[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: After a spermatozoon enters an oocyte, maternal factors accumulated in the oocyte reprogram the genomes of the terminally differentiated oocyte and spermatozoon epigenetically and turn the zygote into a totipotent cell, with the capacity to differentiate into all types of somatic cells in a highly organized manner and generate the entire organism, a feature referred to as totipotency. Differentiation of the first lineage begins after three cleavages, when the early embryo compacts and becomes polarized, followed by segregation of the first lineages-the inner cell mass (ICM) and the trophectoderm (TE). To date, a full understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the establishment of totipotency and the ICM/TE lineage segregation remains unclear. In this review, we discuss recent findings in the mechanism of transcriptional regulation networks and signaling pathways in the first lineage separation in the totipotent mouse embryo.
No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Current Topics in Developmental Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adenoviral early region 1A (E1A) is a viral gene that can promote cellular proliferation and de-differentiation in mammalian cells, features required for the reprogramming of somatic cells to a pluripotent state. E1A has been shown to interact with OCT4, and as a consequence, to increase OCT4 transcriptional activity. Indeed, E1A and OCT4 are sufficient to revert neuroepithelial hybrids to pluripotency, as demonstrated in previous cell fusion experiments. However, the role that E1A might play in the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has not been investigated yet. In this report, we show that E1A can generate iPSCs in combination with OCT4 and KLF4, thus replacing exogenous SOX2. The generated iPSCs are bona fide pluripotent cells as shown by in vitro and in vivo tests. Overall, our study suggests that E1A might replace SOX2 through enhancing OCT4 transcriptional activity at the early stages of reprogramming.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Scientific Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiac induction requires stepwise integration of BMP and WNT pathway activity. Human embryonic
stem cells (hESCs) are developmentally and clinically relevant for studying the poorly understood
molecular mechanisms downstream of these cascades. We show that BMP and WNT signaling drive
cardiac specification by removing sequential roadblocks that otherwise redirect hESC differentiation
toward competing fates, rather than activating a cardiac program per se. First, BMP and WNT signals
pattern mesendoderm through cooperative repression of SOX2, a potent mesoderm antagonist.
BMP signaling promotes miRNA-877 maturation to induce SOX2 mRNA degradation, while
WNT-driven EOMES induction transcriptionally represses SOX2. Following mesoderm formation,
cardiac differentiation requires inhibition of WNT activity. We found that WNT inhibition serves
to restrict expression of anti-cardiac regulators MSX1 and CDX2/1. Conversely, their simultaneous
disruption partially abrogates the requirement for WNT inactivation. These results suggest that human
cardiac induction depends on multi-stage repression of alternate lineages, with implications
for deriving expandable cardiac stem cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Somatic cells can be reprogrammed to pluripotency using different methods. In comparison with pluripotent cells obtained through somatic nuclear transfer, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) exhibit a higher number of epigenetic errors. Furthermore, most of these abnormalities have been described to be intrinsic to the iPSC technology. Here, we investigate whether the aberrant epigenetic patterns detected in iPSCs are specific to transcription factor-mediated reprogramming. We used germline stem cells (GSCs), which are the only adult cell type that can be converted into pluripotent cells (gPSCs) under defined culture conditions, and compared GSC-derived iPSCs and gPSCs at the transcriptional and epigenetic level. Our results show that both reprogramming methods generate indistinguishable states of pluripotency. GSC-derived iPSCs and gPSCs retained similar levels of donor cell-type memory and exhibited comparable numbers of reprogramming errors. Therefore, our study demonstrates that the epigenetic abnormalities detected in iPSCs are not specific to transcription factor-mediated reprogramming.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pluripotency represents a cell state comprising a fine-tuned pattern of transcription factor activity required for embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal. TBX3 is the earliest expressed member of the T-box transcription factor family and is involved in maintenance and induction of pluripotency. Hence, TBX3 is believed to be a key member of the pluripotency circuitry, with loss of TBX3 coinciding with loss of pluripotency. We report a dynamic expression of TBX3 in vitro and in vivo using genetic reporter tools tracking TBX3 expression in mouse ESCs (mESCs). Low TBX3 levels are associated with reduced pluripotency, resembling the more mature epiblast. Notably, TBX3-low cells maintain the intrinsic capability to switch to a TBX3-high state and vice versa. Additionally, we show TBX3 to be dispensable for induction and maintenance of naive pluripotency as well as for germ cell development. These data highlight novel facets of TBX3 action in mESCs.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Stem Cell Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability to generate integration-free induced hepatocyte-like cells (iHeps) from somatic fibroblasts has the potential to advance their clinical application. Here, we have generated integration-free, functional, and expandable iHeps from mouse somatic fibroblasts. To elicit this direct conversion, we took advantage of an oriP/EBNA1-based episomal system to deliver a set of transcription factors, Gata4, Hnf1a, and Foxa3, to the fibroblasts. The established iHeps exhibit similar morphology, marker expression, and functional properties to primary hepatocytes. Furthermore, integration-free iHeps prolong the survival of fumarylacetoacetate-hydrolase-deficient (Fah -/-) mice after cell transplantation. Our study provides a novel concept for generating functional and expandable iHeps using a non-viral, non-integrating, plasmid-based system that could facilitate their pharmaceutical and biomedical application.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transcription factors OCT4 and SOX2 are required for generating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and for maintaining embryonic stem cells (ESCs). OCT4 and SOX2 associate and bind to DNA in different configurations depending on the arrangement of their individual DNA binding elements. Here we have investigated the role of the different OCT4-SOX2-DNA assemblies in regulating and inducing pluripotency. To this end, we have generated SOX2 mutants that interfere with specific OCT4-SOX2 heterodimer configurations and assessed their ability to generate iPSCs and to rescue ESC self-renewal. Our results demonstrate that the OCT4-SOX2 configuration that dimerizes on a Hoxb1-like composite, a canonical element with juxtaposed individual binding sites, plays a more critical role in the induction and maintenance of pluripotency than any other OCT4-SOX2 configuration. Overall, the results of this study provide new insight into the protein interactions required to establish a de novo pluripotent network and to maintain a true pluripotent cell fate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several mouse pluripotent stem cell types have been established either from mouse blastocysts and epiblasts. Among these, embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are considered to represent a “naïve”, epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs) a “primed” pluripotent state. Although EpiSCs form derivatives of all three germ layers during in
vitro differentiation, they rarely incorporate into the inner cell mass of blastocysts and rarely contribute to chimera formation following blastocyst injection. Here we successfully established homogeneous population of EpiSC lines with efficient chimera-forming capability using a medium containing fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-4. The expression levels of Rex1 and Nanog was very low although Oct4 level is comparable to ESCs. EpiSCs also expressed higher levels of epiblast markers, such as Cer1, Eomes, Fgf5, Sox17, and T, and further showed complete DNA methylation of Stella and Dppa5 promoters. However, the EpiSCs were clustered separately from E3 and T9 EpiSC lines and showed a completely different global gene expression pattern to ESCs. Furthermore, the EpiSCs were able to differentiate into all three germ layers in vitro and efficiently formed teratomas and chimeric embryos (21.4%) without germ-line contribution.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Scientific Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Direct reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotent stem cells entails the obliteration of somatic cell memory and the reestablishment of epigenetic events. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have been created by reprogramming somatic cells through the transduction of reprogramming factors. During cell reprogramming, female somatic cells must overcome at least one more barrier than male somatic cells in order to enter a pluripotent state, as they must reactivate an inactive X chromosome (Xi). In this study, we investigated whether the sex of somatic cells affects reprogramming efficiency, differentiation potential, and the post-transcriptional processing of Xist RNA after reprogramming. There were no differences between male and female iPS cells with respect to reprogramming efficiency or their differentiation potential in vivo. However, reactivating Xi took longer than reactivating pluripotency-related genes. We also found that direct reprogramming leads to gender appropriate posttranscriptional reprogramming: like male embryonic stem (ES) cells, male iPS cells expressed only the long Xist isoform, whereas female iPS cells, like female ES cells, expressed both the long and short isoforms.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Cell Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aims:
To study the mechanisms of pluripotency induction, we compared gene expression in pluripotent embryonic germ cells (EGCs) and unipotent primordial germ cells (PGCs).
We found 11 genes ≥1.5-fold overexpressed in EGCs. None of the genes identified was the Yamanaka genes but instead related to glycolytic metabolism. The prospect of pluripotency induction by cell metabolism manipulation was investigated by hypoxic culturing. Hypoxia induced a glycolytic program in PGCs in detriment of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. We demonstrate that hypoxia alone induces reprogramming in PGCs, giving rise to hypoxia-induced EGC-like cells (hiEGLs), which differentiate into cells of the three germ layers in vitro and contribute to the internal cell mass of the blastocyst in vivo, demonstrating pluripotency. The mechanism of hypoxia induction involves HIF1α stabilization and Oct4 deregulation. However, hiEGL cannot be passaged long term. Self-renewal capacity is not achieved by hypoxia likely due to the lack of upregulation of c-Myc and Klf4. Gene expression analysis of hypoxia signaling suggests that hiEGLs have not reached the stabilization phase of cell reprogramming.
Innovation and conclusion:
Our data suggest that the two main properties of stemness, pluripotency and self-renewal, are differentially regulated in PGC reprogramming induced by hypoxia.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Antioxidants and Redox Signaling
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epigenetic memory in induced pluripotent stem cells, with regards to their somatic cell type of origin, might lead to variations in their differentiation capacities. In this context, induced pluripotent stem cells from human CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells might be more suitable for hematopoietic differentiation than commonly used fibroblast-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. To investigate the influence of an epigenetic memory on the ex vivo expansion of induced pluripotent stem cells into erythroid cells, we compared induced pluripotent stem cells from human neural stem cells and human cord blood-derived CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells and evaluated their potential for differentiation into hematopoietic progenitor and mature red blood cells. Although genome-wide DNA methylation profiling at all promoter regions demonstrates an epigenetic memory of induced pluripotent stem cells with regards to their somatic cell type of origin, we found a similar hematopoietic induction potential and erythroid differentiation pattern. All human induced pluripotent stem cell lines showed terminal maturation into normoblasts and enucleated reticulocytes, producing predominantly fetal hemoglobin. Differences were only observed in the growth rate of erythroid cells, which was slightly higher in the CD34+ hematopoietic stem cell-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. More detailed methylation analysis of the hematopoietic and erythrocyte promoters identified similar CpG methylation levels in the CD34+-derived and neural stem cell-derived induced pluripotent stem cell lines, which confirms their comparable erythroid differentiation potential.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spinal cord does not spontaneously regenerate, and treatment that ensures functional recovery after spinal cord injury
(SCI) is still not available. Recently, fibroblasts have been directly converted into induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) by
the forced expression defined transcription factors. Although directly converted iNSCs have been considered to be a cell source
for clinical applications, their therapeutic potential has not yet been investigated. Here we show that iNSCs directly converted
from mouse fibroblasts enhance the functional recovery of SCI animals. Engrafted iNSCs could differentiate into all neuronal
lineages, including different subtypes of mature neurons. Furthermore, iNSC-derived neurons could form synapses with host
neurons, thus enhancing the locomotor function recovery. A time course analysis of iNSC-treated SCI animals revealed that
engrafted iNSCs effectively reduced the inflammatory response and apoptosis in the injured area. iNSC transplantation also
promoted the active regeneration of the endogenous recipient environment in the absence of tumor formation. Therefore, our
data suggest that directly converted iNSCs hold therapeutic potential for treatment of SCI and may thus represent a promising
cell source for transplantation therapy in patients with SCI.
No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Owing to the inherent disconnect between drug pharmacology in heterologous cellular models and drug efficacy in vivo, the quest for more predictive in vitro systems is one of the most urgent challenges of modern drug discovery. An improved pharmacological in vitro profiling would employ primary samples of the proper drug-targeted human tissue or the bona fide human disease-relevant cells. With the advent of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology the facilitated access to a variety of disease-relevant target cells is now held out in prospect. In this review, we focus on the use of human iPS cell derived neurons for high throughput pharmaceutical drug screening, employing detection technologies that are sufficiently sensitive to measure signaling in cells with physiological target protein expression levels.
No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Trends in Pharmacological Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Differentiated cells can be converted directly into multipotent neural stem cells (i.e., induced neural stem cells [iNSCs]). iNSCs offer an attractive alternative to induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology with regard to regenerative therapies. Here, we show an in vivo long-term analysis of transplanted iNSCs in the adult mouse brain. iNSCs showed sound in vivo long-term survival rates without graft overgrowths. The cells displayed a neural multilineage potential with a clear bias toward astrocytes and a permanent downregulation of progenitor and cell-cycle markers, indicating that iNSCs are not predisposed to tumor formation. Furthermore, the formation of synaptic connections as well as neuronal and glial electrophysiological properties demonstrated that differentiated iNSCs migrated, functionally integrated, and interacted with the existing neuronal circuitry. We conclude that iNSC long-term transplantation is a safe procedure; moreover, it might represent an interesting tool for future personalized regenerative applications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The differentiation capability of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) toward certain cell types for disease modeling and drug screening assays might be influenced by their somatic cell of origin. Here, we have compared the neural induction of human iPSCs generated from fetal neural stem cells (fNSCs), dermal fibroblasts, or cord blood CD34(+) hematopoietic progenitor cells. Neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and neurons could be generated at similar efficiencies from all iPSCs. Transcriptomics analysis of the whole genome and of neural genes revealed a separation of neuroectoderm-derived iPSC-NPCs from mesoderm-derived iPSC-NPCs. Furthermore, we found genes that were similarly expressed in fNSCs and neuroectoderm, but not in mesoderm-derived iPSC-NPCs. Notably, these neural signatures were retained after transplantation into the cortex of mice and paralleled with increased survival of neuroectoderm-derived cells in vivo. These results indicate distinct origin-dependent neural cell identities in differentiated human iPSCs both in vitro and in vivo.