MicroRNAs regulate human embryonic stem cell division.
ABSTRACT: microRNAs (miRNAs) regulate numerous physiological processes such as cell division and differentiation in many tissue types including stem cells. To probe the role that miRNAs play in regulating processes relevant to embryonic stem cell biology, we used RNA interference to silence DICER and DROSHA, the two main miRNA processing enzymes. Consistent with a role for miRNAs in maintaining normal stem cell division and renewal, we found that perturbation of miRNA pathway function in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) attenuates cell proliferation. Normal cell growth can be partially restored by introduction of the mature miRNAs miR-195 and miR-372. These miRNAs regulate two tumor suppressor genes, respectively: WEE1, which encodes a negative G2/M kinase modulator of the CycB/CDK complex and CDKN1A, which encodes p21, a CycE/CDK cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor that regulates the G1/S transition. We show that in wild-type hESCs, WEE 1 levels control the rate of hESC division, whereas p21 levels must be maintained at a low level for hESC division to proceed. These data support a model for hESC cell cycle control in which miRNAs regulate negative cell cycle modulators at two phases of the cell cycle to ensure proper replenishment of the stem cell population.
Project description:Human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are critical in vitro tools for understanding mechanisms that regulate lineage differentiation in the human embryo as well as a potentially unlimited supply of stem cells for regenerative medicine. Pluripotent human and mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) derived from the inner cell mass of blastocysts share a similar transcription factor network to maintain pluripotency and self-renewal, yet there are considerable molecular differences reflecting the diverse environments in which mouse and human ESCs are derived. In the current study we evaluated the role of Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) in human ESC (hESC) self-renewal and pluripotency given its critical role in safeguarding mouse ESC pluripotency. Unlike the mouse, we discovered that PRMT5 has no role in hESC pluripotency. Using microarray analysis we discovered that a significant depletion in PRMT5 RNA and protein from hESCs changed the expression of only 78 genes, with the majority being repressed. Functionally, we discovered that depletion of PRMT5 had no effect on expression of OCT4, NANOG or SOX2, and did not prevent teratoma formation. Instead, we show that PRMT5 functions in hESCs to regulate proliferation in the self-renewing state by regulating the fraction of cells in Gap 1 (G1) of the cell cycle and increasing expression of the G1 cell cycle inhibitor P57. Taken together our data unveils a distinct role for PRMT5 in hESCs and identifies P57 as new target.
Project description:It is important to understand the regulation of stem cell division because defects in this process can cause altered tissue homeostasis or cancer. The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor Dacapo (Dap), a p21/p27 homolog, acts downstream of the microRNA (miRNA) pathway to regulate the cell cycle in Drosophila melanogaster germline stem cells (GSCs). Tissue-extrinsic signals, including insulin, also regulate cell division of GSCs. We report that intrinsic and extrinsic regulators intersect in GSC division control; the Insulin receptor (InR) pathway regulates Dap levels through miRNAs, thereby controlling GSC division. Using GFP-dap 3'UTR sensors in vivo, we show that in GSCs the dap 3'UTR is responsive to Dicer-1, an RNA endonuclease III required for miRNA processing. Furthermore, the dap 3'UTR can be directly targeted by miR-7, miR-278 and miR-309 in luciferase assays. Consistent with this, miR-278 and miR-7 mutant GSCs are partially defective in GSC division and show abnormal cell cycle marker expression, respectively. These data suggest that the GSC cell cycle is regulated via the dap 3'UTR by multiple miRNAs. Furthermore, the GFP-dap 3'UTR sensors respond to InR but not to TGF-beta signaling, suggesting that InR signaling utilizes Dap for GSC cell cycle regulation. We further demonstrate that the miRNA-based Dap regulation may act downstream of InR signaling; Dcr-1 and Dap are required for nutrition-dependent cell cycle regulation in GSCs and reduction of dap partially rescues the cell cycle defect of InR-deficient GSCs. These data suggest that miRNA- and Dap-based cell cycle regulation in GSCs can be controlled by InR signaling.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: The physiological signals that direct the division and differentiation of the zygote to form a blastocyst, and subsequent embryonic stem cell division and differentiation during early embryogenesis, are unknown. Although a number of growth factors, including the pregnancy-associated hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) are secreted by trophoblasts that lie adjacent to the embryoblast in the blastocyst, it is not known whether these growth factors directly signal human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). METHODS: Here we used hESCs as a model of inner cell mass differentiation to examine the hormonal requirements for the formation of embryoid bodies (EB's; akin to blastulation) and neuroectodermal rosettes (akin to neurulation). RESULTS: We found that hCG promotes the division of hESCs and their differentiation into EB's and neuroectodermal rosettes. Inhibition of luteinizing hormone/chorionic gonadotropin receptor (LHCGR) signaling suppresses hESC proliferation, an effect that is reversed by treatment with hCG. hCG treatment rapidly upregulates steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR)-mediated cholesterol transport and the synthesis of progesterone (P4). hESCs express P4 receptor A, and treatment of hESC colonies with P4 induces neurulation, as demonstrated by the expression of nestin and the formation of columnar neuroectodermal cells that organize into neural tubelike rosettes. Suppression of P4 signaling by withdrawing P4 or treating with the P4-receptor antagonist RU-486 inhibits the differentiation of hESC colonies into EB's and rosettes. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that hCG signaling via LHCGR on hESC promotes proliferation and differentiation during blastulation and neurulation. These findings suggest that trophoblastic hCG secretion and signaling to the adjacent embryoblast could be the commencement of trophic support by placental tissues in the growth and development of the human embryo.
Project description:Background:Cell cycle regulation is a complex system consisting of growth-promoting and growth-restricting mechanisms, whose coordinated activity is vital for proper division and propagation. Alterations in this regulation may lead to uncontrolled proliferation and genomic instability, triggering carcinogenesis. Here, we conducted a comprehensive bioinformatic analysis of cell cycle-related genes using data from CRISPR/Cas9 loss-of-function screens performed in four cancer cell lines and in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Results:Cell cycle genes, and in particular S phase and checkpoint genes, are highly essential for the growth of cancer and pluripotent cells. However, checkpoint genes are also found to underlie the differences between the cell cycle features of these cell types. Interestingly, while growth-promoting cell cycle genes overlap considerably between cancer and stem cells, growth-restricting cell cycle genes are completely distinct. Moreover, growth-restricting genes are consistently less frequent in cancer cells than in hESCs. Here we show that most of these genes are regulated by the tumor suppressor gene TP53, which is mutated in most cancer cells. Therefore, the growth-restriction system in cancer cells lacks important factors and does not function properly. Intriguingly, M phase genes are specifically essential for the growth of hESCs and are highly abundant among hESC-enriched genes. Conclusions:Our results highlight the differences in cell cycle regulation between cell types and emphasize the importance of conducting cell cycle studies in cells with intact genomes, in order to obtain an authentic representation of the genetic features of the cell cycle.
Project description:Pluripotent stem cells can undergo repeated self-renewal while retaining genetic integrity, but they occasionally acquire aneuploidy during long-term culture, which is a practical obstacle for medical applications of human pluripotent stem cells. In this study, we explored the biological roles of ABR, a regulator of RHO family small GTPases, and found that it has pivotal roles during mitotic processes in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Although ABR has been shown to be involved in dissociation-induced hESC apoptosis, it does not appear to have direct effects on cell survival unless cell-cell contact is impaired. Instead, we found that it is important for faithful hESC division. Mechanistically, ABR depletion compromised centrosome dynamics and predisposed the cell to chromosome misalignment and missegregation, which raised the frequency of aneuploidy. These results provide insights into the mechanisms that support the genetic integrity of self-renewing hESCs.
Project description:Complexity in the spatial organization of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) cultures creates heterogeneous microenvironments (niches) that influence hESC fate. This study demonstrates that the rate and trajectory of hESC differentiation can be controlled by engineering hESC niche properties. Niche size and composition regulate the balance between differentiation-inducing and -inhibiting factors. Mechanistically, a niche size-dependent spatial gradient of Smad1 signaling is generated as a result of antagonistic interactions between hESCs and hESC-derived extra-embryonic endoderm (ExE). These interactions are mediated by the localized secretion of bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP2) by ExE and its antagonist, growth differentiation factor-3 (GDF3) by hESCs. Micropatterning of hESCs treated with small interfering (si) RNA against GDF3, BMP2 and Smad1, as well treatments with a Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) inhibitor demonstrate that independent control of Smad1 activation can rescue the colony size-dependent differentiation of hESCs. Our results illustrate, for the first time, a role for Smad1 in the integration of spatial information and in the niche-size-dependent control of hESC self-renewal and differentiation.
Project description:miR-302/367 is the most abundant miRNA cluster in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and can promote somatic cell reprogramming. However, its role in hESCs remains poorly understood. Here, we studied functional roles of the endogenous miR-302/367 cluster in hESCs by employing specific TALE-based transcriptional repressors. We revealed that miR-302/367 cluster dually regulates hESC cell cycle and apoptosis in dose-dependent manner. Gene profiling and functional studies identified key targets of the miR-302/367 cluster in regulating hESC self-renewal and apoptosis. We demonstrate that in addition to its role in cell cycle regulation, miR-302/367 cluster conquers apoptosis by downregulating BNIP3L/Nix (a BH3-only proapoptotic factor) and upregulating BCL-xL expression. Furthermore, we show that butyrate, a natural compound, upregulates miR-302/367 cluster expression and alleviates hESCs from apoptosis induced by knockdown of miR-302/367 cluster. In summary, our findings provide new insights in molecular mechanisms of how miR-302/367 cluster regulates hESCs.
Project description:Pluripotency and self-renewal of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) is mediated by a complex interplay between extra- and intracellular signaling pathways, which regulate the expression of pluripotency-specific transcription factors. The homeodomain transcription factor NANOG plays a central role in maintaining hESC pluripotency, but the precise role and regulation of NANOG are not well defined.To facilitate the study of NANOG expression and regulation in viable hESC cultures, we generated fluorescent NANOG reporter cell lines by gene targeting in hESCs. In these reporter lines, the fluorescent reporter gene was co-expressed with endogenous NANOG and responded to experimental induction or repression of the NANOG promoter with appropriate changes in expression levels. Furthermore, NANOG reporter lines facilitated the separation of hESC populations based on NANOG expression levels and their subsequent characterization. Gene expression arrays on isolated hESC subpopulations revealed genes with differential expression in NANOG(high) and NANOG(low) hESCs, providing candidates for NANOG downstream targets hESCs.The newly derived NANOG reporter hESC lines present novel tools to visualize NANOG expression in viable hESCs. In future applications, these reporter lines can be used to elucidate the function and regulation of NANOG in pluripotent hESCs.
Project description:Small RNA molecules, including microRNAs (miRNAs), play critical roles in regulating pluripotency, proliferation and differentiation of embryonic stem cells. miRNA-offset RNAs (moRNAs) are similar in length to miRNAs, align to miRNA precursor (pre-miRNA) loci and are therefore believed to derive from processing of the pre-miRNA hairpin sequence. Recent next generation sequencing (NGS) studies have reported the presence of moRNAs in human neurons and cancer cells and in several tissues in mouse, including pluripotent stem cells. In order to gain additional knowledge about human moRNAs and their putative development-related expression, we applied NGS of small RNAs in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and fibroblasts. We found that certain moRNA isoforms are notably expressed in hESCs from loci coding for stem cell-selective or cancer-related miRNA clusters. In contrast, we observed only sparse moRNAs in fibroblasts. Consistent with earlier findings, most of the observed moRNAs derived from conserved loci and their expression did not appear to correlate with the expression of the adjacent miRNAs. We provide here the first report of moRNAs in hESCs, and their expression profile in comparison to fibroblasts. Moreover, we expand the repertoire of hESC miRNAs. These findings provide an expansion on the known repertoire of small non-coding RNA contents in hESCs.
Project description:Cellular and molecular changes that occur during the genesis of the hematopoietic system and hematopoietic stem cells in the human embryo are mostly inaccessible to study and remain poorly understood. To address this gap we have exploited the human embryonic stem cell (hESC) system to molecularly characterize the global transcriptomes of the two functionally discreet and phenotypically separable populations of multipotent hematopoietic cells that first appear when hESCs are induced to differentiate on OP9 cells.We prepared long serial analysis of gene expression libraries from lin-CD34+CD43+CD45- and lin-CD34+CD43+CD45+ subsets of primitive hematopoietic cells derived in vitro from hESCs, sequenced them to a depth of 200,000 tags and compared their content with similar libraries prepared from highly purified populations of very primitive human fetal liver and cord blood hematopoietic cells.Comparison of libraries obtained from hESC-derived lin-CD34+CD43+CD45- and lin-CD34+CD43+CD45+ revealed differences in their expression of genes associated with myeloid development, cellular biosynthetic processes, and cell-cycle regulation. Further comparisons with analogous data for primitive hematopoietic cells isolated from first-trimester human fetal liver and newborn cord blood showed an apparent similarity between the transcriptomes of the most primitive hESC- and in vivo-derived populations, with the main differences involving genes that regulate HSC self-renewal and homing, chromatin remodeling, AP1 transcription complex genes, and noncoding RNAs.These data suggest that primitive hematopoietic cells are generated from hESCs in vitro by processes similar to those operative during human embryogenesis in vivo, although some differences were also detected.