Alternative splicing regulates mouse embryonic stem cell pluripotency and differentiation.
ABSTRACT: Two major goals of regenerative medicine are to reproducibly transform adult somatic cells into a pluripotent state and to control their differentiation into specific cell fates. Progress toward these goals would be greatly helped by obtaining a complete picture of the RNA isoforms produced by these cells due to alternative splicing (AS) and alternative promoter selection (APS). To investigate the roles of AS and APS, reciprocal exon-exon junctions were interrogated on a genome-wide scale in differentiating mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells with a prototype Affymetrix microarray. Using a recently released open-source software package named AltAnalyze, we identified 144 genes for 170 putative isoform variants, the majority (67%) of which were predicted to alter protein sequence and domain composition. Verified alternative exons were largely associated with pathways of Wnt signaling and cell-cycle control, and most were conserved between mouse and human. To examine the functional impact of AS, we characterized isoforms for two genes. As predicted by AltAnalyze, we found that alternative isoforms of the gene Serca2 were targeted by distinct microRNAs (miRNA-200b, miRNA-214), suggesting a critical role for AS in cardiac development. Analysis of the Wnt transcription factor Tcf3, using selective knockdown of an ES cell-enriched and characterized isoform, revealed several distinct targets for transcriptional repression (Stmn2, Ccnd2, Atf3, Klf4, Nodal, and Jun) as well as distinct differentiation outcomes in ES cells. The findings herein illustrate a critical role for AS in the specification of ES cells with differentiation, and highlight the utility of global functional analyses of AS.
Project description:Two major goals for regenerative medicine are to reproducibly transform adult somatic cells into a pluripotent state and to control their differentiation into specific cell fates. These goals could be furthered by obtaining a complete picture of the RNA isoforms produced by these cells due to alternative splicing (AS) and alternative promoter selection (APS). To investigate the roles of AS and APS, reciprocal exon-exon junctions were interrogated on a genome-wide scale in differentiating mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs), mouse myometrium throughout gestation and cardiac remodeling with disease using a prototype Affymetrix microarray. Using a custom analysis package named AltAnalyze (http://www.AltAnalyze.org), we identified a large number of putative AS and APS events, the majority of which were predicted to alter protein sequence and domain composition. Over a dozen AS and APS events were validated in mouse ESCs with differentiation to embryoid bodies. Alternative splicing analysis of mouse tissue differentiation, disease and developmental remodeling paradigms.
Project description:Two major goals for regenerative medicine are to reproducibly transform adult somatic cells into a pluripotent state and to control their differentiation into specific cell fates. These goals could be furthered by obtaining a complete picture of the RNA isoforms produced by these cells due to alternative splicing (AS) and alternative promoter selection (APS). To investigate the roles of AS and APS, reciprocal exon-exon junctions were interrogated on a genome-wide scale in differentiating mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs), mouse myometrium throughout gestation and cardiac remodeling with disease using a prototype Affymetrix microarray. Using a custom analysis package named AltAnalyze (http://www.AltAnalyze.org), we identified a large number of putative AS and APS events, the majority of which were predicted to alter protein sequence and domain composition. Over a dozen AS and APS events were validated in mouse ESCs with differentiation to embryoid bodies. Overall design: Alternative splicing analysis of mouse tissue differentiation, disease and developmental remodeling paradigms.
Project description:We previously showed that one of the amelogenin splicing isoforms, Leucine-rich amelogenin peptide (LRAP), induced osteogenic differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells; however, the signaling pathway(s) activated by LRAP remained unknown. Here, we demonstrated that the canonical Wnt/beta-catenin signaling is activated upon LRAP treatment, as evidenced by elevated beta-catenin level and increased Wnt reporter gene activity. Furthermore, a specific Wnt inhibitor sFRP-1 completely blocks the LRAP-mediated Wnt signaling. However, exogenous recombinant Wnt3a alone was less effective at osteogenic induction of mouse ES cells in comparison to LRAP. Using a quantitative real-time PCR array, we discovered that LRAP treatment up-regulated the expression of Wnt agonists and down-regulated the expression of Wnt antagonists. We conclude that LRAP activates the canonical Wnt signaling pathway to induce osteogenic differentiation of mouse ES cells through the concerted regulation of Wnt agonists and antagonists.
Project description:The role of alternative splicing in self-renewal, pluripotency and tissue lineage specification of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) is largely unknown. To better define these regulatory cues, we modified the H9 hESC line to allow selection of pluripotent hESCs by neomycin resistance and cardiac progenitors by puromycin resistance. Exon-level microarray expression data from undifferentiated hESCs and cardiac and neural precursors were used to identify splice isoforms with cardiac-restricted or common cardiac/neural differentiation expression patterns. Splice events for these groups corresponded to the pathways of cytoskeletal remodeling, RNA splicing, muscle specification, and cell cycle checkpoint control as well as genes with serine/threonine kinase and helicase activity. Using a new program named AltAnalyze (http://www.AltAnalyze.org), we identified novel changes in protein domain and microRNA binding site architecture that were predicted to affect protein function and expression. These included an enrichment of splice isoforms that oppose cell-cycle arrest in hESCs and that promote calcium signaling and cardiac development in cardiac precursors. By combining genome-wide predictions of alternative splicing with new functional annotations, our data suggest potential mechanisms that may influence lineage commitment and hESC maintenance at the level of specific splice isoforms and microRNA regulation.
Project description:Alternative splicing of mRNA precursors results in multiple protein variants from a single gene and is critical for diverse cellular processes and development. Xist encodes a long noncoding RNA which is a central player to induce X-chromosome inactivation in female mammals and has two major splicing variants: long and short isoforms of Xist RNA. Although a differentiation-specific and a female-specific expression of Xist isoforms have been reported, the functional role of each Xist RNA isoform is largely unexplored. Using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated targeted modification of the 5' splice site in Xist intron 7, we create mutant female ES cell lines which dominantly express the long- or short-splicing isoform of Xist RNA from the inactive X-chromosome (Xi) upon differentiation. Successful execution of CRISPR/Cas-based splicing modulation indicates that our CRISPR/Cas-based targeted modification of splicing sites is a useful approach to study specific isoforms of a transcript generated by alternative splicing. Upon differentiation of splicing-mutant Xist female ES cells, we find that both long and short Xist isoforms can induce X-chromosome inactivation normally during ES cell differentiation, suggesting that the short splicing isoform of Xist RNA is sufficient to induce X-chromosome inactivation.
Project description:Murine embryonic stem (ES) cells are defined by continuous self-renewal and pluripotency. A diverse repertoire of protein isoforms arising from alternative splicing is expressed in ES cells without defined biological roles. Sall4, a transcription factor essential for pluripotency, exists as two isoforms (Sall4a and Sall4b). Both isoforms can form homodimers and a heterodimer with each other, and each can interact with Nanog. By genomewide location analysis, we determined that Sall4a and Sall4b have overlapping, but not identical binding sites within the ES cell genome. In addition, Sall4b, but not Sall4a, binds preferentially to highly expressed loci in ES cells. Sall4a and Sall4b binding sites are distinguished by both epigenetic marks at target loci and their clustering with binding sites of other pluripotency factors. When ES cells expressing a single isoform of Sall4 are generated, Sall4b alone could maintain the pluripotent state, although it could not completely suppress all differentiation markers. Sall4a and Sall4b collaborate in maintenance of the pluripotent state but play distinct roles. Our work is novel in establishing such isoform-specific differences in ES cells.
Project description:Pancreatic endocrine ?-cells derived from embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have received attention as screening systems for therapeutic drugs and as the basis for cell-based therapies. Here, we used a 12-day ?-cell differentiation protocol for mouse ES cells and obtained several hit compounds that promoted ?-cell differentiation. One of these compounds, mycophenolic acid (MPA), effectively promoted ES cell differentiation with a concomitant reduction of neuronal cells. The existence of neural cell-derived inhibitory humoral factors for ?-cell differentiation was suggested using a co-culture system. Based on gene array analysis, we focused on the Wnt/?-catenin pathway and showed that the Wnt pathway inhibitor reversed MPA-induced ?-cell differentiation. Wnt pathway activation promoted ?-cell differentiation also in human iPS cells. Our results showed that Wnt signaling activation positively regulates ?-cell differentiation, and represent a downstream target of the neural inhibitory factor.
Project description:Nitric oxide (NO), an important mediator molecule in mammalian physiology, initiates a number of signaling mechanisms by activating the enzyme soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC). Recently, a new role for NO/cyclic guanosine monophosphate signaling in embryonic development and cell differentiation has emerged. The changes in expression of NO synthase isoforms and various sGC subunits has been demonstrated during human and mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells differentiation. Previously, our laboratory demonstrated that nascent α1 sGC transcript undergoes alternative splicing and that expression of α1 sGC splice forms directly affects sGC activity. Expression of sGC splice variants in the process of human ES (hES) cells differentiation has not been investigated. In this report, we demonstrate that α1 sGC undergoes alternative splicing during random hES differentiation for the first time. Our results indicate that C-α1 sGC splice form is expressed at high levels in differentiating cells and its intracellular distribution varies from canonical α1 sGC subunit. Together, our data suggest that alternative splicing of sGC subunits is associated with differentiation of hES cells.
Project description:Amelogenin is the most abundant protein of the enamel organic matrix and is a structural protein indispensable for enamel formation. One of the amelogenin splicing isoforms, Leucine-rich Amelogenin Peptide (LRAP) induces osteogenesis in various cell types. Previously, we demonstrated that LRAP activates the canonical Wnt signaling pathway to induce osteogenic differentiation of mouse ES cells through the concerted regulation of Wnt agonists and antagonists. There is a reciprocal relationship between osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation in bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs). Wnt10b-mediated activation of canonical Wnt signaling has been shown to regulate mesenchymal stem cell fate. Using the bipotential bone marrow stromal cell line ST2, we have demonstrated that LRAP activates the canonical Wnt/?-catenin signaling pathway. A specific Wnt inhibitor sFRP-1 abolishes the effect of LRAP on the stimulation of osteogenesis and the inhibition of adipogenesis of ST2 cells. LRAP treatment elevates the Wnt10b expression level whereas Wnt10b knockdown by siRNA abrogates the effect of LRAP. We show here that LRAP promotes osteogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells at the expense of adipogenesis through upregulating Wnt10b expression to activate Wnt signaling.
Project description:Embryonic stem (ES) cells give rise to mesodermal progenitors that differentiate to hematopoietic and cardiovascular cells. The wnt signaling pathway plays multiple roles in cardiovascular development through a network of intracellular effectors. To monitor global changes in wnt signaling during ES cell differentiation, we generated independent ES cell lines carrying the luciferase gene under promoters that uniquely respond to specific wnt pathway branches. Our results show that successive, mutually exclusive waves of noncanonical and canonical wnt signaling precede mesoderm differentiation. Blocking the initial noncanonical JNK/AP-1 signaling with SP60125 aborts cardiovascular differentiation and promotes hematopoiesis, whereas interference with the subsequent peak of canonical wnt signaling using Dkk1 has the opposite effect. Dkk1 blockade triggers counter mechanisms that lead to delayed and extended activation of canonical wnt signaling and mesoderm differentiation that appear to favor the cardiomyocytic lineage at the expense of hematopoietic cells. The cardiomyocytic yield can be further enhanced by overexpression of Wnt11 leading to approximately 95-fold enrichment in contracting cells. Our results suggest that the initial noncanonical wnt signaling is necessary for subsequent activation of canonical signaling and that the latter operates under a regulatory loop which responds to suppression with hyperactivation of compensatory mechanisms. This model provides new insights on wnt signaling during ES cell differentiation and points to a method to induce cardiomyocytic differentiation without precise timing of wnt signaling manipulation. Taking into account the heterogeneity of pluripotent cells, these findings might present an advantage to enhance the cardiogenic potential of stem cells.