Murine embryonic stem cells synthesize retinoic acid to promote their own spontaneous differentiation
ABSTRACT: Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are derived from blastocyst-stage embryos and are thought to be functionally equivalent to the inner cell mass in their developmental potential. ESCs pluripotency is maintained through a complex interplay of different signaling pathways and a network of transcription factors, which is centered around Oct3/4, Sox2 and Nanog. Although, in general, much is known about this pluripotency self-renewal circuitry, the molecular events that lead ESC to exit from pluripotency and begin differentiation are currently less known. Retinoic acid, an active metabolite of the vitamin A (retinol), plays important and pleiotropic roles in vertebrate embryonic development and ESC differentiation. Here we demonstrate that RA promotes early steps of ESC differentiation, and that ESC increase their capacity to synthesize RA during spontaneous differentiation as embryoid bodies, up-regulating the RA biosynthetic pathway components RDH1, RDH10, ADH3, RALDH2, and CRABP2. Microarray derived from total RNA of mESC not treated or treated with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) for 2 hours.
Project description:Although much is known about the pluripotency self-renewal circuitry, the molecular events that lead embryonic stem cells (ESCs) exit from pluripotency and begin differentiation are largely unknown. We found that the zinc finger transcription factor Snai1, involved in gastrulation and epithelial- mesenchymal transition (EMT) is already expressed in the inner cell mass of the preimplantation blastocysts. In ESCs Snai1 does not respond to TGFα or BMP4 signalling but it is induced by retinoic acid (RA) treatment, which induces the binding, on the Snai1 promoter, of the retinoid receptors RARγ and RXRα the dissociation of the Polycomb repressor compex 2 (PRC2) which results in the decrease of H3K27me3 and the increase of histone H3K4me3. Snai1 mediates the repression of pluripotency genes by binding directly to the promoters of Nanog, Nr5a2, Tcl1, c-Kit, and Tcfcp2l1. The transient activation of Snai1 in embryoid bodies induces the expression of the markers of all three germ layers. These results suggest that Snai1 is a key factor that triggers ESCs exit from the pluripotency state and initiate their differentiation processes. microarray analysis of embryonic stem cells (ESC) expressing Snail-ER at various time points of induction with 4-OHT
Project description:Retinoic acid (RA), a metabolite of vitamin A, is required for the regulation of growth and development. Aberrant expression of molecules involved in RA signaling has been reported in various cancer types including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Cellular retinoic acid-binding protein 2 (CRABP2) has previously been shown to play a key role in the transport of RA to retinoic acid receptors (RARs) to activate their transcription regulatory activity. Here, we demonstrate that CRABP2 is predominantly located in the cytoplasm of GBM tumors. Cytoplasmic, but not nuclear, CRABP2 levels in GBM tumors are associated with poor patient survival. Treatment of malignant glioma cell lines with RA results in a dose-dependent increase in accumulation of CRABP2 in the cytoplasm. CRABP2 knockdown reduces proliferation rates of malignant glioma cells, and enhances RA-induced RAR activation. Levels of CRYAB, a small heat shock protein with anti-apoptotic activity, and GFAP, an astrocyte-specific intermediate filament protein, are greatly reduced in CRABP2-depleted cells. Restoration of CRYAB expression partially but significantly reversed the effect of CRABP2 depletion on RAR activation. Our combined in vivo and in vitro data indicate that: (i) CRABP2 is an important determinant of clinical outcome in GBM patients, and (ii) the mechanism of action of CRABP2 in GBM involves sequestration of RA in the cytoplasm and activation of an anti-apoptotic pathway, thereby enhancing proliferation and preventing RA-mediated cell death and differentiation. We propose that reducing CRABP2 levels may enhance the therapeutic index of RA in GBM patients.
Project description:Activation of the retinoic acid (RA) signaling pathway is important for controlling embryonic stem cell differentiation and development. Modulation of this pathway occurs through the recruitment of different epigenetic regulators at the retinoic acid receptors (RARs) located at RA-responsive elements and/or RA-responsive regions of RA-regulated genes. Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1, PRMT4) is a protein arginine methyltransferase that also functions as a transcriptional coactivator. Previous studies highlight CARM1's importance in the differentiation of different cell types. We address CARM1 function during RA-induced differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells (mESCs) using shRNA lentiviral transduction and CRISPR/Cas9 technology to deplete CARM1 in mESCs. We identify CARM1 as a novel transcriptional coactivator required for the RA-associated decrease in Rex1 (Zfp42) and for the RA induction of a subset of RA-regulated genes, including CRABP2 and NR2F1 (Coup-TF1). Furthermore, CARM1 is required for mESCs to differentiate into extraembryonic endoderm in response to RA. We next characterize the epigenetic mechanisms that contribute to RA-induced transcriptional activation of CRABP2 and NR2F1 in mESCs and show for the first time that CARM1 is required for this activation. Collectively, our data demonstrate that CARM1 is required for transcriptional activation of a subset of RA target genes, and we uncover changes in the recruitment of Suz12 and the epigenetic H3K27me3 and H3K27ac marks at gene regulatory regions for CRABP2 and NR2F1 during RA-induced differentiation.
Project description:Retinoid homeostasis is critical for normal embryonic development. Both the deficiency and excess of these compounds are associated with congenital malformations. Here we demonstrate that SIRT1, the most conserved mammalian NAD?-dependent protein deacetylase, contributes to homeostatic retinoic acid (RA) signaling and modulates mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) differentiation in part through deacetylation of cellular retinoic acid binding protein II (CRABPII). We show that RA-mediated acetylation of CRABPII at K102 is essential for its nuclear accumulation and subsequent activation of RA signaling. SIRT1 interacts with and deacetylates CRABPII, regulating its subcellular localization. Consequently, SIRT1 deficiency induces hyperacetylation and nuclear accumulation of CRABPII, enhancing RA signaling and accelerating mESC differentiation in response to RA. Consistently, SIRT1 deficiency is associated with elevated RA signaling and development defects in mice. Our findings reveal a molecular mechanism that regulates RA signaling and highlight the importance of SIRT1 in regulation of ESC pluripotency and embryogenesis.
Project description:Ethanol (EtOH) is a teratogen, but its teratogenic mechanisms are not fully understood. The alcohol form of vitamin A (retinol/ROL) can be oxidized to all-trans-retinoic acid (RA), which plays a critical role in stem cell differentiation and development. Using an embryonic stem cell (ESC) model to analyze EtOH's effects on differentiation, we show here that EtOH and acetaldehyde, but not acetate, increase differentiation-associated mRNA levels, and that EtOH decreases pluripotency-related mRNAs. Using reporter assays, ChIP assays, and retinoic acid receptor-? (RAR?) knockout ESC lines generated by CRISPR/Cas9 and homologous recombination, we demonstrate that EtOH signals via RAR? binding to RA response elements (RAREs) in differentiation-associated gene promoters or enhancers. We also report that EtOH-mediated increases in homeobox A1 (Hoxa1) and cytochrome P450 family 26 subfamily A member 1 (Cyp26a1) transcripts, direct RA target genes, require the expression of the RA-synthesizing enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 family member A2 (Aldh1a2), suggesting that EtOH-mediated induction of Hoxa1 and Cyp26a1 requires ROL from the serum. As shown with CRISPR/Cas9 knockout lines, the retinol dehydrogenase gene Rdh10 and a functional RARE in the ROL transporter stimulated by retinoic acid 6 (Stra6) gene are required for EtOH induction of Hoxa1 and Cyp26a1 We conclude that EtOH stimulates stem cell differentiation by increasing the influx and metabolism of ROL for downstream RAR?-dependent transcription. In stem cells, EtOH may shift cell fate decisions to alter developmental outcomes by increasing endogenous ROL/RA signaling via increased Stra6 expression and ROL oxidation.
Project description:Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are derived from inner cell mass (ICM) of the blastocyst. In serum/LIF culture condition, they show variable expression of pluripotency genes that mark cell fluctuation between pluripotency and differentiation metastate. The ESCs subpopulation marked by zygotic genome activation gene (ZGA) signature, including Zscan4, retains a wider differentiation potency than epiblast-derived ESCs. We have recently shown that retinoic acid (RA) significantly enhances Zscan4 cell population. However, it remains unexplored how RA initiates the ESCs to 2-cell like reprogramming. Here we found that RA is decisive for ESCs to 2C-like cell transition, and reconstructed the gene network surrounding Zscan4. We revealed that RA regulates 2C-like population co-activating Dux and Duxbl1. We provided novel evidence that RA dependent ESCs to 2C-like cell transition is regulated by Dux, and antagonized by Duxbl1. Our suggested mechanism could shed light on the role of RA on ESC reprogramming.
Project description:Pluripotency confers Embryonic Stem Cells (ESCs) the ability to differentiate in ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm derivatives, producing the majority of cell types. Although the majority of ESCs divide without losing pluripotency, it has become evident that ESCs culture consists of multiple cell populations with different degrees of potency that are spontaneously induced in regular ESC culture conditions. Zscan4, a key pluripotency factor, marks ESC subpopulation that is referred to as high-level of pluripotency metastate. Here, we report that in ESC cultures treated with retinoic acid (RA), Zscan4 ESCs metastate is strongly enhanced. In particular, we found that induction of Zscan4 metastate is mediated via RA receptors (RAR-alpha, RAR-beta, and RAR-gamma), and it is dependent on phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) signaling. Remarkably, Zscan4 metastate induced by RA lacks canonical pluripotency genes Oct3/4 and Nanog but retained both self-renewal and pluripotency capabilities. Finally we demonstrated that the conditional ablation of Zscan4 subpopulation is dispensable for both endoderm and mesoderm but is required for ectoderm lineage. In conclusion, our research provides new insights about the role of RA signaling during ESCs high pluripotency metastate fluctuation.
Project description:All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) has a key role in dendritic cells (DCs) and affects T cell subtype specification and gut homing. However, the identity of the permissive cell types and the required steps of conversion of vitamin A to biologically active ATRA bringing about retinoic acid receptor-regulated signaling remains elusive. Here we present that only a subset of murine and human DCs express the necessary enzymes, including RDH10, RALDH2, and transporter cellular retinoic acid binding protein (CRABP)2, to produce ATRA and efficient signaling. These permissive cell types include CD103(+) DCs, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and interleukin-4-treated bone marrow-derived murine DCs and human monocyte-derived DCs (mo-DCs). Importantly, in addition to RDH10 and RALDH2, CRABP2 also appears to be regulated by the fatty acid-sensing nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ? (PPAR?) and colocalize in human gut-associated lymphoid tissue DCs. In our model of human mo-DCs, all three proteins (RDH10, RALDH2, and CRABP2) appeared to be required for ATRA production induced by activation of PPAR? and therefore form a linear pathway. This now functionally validated PPAR?-regulated ATRA producing and signaling axis equips the cells with the capacity to convert precursors to active retinoids in response to receptor-activating fatty acids and is potentially amenable to intervention in diseases involving or affecting mucosal immunity.
Project description:Retinoic acid (RA) has several established functions during cardiac development, including actions in the fetal epicardium required for myocardial growth. An open question is if retinoid effects are limited to growth factor stimulation pathway(s) or if additional actions on uncommitted progenitor/stem populations might drive cardiac differentiation. Here we report the dual effects of RA deficiency on cardiac growth factor signaling and progenitor/stem biology using the mouse retinaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (Raldh2) knockout model. Although early heart defects in Raldh2(-/-) embryos result from second-heart-field abnormalities, it is unclear whether this role is transient or whether RA has sustained effects on cardiac progenitors. To address this, we used transient maternal RA supplementation to overcome early Raldh2(-/-) lethality. By embryonic day 11.5-14.5, Raldh2(-/-) hearts exhibited reduced venticular compact layer outgrowth and altered coronary vessel development. Although reductions in Fgf2 and target pERK levels occurred, no alterations in Wnt/beta-catenin expression were observed. Cell proliferation is increased in compact zone myocardium, whereas cardiomyocyte differentiation is reduced, alterations that suggest progenitor defects. We report that the fetal heart contains a reservoir of stem/progenitor cells, which can be isolated by their ability to efflux a fluorescent dye and that retinoid signaling acts on this fetal cardiac side population (SP). Raldh2(-/-) hearts display increased SP cell numbers, with selective increases in expression of cardiac progenitor cell markers and reduced differentiation marker levels. Hence, although lack of RA signaling increases cardiac SP numbers, simultaneous reductions in Fgf signaling reduce cardiomyocyte differentiation, possibly accounting for long-term defects in myocardial growth.
Project description:Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have the ability to grow indefinitely and retain their pluripotency in culture, and this self-renewal capacity is governed by several crucial molecular pathways controlled by specific regulatory genes and epigenetic modifications. It is reported that multiple epigenetic regulators, such as miRNA and pluripotency factors, can be tightly integrated into molecular pathways and cooperate to maintain self-renewal of ESCs. However, mouse ESCs in serum-containing medium seem to be heterogeneous due to the self-activating differentiation signal of MEK/ERK. Thus, to seek for the crucial miRNA and key regulatory genes that establish ESC properties in MEK/ERK pathway, we performed microarray analysis and small RNA deep-sequencing of J1 mESCs treated with or without PD0325901 (PD), a well-known inhibitor of MEK/ERK signal pathway, followed by verification of western blot analysis and quantitative real-time PCR verification; we found that PD regulated the transcript expressions related to self-renewal and differentiation and antagonized the action of retinoic acid- (RA-) induced differentiation. Moreover, PD can significantly modulate the expressions of multiple miRNAs that have crucial functions in ESC development. Overall, our results demonstrate that PD could enhance ESC self-renewal capacity both by key regulatory genes and ES cell-specific miRNA, which in turn influences ESC self-renewal and cellular differentiation.