a GFP-negative population. Since the expression of Oct-4 in prespermtogonia correlates well with the stem activity, Oct-4 might be a crucial molecule in the stem cell property of spermatogonia but not in cell survival.
No preview · Article · Dec 2004 · Archives of Histology and Cytology