Variations of X chromosome inactivation occur in early passages of female human embryonic stem cells.
ABSTRACT: X chromosome inactivation (XCI) is a dosage compensation mechanism essential for embryonic development and cell physiology. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) derived from inner cell mass (ICM) of blastocyst stage embryos have been used as a model system to understand XCI initiation and maintenance. Previous studies of undifferentiated female hESCs at intermediate passages have shown three possible states of XCI; 1) cells in a pre-XCI state, 2) cells that already exhibit XCI, or 3) cells that never undergo XCI even upon differentiation. In this study, XCI status was assayed in ten female hESC lines between passage 5 and 15 to determine whether XCI variations occur in early passages of hESCs. Our results show that three different states of XCI already exist in the early passages of hESC. In addition, we observe one cell line with skewed XCI and preferential expression of X-linked genes from the paternal allele, while another cell line exhibits random XCI. Skewed XCI in undifferentiated hESCs may be due to clonal selection in culture instead of non-random XCI in ICM cells. We also found that XIST promoter methylation is correlated with silencing of XIST transcripts in early passages of hESCs, even in the pre-XCI state. In conclusion, XCI variations already take place in early passages of hESCs, which may be a consequence of in vitro culture selection during the derivation process. Nevertheless, we cannot rule out the possibility that XCI variations in hESCs may reflect heterogeneous XCI states in ICM cells that stochastically give rise to hESCs.
Project description:X chromosome inactivation (XCI) is a dosage compensation mechanism that silences the majority of genes on one X chromosome in each female cell via a random process. Skewed XCI is relevant to many diseases, but the mechanism leading to it remains unclear. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) derived from the inner cell mass (ICM) of blastocyst-stage embryos have provided an excellent model system for understanding XCI initiation and maintenance. Here, we derived hESC lines with random or skewed XCI patterns from poor-quality embryos and investigated the genome-wide copy number variation (CNV) and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) patterns at the early passages of these two groups of hESC lines. It was found that the average size of CNVs on the X chromosomes in the skewed group is twice as much as that in the random group. Moreover, the LOH regions of the skewed group covered the gene locus of either XIST or XACT, which are master long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) effectors of XCI in human pluripotent stem cells. In conclusion, our work has established an experimentally tractable hESC model for study of skewed XCI and revealed an association between X chromosome instability and skewed XCI.
Project description:Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are pluripotent cell types derived from the inner cell mass of human blastocysts. Recent data indicate that the majority of established female XX hESC lines have undergone X chromosome inactivation (XCI) prior to differentiation, and XCI of hESCs can be either XIST-dependent (class II) or XIST-independent (class III). XCI of female hESCs precludes the use of XX hESCs as a cell-based model for examining mechanisms of XCI, and will be a challenge for studying X-linked diseases unless strategies are developed to reactivate the inactive X. In order to recover nuclei with two active X chromosomes (class I), we developed a reprogramming strategy by supplementing hESC media with the small molecules sodium butyrate and 3-deazaneplanocin A (DZNep). Our data demonstrate that successful reprogramming can occur from the XIST-dependent class II nuclear state but not class III nuclear state. To determine whether these small molecules prevent XCI, we derived six new hESC lines under normoxic conditions (UCLA1-UCLA6). We show that class I nuclei are present within the first 20 passages of hESC derivation prior to cryopreservation, and that supplementation with either sodium butyrate or DZNep preserve class I nuclei in the self-renewing state. Together, our data demonstrate that self-renewal and survival of class I nuclei are compatible with normoxic hESC derivation, and that chemical supplementation after derivation provides a strategy to prevent epigenetic progression and retain nuclei with two active X chromosomes in the self-renewing state.
Project description:X chromosome inactivation (XCI) is an essential mechanism for dosage compensation of X-linked genes in female cells. We report that subcultures from lines of female human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) exhibit variation (0-100%) for XCI markers, including XIST RNA expression and enrichment of histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) on the inactive X chromosome (Xi). Surprisingly, regardless of the presence or absence of XCI markers in different cultures, all female hESCs we examined (H7, H9, and HSF6 cells) exhibit a monoallelic expression pattern for a majority of X-linked genes. Our results suggest that these established female hESCs have already completed XCI during the process of derivation and/or propagation, and the XCI pattern of lines we investigated is already not random. Moreover, XIST gene expression in subsets of cultured female hESCs is unstable and subject to stable epigenetic silencing by DNA methylation. In the absence of XIST expression, approximately 12% of X-linked promoter CpG islands become hypomethylated and a portion of X-linked alleles on the Xi are reactivated. Because alterations in dosage compensation of X-linked genes could impair somatic cell function, we propose that XCI status should be routinely checked in subcultures of female hESCs, with cultures displaying XCI markers better suited for use in regenerative medicine.
Project description:During peri-implantation development in mice, X chromosome inactivation (XCI) status changes dynamically. Here, we examined the expression of Xist and its antisense partner, Tsix, via whole-mount 3D RNA-FISH using strand-specific probes and evaluated XCI status. The results indicate that Xist expression disappears completely by embryonic day (E) 4.5 without Tsix activation in the ICM and that Xist re-expression occurs at E4.75 in some cells, suggesting that random XCI is already initiated in these cells. Intriguingly, epiblast cells exhibiting biallelic Xist expression were observed frequently (~15%) at E5.25 and E5.5. Immunostaining analysis of epigenetic modifications suggests that global change in epigenomic status occurs concomitantly with the transition from imprinted to random XCI. However, global upregulation of H3K27me3 modifications initiated earlier than other modifications, occurring specifically in ICM during progression of Xist erasure. Although both Xist expression and imprinted XCI are thought to be stable in the primitive endoderm/visceral endoderm and trophectoderm/extraembryonic ectoderm lineages, transient loss of Xist clouds was noted only in a subset of extraembryonic ectodermal cells, suggesting distinct features of Xist regulation among the three different embryonic tissue layers. These results will serve as a basis for future functional studies of XCI regulation in vivo.
Project description:Female human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) have variable X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) status. One of the X chromosomes may either be inactive (Xi) or display some active state markers. Long-term cultivation of PSCs may lead to an erosion of XCI and partial X reactivation. Such heterogeneity and instability of XCI status might hamper the application of human female PSCs for therapy or disease modeling. We attempted to address XCI heterogeneity by reprogramming human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to the naïve state. We propagated five hESC lines under naïve culture conditions. PSCs acquired naïve cells characteristics although these changes were not uniform for all of the hESC lines. Transition to the naïve state was accompanied by a loss of XIST expression, loss of Xi H3K27me3 enrichment and a switch in Xi replication synchronously with active X, except for two regions. This pattern of Xi reactivation was observed in all cells in two hESC lines. However, these cells were unable to undergo classical XCI upon spontaneous differentiation. We conclude that naïve culture conditions do not resolve the variability in XCI status in female human ESC lines and establish an irreversible heterogeneous pattern of partial X reactivation.
Project description:This unit describes a method of performing fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) of XIST and Cot-1 RNA in human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) to characterize the epigenetic status of X-chromosome inactivation (XCI). hPSC laboratories commonly practice karyotypic analysis to monitor genetic stability; however, epigenetic stability is often overlooked. Several laboratories have recently shown that markers of XCI can be used as one effective screen to monitor the epigenetic status of hPSCs. Human embryonic stem cells (HESC) fall into three classes of XCI states: upregulating XIST upon differentiation, always expressing XIST in the undifferentiated and differentiated states, and never expressing XIST in the undifferentiated and differentiated states. Failure to express XIST represents an especially concerning state in hESC, as this state does not occur in healthy female cells but is often seen in malignancies. Herein, methods of carrying out XIST RNA and Cot-1 RNA FISH are described. FISH analysis of XIST RNA, unlike general expression analysis such as RT-PCR, allows for the classification of XCI on a single-cell level, enabling a quantitative determination of the degree of epigenetic change across the population. The complementary Cot-1 analysis measures the extent of repeat element expression throughout the nucleus and therefore enables determination, at a cytological level, of the extent to which the X chromosome is silent. Because the different steps of XCI are some of the first epigenetic changes to take place in differentiating hESC, analysis of the XCI state provides a first indication of an hESC culture's overall health.
Project description:Culture conditions that support the growth of undifferentiated human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have already been established using primary human amnion epithelial cells (hAECs) as an alternative to traditional mitotically inactivated mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). In the present work, inner cell masses (ICM) were isolated from frozen embryos obtained as donations from couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment and four new hESC lines were derived using hAECs as feeder cells. This feeder system was able to support continuous growth of what were, according to their domed shape and markers, undifferentiated naïve-like hESCs. Their pluripotent potential were also demonstrated by embryoid bodies developing to the expected three germ layers in vitro and the productions of teratoma in vivo. The cell lines retained their karyotypic integrity for over 35 passages. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) indicated that these newly derived hESCs consisted mostly of undifferentiated cells with large nuclei and scanty cytoplasm. The new hESCs cultured on hAECs showed distinct undifferentiated characteristics in comparison to hESCs of the same passage maintained on MEFs. This type of optimized culture system may provide a useful platform for establishing clinical-grade hESCs and assessing the undifferentiated potential of hESCs.
Project description:With the potential to give rise to all somatic cell types, human embryonic stem cells (hESC) have generated enormous interest as agents of cell replacement therapy. One potential limitation is their safety in vivo. Although several studies have focused on concerns over genomic stability ex vivo, few have analyzed epigenetic stability. Here, we use tools of the epigenetic phenomenon, X-chromosome inactivation (XCI), to investigate their epigenetic properties. Among 11 distinct hESC lines, we find a high degree of variability. We show that, like mouse ESC, hESC in principle have the capacity to recapitulate XCI when induced to differentiate in culture (class I lines). However, this capacity is seen in few hESC isolates. Many hESC lines have already undergone XCI (class II and III). Unexpectedly, there is a tendency to lose XIST RNA expression during culture (class III). Despite losing H3-K27 trimethylation, the inactive X of class III lines remains transcriptionally suppressed, as indicated by Cot-1 RNA exclusion. We conclude that hESC lines are subject to dynamic epigenetic reprogramming ex vivo. Given that XCI and cell differentiation are tightly linked, we consider implications for hESC pluripotency and differentiation potential.
Project description:X chromosome inactivation (XCI) is a dosage compensation mechanism in female cells to regulate X-linked gene expression. We report here that subcultures from established lines of female hESCs displayed variations (0-100%) in the expression of XCI markers such as XIST RNA coating and enrichment of histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) on inactive X chromosome. Surprisingly, regardless of the presence or absence of XCI markers in different cultures, all female hESCs we examined (H7, H9, and HSF6 cells) exhibit a mono-allelic expression pattern for a majority of X-linked genes. Our results suggest that these established female hESCs have completed XCI during the process of derivation and/or propagation, and the XCI pattern of lines we investigated is already non-random. However, XIST gene expression in subsets of female hESCs is unstable and subject to epigenetic silencing through DNA methylation. Concomitant with the loss of XCI markers including XIST expression and H3K27me3, approximately 12% of X-linked CpG islands become hypomethylated and a subset of previously silenced X-linked alleles are reactivated, resulting a significant elevation of gene expression dosage. Because changes in dosage compensation of X-linked genes could impair somatic cell function, we propose that XCI status should be routinely checked in subcultures of female hESCs, with cultures displaying XCI markers better suited for use in regenerative medicine. Keywords: Genotyping, gene expression and DNA methylation We used Affymetrix Genotyping array for looking for X-linked SNPs with HSF6, H7 and H9 genomic DNA, Agilent Gene expression array for comparing gene expression patten changes between HSF6 hESCs with X-inactiation and HSF6 hESCs without X-inactivation (3 repeats). Finally, mDIP-Chip method was used to detect X-linked CpG island methylation changes differences between hESCs with X-inactivation and hESCs without X-inactivation using Agilent CpG island array (3 repeats, and one of them has dye swap)
Project description:Due to their extensive self-renewal and multilineage differentiation capacity, human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have great potential for studying developmental biology, disease modeling, and developing cell replacement therapy. The first hESC line was generated in 1998 by culturing inner cell mass (ICM) cells isolated from human blastocysts using an immunosurgery technique. Since then, many techniques including mechanical ICM isolation, laser dissection, and whole embryo culture have been used to derive hESC lines. However, the hESC derivation efficiency remains low, usually less than 50%, and it requires a large number of human embryos to derive a significant number of hESC lines. Due to a shortage of and restricted access to human embryos, a novel approach with better hESC derivation efficiency is badly needed to decrease the number of embryos used.We hypothesized that the low hESC derivation efficiency might be due to extensive proliferation of trophoblast (TE) cells which could interfere with ICM proliferation. We therefore developed a methodology to minimize TE cell proliferation by culturing ICM in a feeder-free system for 3 days before transferring them onto feeder cells.This minimized trophoblast cell proliferation (MTP) technique could be successfully used to derive hESCs from normal, abnormal, and frozen-thawed embryos with better derivation efficiency of more than 50% (range 50-100%; median 70%).We successfully developed a better hESC derivation methodology using the "MTP" culture system. This methodology can be effectively used to derive hESCs from both normal and abnormal embryos under feeder-free conditions with higher efficiency when compared with other methodologies. With this methodology, large-scale production of clinical-grade hESCs is feasible.