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Esrrb is a direct Nanog target gene that can substitute for Nanog function in pluripotent cells.
ABSTRACT: Embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal efficiency is determined by the level of Nanog expression. However, the mechanisms by which Nanog functions remain unclear, and in particular, direct Nanog target genes are uncharacterized. Here we investigate ESCs expressing different Nanog levels and Nanog(-/-) cells with distinct functionally inducible Nanog proteins to identify Nanog-responsive genes. Surprisingly, these constitute a minor fraction of genes that Nanog binds. Prominent among Nanog-reponsive genes is Estrogen-related receptor b (Esrrb). Nanog binds directly to Esrrb, enhances binding of RNAPolII, and stimulates Esrrb transcription. Overexpression of Esrrb in ESCs maintains cytokine-independent self-renewal and pluripotency. Remarkably, this activity is retained in Nanog(-/-) ESCs. Moreover, Esrrb can reprogram Nanog(-/-) EpiSCs and can rescue stalled reprogramming in Nanog(-/-) pre-iPSCs. Finally, Esrrb deletion abolishes the defining ability of Nanog to confer LIF-independent ESC self-renewal. These findings are consistent with the functional placement of Esrrb downstream of Nanog.
Project description:Embryonic stem cell (ESC) pluripotency depends on a well-characterized gene regulatory network centered on Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog. In contrast, little is known about the identity of the key coregulators and the mechanisms by which they may potentiate transcription in ESCs. Alongside core transcription factors, the orphan nuclear receptor Esrrb (estrogen-related receptor ?) is vital for the maintenance of ESC identity and furthermore is uniquely associated with the basal transcription machinery. Here, we show that Ncoa3, an essential coactivator, is required to mediate Esrrb function in ESCs. Ncoa3 interacts with Esrrb via its ligand-binding domain and bridges Esrrb to RNA polymerase II complexes. Functionally, Ncoa3 is critical for both the induction and maintenance of pluripotency. Through chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) sequencing and microarray experiments, we further demonstrate that Ncoa3 shares overlapping gene regulatory functions with Esrrb and cooperates genome-wide with the Oct4-Sox2-Nanog circuitry at active enhancers to up-regulate genes involved in self-renewal and pluripotency. We propose an integrated model of transcriptional and coactivator control, mediated by Ncoa3, for the maintenance of ESC self-renewal and somatic cell reprogramming.
Project description:The transcription factors (TFs) Nanog and Esrrb play important roles in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and during primordial germ-cell (PGC) development. Esrrb is a positively regulated direct target of NANOG in ESCs that can substitute qualitatively for Nanog function in ESCs. Whether this functional substitution extends to the germline is unknown. Here, we show that germline deletion of Nanog reduces PGC numbers 5-fold at midgestation. Despite this quantitative depletion, Nanog-null PGCs can complete germline development in contrast to previous findings. PGC-like cell (PGCLC) differentiation of Nanog-null ESCs is also impaired, with Nanog-null PGCLCs showing decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis. However, induced expression of Esrrb restores PGCLC numbers as efficiently as Nanog. These effects are recapitulated in vivo: knockin of Esrrb to Nanog restores PGC numbers to wild-type levels and results in fertile adult mice. These findings demonstrate that Esrrb can replace Nanog function in germ cells.
Project description:The core pluripotency transcription factor NANOG is critical for embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal and somatic cell reprogramming. Although NANOG is phosphorylated at multiple residues, the role of NANOG phosphorylation in ESC self-renewal is incompletely understood, and no information exists regarding its functions during reprogramming. Here we report our findings that NANOG phosphorylation is beneficial, although nonessential, for ESC self-renewal, and that loss of phosphorylation enhances NANOG activity in reprogramming. Mutation of serine 65 in NANOG to alanine (S65A) alone has the most significant impact on increasing NANOG reprogramming capacity. Mechanistically, we find that pluripotency regulators (ESRRB, OCT4, SALL4, DAX1, and TET1) are transcriptionally primed and preferentially associated with NANOG S65A at the protein level due to presumed structural alterations in the N-terminal domain of NANOG. These results demonstrate that a single phosphorylation site serves as a critical interface for controlling context-dependent NANOG functions in pluripotency and reprogramming.
Project description:Embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal and pluripotency is maintained by an external signaling pathways and intrinsic regulatory networks involving ESC-specific transcriptional complexes (mainly formed by OCT3/4, Sox2 and Nanog proteins), the Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) and DNA methylation [1-8]. Among these, Nanog represents the more ESC specific factor and its repression correlates with the loss of pluripotency and ESC differentiation [9-11]. During ESC early differentiation, many development-associated genes become upregulated and although, in general, much is known about the pluripotency self-renewal circuitry, the molecular events that lead ESCs to exit from pluripotency and begin differentiation are largely unknown. Snai1 is one the most early induced genes during ESC differentiation in vitro and in vivo [12,13]. Here we show that Snai1 is able to directly repress several stemness-associated genes including Nanog. We use a ESC stable-line expressing a inducible Snai1 protein. We here show microarray analysis of embryonic stem cells (ESC) expressing Snail-ER at various time points of induction with 4-OH. Data were deposited in Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) datasets under reference GSE57854 and here: http://epigenetics.hugef-research.org/data.php.
Project description:Self-renewal of human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) is promoted by FGF and TGFbeta/Activin signaling, and differentiation is promoted by BMP signaling, but how these signals regulate genes critical to the maintenance of pluripotency has been unclear. Using a defined medium, we show here that both TGFbeta and FGF signals synergize to inhibit BMP signaling; sustain expression of pluripotency-associated genes such as NANOG, OCT4, and SOX2; and promote long-term undifferentiated proliferation of human ESCs. We also show that both TGFbeta- and BMP-responsive SMADs can bind with the NANOG proximal promoter. NANOG promoter activity is enhanced by TGFbeta/Activin and FGF signaling and is decreased by BMP signaling. Mutation of putative SMAD binding elements reduces NANOG promoter activity to basal levels and makes NANOG unresponsive to BMP and TGFbeta signaling. These results suggest that direct binding of TGFbeta/Activin-responsive SMADs to the NANOG promoter plays an essential role in sustaining human ESC self-renewal.
Project description:Nucleostemin (NS) is a nucleolar GTP-binding protein that is involved in a plethora of functions including ribosomal biogenesis and maintenance of telomere integrity. In addition to its expression in cancerous cells, the NS gene is expressed in stem cells including embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Previous knockdown and knockout studies have demonstrated that NS is important to preserve the self-renewality and high expression levels of pluripotency marker genes in ESCs. Here, we found that forced expression of Nanog or Esrrb, but not other pluripotency factors, resulted in the dispensability of NS expression in ESCs. However, the detrimental phenotypes of ESCs associated with ablation of NS expression were not mitigated by forced expression of Rad51 or a nucleolar localization-defective NS mutant that counteracts the damage associated with loss of NS expression in other NS-expressing cells such as neural stem/progenitor cells. Thus, our results indicate that NS participates in preservation of the viability and integrity of ESCs, which is distinct from that in other NS-expressing cells.
Project description:Inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (Gsk3) supports mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) by modulating Tcf3, but the critical targets downstream of Tcf3 are unclear. We analyzed the intersection between genome localization and transcriptome data sets to identify genes repressed by Tcf3. Among these, manipulations of Esrrb gave distinctive phenotypes in functional assays. Knockdown and knockout eliminated response to Gsk3 inhibition, causing extinction of pluripotency markers and loss of colony forming capability. Conversely, forced expression phenocopied Gsk3 inhibition or Tcf3 deletion by suppressing differentiation and sustaining self-renewal. Thus the nuclear receptor Esrrb is necessary and sufficient to mediate self-renewal downstream of Gsk3 inhibition. Leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF) regulates ESCs through Stat3, independently of Gsk3 inhibition. Consistent with parallel operation, ESCs in LIF accommodated Esrrb deletion and remained pluripotent. These findings highlight a key role for Esrrb in regulating the naive pluripotent state and illustrate compensation among the core pluripotency factors.
Project description:Bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) is an important epigenetic reader implicated in the pathogenesis of a number of different cancers and other diseases. Brd4-null mouse embryos die shortly after implantation and are compromised in their ability to maintain the inner cell mass, which gives rise to embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Here we report that BRD4 regulates expression of the pluripotency factor Nanog in mouse ESCs and preimplantation embryos, as well as in human ESCs and embryonic cancer stem cells. Inhibition of BRD4 function using a chemical inhibitor, small interfering RNAs, or a dominant-negative approach suppresses Nanog expression, and abolishes the self-renewal ability of ESCs. We also find that BRD4 associates with BRG1 (brahma-related gene 1, aka Smarca4 (SWI/SNF-related, matrix-associated, actin-dependent regulator of chromatin, subfamily a, member 4)), a key regulator of ESC self-renewal and pluripotency, in the Nanog regulatory regions to regulate Nanog expression. Our study identifies Nanog as a novel BRD4 target gene, providing new insights for the biological function of BRD4 in stem cells and mouse embryos. Knowledge gained from these non-cancerous systems will facilitate future investigations of how Brd4 dysfunction leads to cancers.
Project description:Uncontrolled self-renewal plays a direct function in the progression of different types of carcinomas. The same molecular pathway that manages self-renewal in normal stem cells also seems to manage cancer stem cells. Here, we examine the expressions of self-renewal regulatory factors Oct4, Nanog, Sox2, nucleostemin, Zfx, Esrrb, Tcl1, Tbx3, and Dppa4 in tissue samples of colon, prostate, and bladder carcinomas as well as cancer cell lines HT-29, Caco-2, HT-1376, LNCaP, and HepG2. We used reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to examine expressions of the above mentioned regulatory factors in cancer cell lines HT-29, Caco-2, HT-1376, LNCaP, and HepG2 and in 20 tumor tissue samples. Total RNA was isolated by the ISOGEN method. RNA integrity was checked by agarose gel electrophoresis and spectrophotometry. Expressions of Oct4 and nucleostemin at the protein level were determined by immunocytochemistry. A significant relationship was found between tumor grade and self-renewal gene expression. Expressions of stem cell specific marker genes were detected in all examined cancer cell lines, in 40% to 100% of bladder cancer samples, and in 60% to 100% of colon and prostate cancer samples. Oct4 expressed in 100% of tumor tissue samples. Our data show that stem cell markers Oct4, Nanog, Sox2, nucleostemin, Bmi, Zfx, Esrrb, Tcl1, Tbx3, and Dppa4 significantly express in cancer cell lines and cancer tissues. Hence, these markers might be useful as potential tumor markers in the diagnosis and/or prognosis of tumors.
Project description:Targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs) has been proposed as a new strategy to eradicate malignancies, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the mechanisms by which CSCs sustain their self-renewal and chemoresistance remain elusive. Nanog is a master transcriptional regulator of stemness, especially in CSCs. Its expression is tightly regulated by the ubiquitin-proteasome system in embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Whether the suppression of Nanog ubiquitination contributes to its over-expression in CSCs has not been explored. In addition, the role of receptor for activated C kinase 1 (RACK1), an adaptor protein implicated in HCC growth, in liver CSC-like traits remains to be determined. Methods: In vitro and in vivo assays were performed to investigate the role of RACK1 in liver CSC-like phenotype and murine ESC function. How RACK1 regulates Nanog expression was explored by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. The interaction of RACK1 with Nanog and the consequent effects on Nanog ubiquitination and stemness were then analyzed. Results: RACK1 promotes self-renewal and chemoresistance of human liver CSCs and maintains murine ESC function. Consistently, RACK1 enhances the expression of Nanog in human HCC cells and murine ESCs. The protein levels of RACK1 in clinical HCC tissues positively correlate with those of Nanog. Further exploration indicates that RACK1 directly binds to Nanog, which prevents its recruitment of E3 ubiquitin ligase FBXW8 and ubiquitin-dependent degradation. The interaction with Nanog is essential for RACK1 to promote stemness. Conclusions: Our data provide novel insights into the regulation of Nanog protein levels, as well the key role of RACK1 to enhance self-renewal and chemoresistance of CSCs in human HCC.