DeltaNp63 is essential for epidermal commitment of embryonic stem cells.
ABSTRACT: In vivo studies have demonstrated that p63 plays complex and pivotal roles in pluristratified squamous epithelial development, but its precise function and the nature of the isoform involved remain controversial. Here, we investigate the role of p63 in epithelial differentiation, using an in vitro ES cell model that mimics the early embryonic steps of epidermal development. We show that the DeltaNp63 isoform is activated soon after treatment with BMP-4, a morphogen required to commit differentiating ES cells from a neuroectodermal to an ectodermal cell fate. DeltaNp63 gene expression remains high during epithelial development. P63 loss of function drastically prevents ectodermal cells to commit to the K5/K14-positive stratified epithelial pathway while gain of function experiments show that DeltaNp63 allows this commitment. Interestingly, other epithelial cell fates are not affected, allowing the production of K5/K18-positive epithelial cells. Therefore, our results demonstrate that DeltaNp63 may be dispensable for some epithelial differentiation, but is necessary for the commitment of ES cells into K5/K14-positive squamous stratified epithelial cells.
Project description:p63, a homolog of the tumor suppressor p53, is critical for the development and maintenance of complex epithelia. The developmentally regulated p63 isoform, DeltaNp63, can act as a transcriptional repressor, but the link between the transcriptional functions of p63 and its biological roles is unclear. Based on our initial finding that the mesoderm-inducing factor activin A is suppressed by DeltaNp63 in human keratinocytes, we investigated the role of DeltaNp63 in regulating mesoderm induction during early Xenopus laevis development. We find that down-regulation of DeltaNp63 by morpholino injection in the early Xenopus embryo potentiates mesoderm formation whereas ectopic expression of DeltaNp63 inhibits mesoderm formation. Furthermore, we show that mesodermal induction after down-regulation of DeltaNp63 is dependent on p53. We propose that a key function for p63 in defining a squamous epithelial phenotype is to actively suppress mesodermal cell fates during early development. Collectively, we show that there is a distinct requirement for different p53 family members during the development of both mesodermal and ectodermal tissues. These findings have implications for the role of p63 and p53 in both development and tumorigenesis of human epithelia.
Project description:One major defining characteristic of the basal keratinocytes of the stratified epithelium is the expression of the keratin genes K5 and K14. The temporal and spatial expression of these two genes is usually tightly and coordinately regulated at the transcriptional level. This ensures the obligate pairing of K5 and K14 proteins to generate an intermediate filament (IF) network that is essential for the structure and function of the proliferative keratinocytes. Our previous studies have shown that the basal-keratinocyte restricted transcription factor p63 is a direct regulator of K14 gene.Here we provide evidence that p63, specifically the DeltaN isoform also regulates the expression of the K5 gene by binding to a conserved enhancer within the 5' upstream region. By using specific antibodies against DeltaNp63, we show a concordance in the expression between basal keratins and DeltaNp63 proteins but not the TAp63 isoforms during early embryonic skin development. We demonstrate, that contrary to a previous report, transgenic mice expressing DeltaNp63 in lung epithelium exhibit squamous metaplasia with de novo induction of K5 and K14 as well as transdifferentiation to the epidermal cell lineage. Interestingly, the in vivo epidermal inductive properties of DeltaNp63 do not require the C-terminal SAM domain. Finally, we show that DeltaNp63 alone can restore the expression of the basal keratins and reinitiate the failed epidermal differentiation program in the skin of p63 null animals.DeltaNp63 is a critical mediator of keratinocyte stratification program and directly regulates the basal keratin genes.
Project description:BACKGROUND: DeltaNp63alpha is an epithelial progenitor cell marker that maintains epidermal stem cell self-renewal capacity. Previous studies revealed that UV-damage induced p53 phosphorylation is confined to DeltaNp63alpha-positive cells in the basal layer of human epithelium. RESULTS: We now report that phosphorylation of the p53 tumour suppressor is positively regulated by DeltaNp63alpha in immortalised human keratinocytes. DeltaNp63alpha depletion by RNAi reduces steady-state ATM mRNA and protein levels, and attenuates p53 Serine-15 phosphorylation. Conversely, ectopic expression of DeltaNp63alpha in p63-null tumour cells stimulates ATM transcription and p53 Serine-15 phosphorylation. We show that ATM is a direct DeltaNp63alpha transcriptional target and that the DeltaNp63alpha response element localizes to the ATM promoter CCAAT sequence. Structure-function analysis revealed that the DeltaNp63-specific TA2 transactivation domain mediates ATM transcription in coordination with the DNA binding and SAM domains. CONCLUSIONS: Germline p63 point mutations are associated with a range of ectodermal developmental disorders, and targeted p63 deletion in the skin causes premature ageing. The DeltaNp63alpha-ATM-p53 damage-response pathway may therefore function in epithelial development, carcinogenesis and the ageing processes.
Project description:p63, a homologue of the tumor suppressor p53, is pivotal for epithelial development, because its loss causes severe epithelial dysgenesis, although no information is so far available on the role of p63 in the thymus. We identified the expression of all p63 isoforms in the developing thymus. The p63(-/-) thymi show severe abnormalities in size and cellularity, even though the organ expresses normal levels of keratins 5 and 8, indicating a p63-independent differentiation of thymic epithelial cells (TEC). TEC were sufficiently developed to allow a significant degree of education to produce CD4/CD8 single- and double-positive T cells. To study the selective contribution of transactivation-active p63 (TAp63) and amino-deleted p63 (DeltaNp63) isoforms to the function of the TEC, we genetically complemented p63(-/-) mice by crossing p63(+/-) mice with transgenic mice expressing either TAp63alpha or DeltaNp63alpha under the control of the keratin 5 promoter. Thymic morphology and cellularity were partially restored by complementation with DeltaNp63, but not TAp63, one downstream effector being fibroblast growth factor receptor 2-IIIb (FgfR2-IIIb). Indeed, FgfR2-IIIb is regulated directly by p63, via its interaction with apobec-1-binding protein-1, and its knockout shows thymic defects similar to those observed in p63(-/-) thymi. In addition, expression of Jag2, a component of the Notch signaling pathway known to be required for thymic development, was enhanced by p63 in vivo genetic complementation. Like Jag2(-/-) thymi, p63(-/-) thymi also show reduced gammadelta cell formation. Therefore, p63, and particularly the DeltaNp63 isoform, is essential for thymic development via enhanced expression of FgfR2 and Jag2. The action of DeltaNp63 is not due to a direct regulation of TEC differentiation, but it is compatible with maintenance of their "stemness," the thymic abnormalities resulting from epithelial failure due to loss of stem cells.
Project description:Ectodermal dysplasia is a group of congenital syndromes affecting a variety of ectodermal derivatives. Among them, ectrodactyly, ectodermal dysplasia, and cleft lip/palate (EEC) syndrome is caused by single point mutations in the p63 gene, which controls epidermal development and homeostasis. Phenotypic defects of the EEC syndrome include skin defects and limbal stem-cell deficiency. In this study, we designed a unique cellular model that recapitulated major embryonic defects related to EEC. Fibroblasts from healthy donors and EEC patients carrying two different point mutations in the DNA binding domain of p63 were reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines. EEC-iPSC from both patients showed early ectodermal commitment into K18(+) cells but failed to further differentiate into K14(+) cells (epidermis/limbus) or K3/K12(+) cells (corneal epithelium). APR-246 (PRIMA-1(MET)), a small compound that restores functionality of mutant p53 in human tumor cells, could revert corneal epithelial lineage commitment and reinstate a normal p63-related signaling pathway. This study illustrates the relevance of iPSC for p63 related disorders and paves the way for future therapy of EEC.
Project description:The embryonic surface ectoderm is a simple flat epithelium consisting of cells that express the cytokeratins K8/K18. Before stratification, K5/K14 expression substitutes K8/K18 expression, marking the event called epidermal commitment. Previous studies show that the transcription factor p63 plays an essential role in epidermal commitment. However, detailed expression information of p63 during early epidermal development in mice is still unclear. We systematically studied the expression pattern of p63 in mouse epidermal commitment, together with K8 and K5. We show that p63 expression could be detected as early as E8.5 in mouse embryos preceding epidermal commitment. p63 expression first appears near the newly formed somites and the posterior part of the embryo, further expanding to the whole embryonic surface with particular enrichment in the first branchial arches and the limb buds. ?Np63 is the major class of isoforms expressed in this period. Relative expression intensity of p63 depends on the embryonic position. In summary, there is a sequential and regular expression pattern of K8, p63 and K5 in mouse epidermal commitment. Our study not only contributes to understanding the early events during epidermal development but also provides a basal tool to study the function of p63 in mammals.
Project description:The transcription factor p63 plays an essential role in epidermal morphogenesis. Animals lacking p63 fail to form many ectodermal organs, including the skin and hair follicles. Although the indispensable role of p63 in stratified epithelial skin development is well established, relatively little is known about this transcriptional regulator in directing hair follicle morphogenesis. Here, using specific antibodies, we have established the expression pattern of DeltaNp63 in hair follicle development and cycling. DeltaNp63 is expressed in the developing hair placode, whereas in mature hair its expression is restricted to the outer root sheath (ORS), matrix cells and to the stem cells of the hair follicle bulge. To investigate the role of DeltaNp63 in hair follicle morphogenesis and cycling, we have utilized a Tet-inducible mouse model system with targeted expression of this isoform to the ORS of the hair follicle. DeltaNp63 transgenic animals display dramatic defects in hair follicle development and cycling, eventually leading to severe hair loss. Strikingly, expression of DeltaNp63 leads to a switch in cell fate of hair follicle keratinocytes, causing them to adopt an interfollicular epidermal (IFE) cell identity. Moreover, DeltaNp63 transgenic animals exhibit a depleted hair follicle stem-cell niche, which further contributes to the overall cycling defects observed in the mutant animals. Finally, global transcriptome analysis of transgenic skin identified altered expression levels of crucial mediators of hair morphogenesis, including key members of the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway, which, in part, account for these effects. Our data provide evidence supporting a role for DeltaNp63alpha in actively suppressing hair follicle differentiation and directing IFE cell lineage commitment.
Project description:Identification of stem cells from a corneal epithelial cell population by specific molecular markers has been investigated previously. Expressions of P63, ABCG2 and K14/K5 have all been linked to mammalian corneal epithelial stem cells. Here we report on the limitations of K14/K5 as a limbal stem cell marker.K14/K5 expression was measured by immunohistochemistry, Western blotting and Real time PCR and compared between bovine epithelial cells in the limbus and central cornea. A functional study was also included to investigate changes in K5/14 expression within cultured limbal epithelial cells undergoing forced differentiation. K14 expression (or its partner K5) was detected in quiescent epithelial cells from both the limbal area and central cornea. K14 was localized predominantly to basal epithelial cells in the limbus and suprabasal epithelial cells in the central cornea. Western blotting revealed K14 expression in both limbus and central cornea (higher levels in the limbus). Similarly, quantitative real time PCR found K5, partner to K14, to be expressed in both the central cornea and limbus. Following forced differentiation in culture the limbal epithelial cells revealed an increase in K5/14 gene/protein expression levels in concert with a predictable rise in a known differentiation marker.K14 and its partner K5 are limited not only to the limbus but also to the central bovine cornea epithelial cells suggesting K14/K5 is not limbal specific in situ. Furthermore K14/K5 expression levels were not lowered (in fact they increased) within a limbal epithelial cell culture undergoing forced differentiation suggesting K14/K5 is an unreliable maker for undifferentiated cells ex vivo.
Project description:BACKGROUND: p63 is a transcription factor that plays an important role in skin epidermal development and differentiation. The p63 gene encodes for two major protein isoforms, those containing an amino-terminal trans-activation domain (TAp63) and those lacking this domain (DeltaNp63). Both the TA and DeltaN transcripts are also alternatively spliced at the 3' end producing proteins with unique C-termini that are designated as alpha, beta and gamma isoforms. Recent research has suggested that DeltaNp63 is the predominant isoform expressed and active in keratinocytes. RESULTS: To better elucidate the biological role of p63 in regulating gene expression in keratinocytes we performed chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments with DeltaNp63-specific antibodies. We included an additional step in the ChIP procedure to enrich for DeltaNp63 targets by screening the library of immunoprecipitated DNA for its ability to bind recombinant GST-DeltaNp63. Cloning of DeltaNp63-ChIP-derived DNA fragments identified more than 60 potential DeltaNp63 target loci that were located close to or embedded within known or predicted genes. Identity of these target genes suggests that they may participate in a myriad of cellular processes including transcriptional regulation, signaling and metabolism. Here we confirm the binding of DeltaNp63 to several of these genomic loci both by EMSA and replicate ChIP assays. Finally we show that the expression of many of these target genes is altered when DeltaNp63 levels in keratinocytes are reduced by siRNA, further confirming that these are bona fide targets. CONCLUSION: This unbiased genomic approach has allowed us to uncover functional targets of DeltaNp63 and serves as the initial step in further analysis of the transcriptional regulatory mechanisms that are governed by p63 in keratinocytes.
Project description:The human congenital syndromes ectrodactyly ectodermal dysplasia-cleft lip/palate syndrome, ankyloblepharon ectodermal dysplasia clefting, and split-hand/foot malformation are all characterized by ectodermal dysplasia, limb malformations, and cleft lip/palate. These phenotypic features are a result of an imbalance between the proliferation and differentiation of precursor cells during development of ectoderm-derived structures. Mutations in the p63 and interferon regulatory factor 6 (IRF6) genes have been found in human patients with these syndromes, consistent with phenotypes. Here, we used human and mouse primary keratinocytes and mouse models to investigate the role of p63 and IRF6 in proliferation and differentiation. We report that the DeltaNp63 isoform of p63 activated transcription of IRF6, and this, in turn, induced proteasome-mediated DeltaNp63 degradation. This feedback regulatory loop allowed keratinocytes to exit the cell cycle, thereby limiting their ability to proliferate. Importantly, mutations in either p63 or IRF6 resulted in disruption of this regulatory loop: p63 mutations causing ectodermal dysplasias were unable to activate IRF6 transcription, and mice with mutated or null p63 showed reduced Irf6 expression in their palate and ectoderm. These results identify what we believe to be a novel mechanism that regulates the proliferation-differentiation balance of keratinocytes essential for palate fusion and skin differentiation and links the pathogenesis of 2 genetically different groups of ectodermal dysplasia syndromes into a common molecular pathway.