Nkx2-5- and Isl1-expressing cardiac progenitors contribute to proepicardium.
ABSTRACT: Correct delineation of the hierarchy of cardiac progenitors is a key step to understanding heart development, and will pave the way for future use of cardiac progenitors in the treatment of heart disease. Multipotent Nkx2-5 and Isl1 cardiac progenitors contribute to cardiomyocyte, smooth muscle, and endothelial lineages, which constitute the major lineages of the heart. Recently, progenitors located within the proepicardium and epicardium were reported to differentiate into cardiomyocytes, as well as smooth muscle and endothelial cells. However, the relationship of these proepicardial progenitors to the previously described Nkx2-5 and Isl1 cardiac progenitors is incompletely understood. To address this question, we performed in vivo Cre-loxP-based lineage tracing. Both Nkx2-5- and Isl1-expressing progenitors contributed to the proepicardium and expressed Wt1 and Tbx18, markers of proepicardial progenitor cells. Interestingly, Nkx2-5 knockout resulted in abnormal proepicardial development and decreased expression of Wt1, suggesting a functional role for Nkx2-5 in proepicardium formation. Taken together, these results suggest that Nkx2-5 and/or Isl1 cardiac progenitors contribute to proepicardium during heart development.
Project description:The heart is formed from cardiogenic progenitors expressing the transcription factors Nkx2-5 and Isl1 (refs 1 and 2). These multipotent progenitors give rise to cardiomyocyte, smooth muscle and endothelial cells, the major lineages of the mature heart. Here we identify a novel cardiogenic precursor marked by expression of the transcription factor Wt1 and located within the epicardium-an epithelial sheet overlying the heart. During normal murine heart development, a subset of these Wt1(+) precursors differentiated into fully functional cardiomyocytes. Wt1(+) proepicardial cells arose from progenitors that express Nkx2-5 and Isl1, suggesting that they share a developmental origin with multipotent Nkx2-5(+) and Isl1(+) progenitors. These results identify Wt1(+) epicardial cells as previously unrecognized cardiomyocyte progenitors, and lay the foundation for future efforts to harness the cardiogenic potential of these progenitors for cardiac regeneration and repair.
Project description:Isl1 and Nkx2-5-expressing cardiovascular progenitors play pivotal roles in cardiogenesis. Previously reported Cre-based fate-mapping studies showed that Isl1 progenitors contribute predominantly to the derivatives of the second heart field, and Nkx2-5 progenitors contributed mainly to the cardiomyocyte lineage. However, partial recombination of Cre reporter genes can complicate interpretation of Cre fate-mapping experiments. We found that a Gata4-based Cre-activated reporter was recombined by Isl1(Cre) and Nkx2-5(Cre) in a substantially broader domain than previously reported using standard Cre-activated reporters. The expanded Isl1 and Nkx2-5 cardiac fate maps were remarkably similar, and included extensive contributions to cardiomyocyte, endocardial, and smooth muscle lineages in all four cardiac chambers. These data indicate that Isl1 is expressed in progenitors of both primary and secondary heart fields, and that Nkx2-5 is expressed in progenitors of cardiac endothelium and smooth muscle, in addition to cardiomyocytes. These results have important implications for our understanding of cardiac lineage diversification in vivo, and for the interpretation of Cre-based fate maps.
Project description:During embryonic development, hematopoietic cells are present in areas of blood-vessel differentiation. These hematopoietic cells emerge from a specific subpopulation of endothelial cells called the hemogenic endothelium. We have previously found that mouse proepicardium contained its own population of endothelial cells forming a network of vascular tubules. We hypothesize that this EC population contains cells of hematopoietic potential. Therefore, we investigated an in vitro hematopoietic potential of proepicardial cell populations. The CD31+/CD45-/CD71- cell population cultured for 10 days in MethocultTM gave numerous colonies of CFU-GEMM, CFU-GM, and CFU-E type. These colonies consisted of various cell types. Flk-1+/CD31-/CD45-/CD71-, and CD45+ and/or CD71+ cell populations produced CFU-GEMM and CFU-GM, or CFU-GM and CFU-E colonies, respectively. Immunohistochemical evaluations of smears prepared from colonies revealed the presence of cells of different hematopoietic lineages. These cells were characterized by labeling with various combinations of antibodies directed against CD31, CD41, CD71, c-kit, Mpl, Fli1, Gata-2, and Zeb1 markers. Furthermore, we found that proepicardium-specific marker WT1 co-localized with Runx1 and Zeb1 and that single endothelial cells bearing CD31 molecule expressed Runx1 in the proepicardial area of embryonic tissue sections. We have shown that cells of endothelial and/or hematopoietic phenotypes isolated from mouse proepicardium possess hematopoietic potential in vitro and in situ. These results are supported by RT-PCR analyses of proepicardial extract, which revealed the expression of mRNA for crucial regulatory factors for hemogenic endothelium specification, i.e., Runx1, Notch1, Gata2, and Sox17. Our data are in line with previous observation on hemangioblast derivation from the quail PE.
Project description:Cardiovascular development is a complex developmental process in which multiple cell lineages are involved, namely the deployment of first and second heart fields. Beside the contribution of these cardiogenic fields, extracardiac inputs to the developing heart are provided by the migrating cardiac neural crest cells and the proepicardial derived cells. The proepicardium (PE) is a transitory cauliflower-like structure located between the cardiac and hepatic primordia. The PE is constituted by an internal mesenchymal component surrounded by an external epithelial lining. With development, cells derived from the proepicardium migrate to the neighboring embryonic heart and progressive cover the most external surface, leading to the formation of the embryonic epicardium. Experimental evidence in chicken have nicely demonstrated that epicardial derived cells can distinctly contribute to fibroblasts, endothelial and smooth muscle cells. Surprisingly, isolation of the developing PE anlage and ex vivo culturing spontaneously lead to differentiation into beating cardiomyocytes, a process that is enhanced by Bmp but halted by Fgf administration. In this study we provide a comprehensive characterization of the developmental expression profile of multiple microRNAs during epicardial development in chicken. Subsequently, we identified that miR-125, miR-146, miR-195 and miR-223 selectively enhance cardiomyogenesis both in the PE/ST explants as well as in the embryonic epicardium, a Smurf1- and Foxp1-driven process. In addition we identified three novel long non-coding RNAs with enhanced expression in the PE/ST, that are complementary regulated by Bmp and Fgf administration and well as by microRNAs that selectively promote cardiomyogenesis, supporting a pivotal role of these long non coding RNAs in microRNA-mediated cardiomyogenesis of the PE/ST cells.
Project description:During cardiogenesis, most myocytes arise from cardiac progenitors expressing the transcription factors Isl1 and Nkx2-5. Here, we show that a direct repression of Isl1 by Nkx2-5 is necessary for proper development of the ventricular myocardial lineage. Overexpression of Nkx2-5 in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) delayed specification of cardiac progenitors and inhibited expression of Isl1 and its downstream targets in Isl1(+) precursors. Embryos deficient for Nkx2-5 in the Isl1(+) lineage failed to downregulate Isl1 protein in cardiomyocytes of the heart tube. We demonstrated that Nkx2-5 directly binds to an Isl1 enhancer and represses Isl1 transcriptional activity. Furthermore, we showed that overexpression of Isl1 does not prevent cardiac differentiation of ESCs and in Xenopus laevis embryos. Instead, it leads to enhanced specification of cardiac progenitors, earlier cardiac differentiation, and increased cardiomyocyte number. Functional and molecular characterization of Isl1-overexpressing cardiomyocytes revealed higher beating frequencies in both ESC-derived contracting areas and Xenopus Isl1-gain-of-function hearts, which associated with upregulation of nodal-specific genes and downregulation of transcripts of working myocardium. Immunocytochemistry of cardiomyocyte lineage-specific markers demonstrated a reduction of ventricular cells and an increase of cells expressing the pacemaker channel Hcn4. Finally, optical action potential imaging of single cardiomyocytes combined with pharmacological approaches proved that Isl1 overexpression in ESCs resulted in normally electrophysiologically functional cells, highly enriched in the nodal subtype at the expense of the ventricular lineage. Our findings provide an Isl1/Nkx2-5-mediated mechanism that coordinately regulates the specification of cardiac progenitors toward the different myocardial lineages and ensures proper acquisition of myocyte subtype identity.
Project description:The coronary vessels and epicardium arise from an extracardiac rudiment called the proepicardium. Failed fusion of the proepicardium to the heart results in severe coronary and heart defects. However, it is unknown how the proepicardium protrudes toward and attaches to the looping heart tube. Here, we show that ectopic expression of BMP ligands in the embryonic myocardium can cause proepicardial cells to target aberrant regions of the heart. Additionally, misexpression of a BMP antagonist, Noggin, suppresses proepicardium protrusion and contact with the heart. Finally, proepicardium explant preferentially expands toward a cocultured heart segment. This preference can be mimicked by BMP2/4 and suppressed by Noggin. These results support a model in which myocardium-derived BMP signals regulate the entry of coronary progenitors to the specific site of the heart by directing their morphogenetic movement.
Project description:Understanding the molecular pathways regulating cardiogenesis is crucial for the early diagnosis of heart diseases and improvement of cardiovascular disease. During normal mammalian cardiac development, collagen and calcium-binding EGF domain-1 (Ccbe1) is expressed in the first and second heart field progenitors as well as in the proepicardium, but its role in early cardiac commitment remains unknown. Here we demonstrate that during mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC) differentiation Ccbe1 is upregulated upon emergence of Isl1- and Nkx2.5- positive cardiac progenitors. Ccbe1 is markedly enriched in Isl1-positive cardiac progenitors isolated from ESCs differentiating in vitro or embryonic hearts developing in vivo. Disruption of Ccbe1 activity by shRNA knockdown or blockade with a neutralizing antibody results in impaired differentiation of embryonic stem cells along the cardiac mesoderm lineage resulting in a decreased expression of mature cardiomyocyte markers. In addition, knockdown of Ccbe1 leads to smaller embryoid bodies. Collectively, our results show that CCBE1 is essential for the commitment of cardiac mesoderm and consequently, for the formation of cardiac myocytes in differentiating mouse ESCs.
Project description:Cardiac progenitor/stem cells in adult hearts represent an attractive therapeutic target for heart regeneration, though (inter)-relationships among reported cells remain obscure. Using single-cell qRT-PCR and clonal analyses, here we define four subpopulations of cardiac progenitor/stem cells in adult mouse myocardium all sharing stem cell antigen-1 (Sca1), based on side population (SP) phenotype, PECAM-1 (CD31) and platelet-derived growth factor receptor-? (PDGFR?) expression. SP status predicts clonogenicity and cardiogenic gene expression (Gata4/6, Hand2 and Tbx5/20), properties segregating more specifically to PDGFR?(+) cells. Clonal progeny of single Sca1(+) SP cells show cardiomyocyte, endothelial and smooth muscle lineage potential after cardiac grafting, augmenting cardiac function although durable engraftment is rare. PDGFR?(-) cells are characterized by Kdr/Flk1, Cdh5, CD31 and lack of clonogenicity. PDGFR?(+)/CD31(-) cells derive from cells formerly expressing Mesp1, Nkx2-5, Isl1, Gata5 and Wt1, distinct from PDGFR?(-)/CD31(+) cells (Gata5 low; Flk1 and Tie2 high). Thus, PDGFR? demarcates the clonogenic cardiogenic Sca1(+) stem/progenitor cell.
Project description:During mouse embryogenesis, proper formation of the heart and liver is especially important and is crucial for embryonic viability. In this study, we showed that Mab21l2 was expressed in the trabecular and compact myocardium, and that deletion of Mab21l2 resulted in a reduction of the trabecular myocardium and thinning of the compact myocardium. Mab21l2-deficient embryonic hearts had decreased expression of genes that regulate cell proliferation and apoptosis of cardiomyocytes. These results show that Mab21l2 functions during heart development by regulating the expression of such genes. Mab21l2 was also expressed in the septum transversum mesenchyme (STM). Epicardial progenitor cells are localized to the anterior surface of the STM (proepicardium), and proepicardial cells migrate onto the surface of the heart and form the epicardium, which plays an important role in heart development. The rest of the STM is essential for the growth and survival of hepatoblasts, which are bipotential progenitors for hepatocytes and cholangiocytes. Proepicardial cells in Mab21l2-deficient embryos had defects in cell proliferation, which led to a small proepicardium, in which ?4 integrin expression, which is essential for the migration of proepicardial cells, was down-regulated, suggesting that defects occurred in its migration. In Mab21l2-deficient embryos, epicardial formation was defective, suggesting that Mab21l2 plays important roles in epicardial formation through the regulation of the cell proliferation of proepicardial cells and the migratory process of proepicardial cells. Mab21l2-deficient embryos also exhibited hypoplasia of the STM surrounding hepatoblasts and decreased hepatoblast proliferation with a resultant loss of defective morphogenesis of the liver. These findings demonstrate that Mab21l2 plays a crucial role in both heart and liver development through STM formation.
Project description:Understanding the origins and roles of cardiac progenitor cells is important for elucidating the pathogenesis of congenital and acquired heart diseases. Moreover, manipulation of cardiac myocyte progenitors has potential for cell-based repair strategies for various myocardial disorders. Here we report the identification in mouse of a previously unknown cardiac myocyte lineage that derives from the proepicardial organ. These progenitor cells, which express the T-box transcription factor Tbx18, migrate onto the outer cardiac surface to form the epicardium, and then make a substantial contribution to myocytes in the ventricular septum and the atrial and ventricular walls. Tbx18-expressing cardiac progenitors also give rise to cardiac fibroblasts and coronary smooth muscle cells. The pluripotency of Tbx18 proepicardial cells provides a theoretical framework for applying these progenitors to effect cardiac repair and regeneration.