Mesp1 patterns mesoderm into cardiac, hematopoietic, or skeletal myogenic progenitors in a context-dependent manner.
ABSTRACT: Mesp1 is regarded as the master regulator of cardiovascular development, initiating the cardiac transcription factor cascade to direct the generation of cardiac mesoderm. To define the early embryonic cell population that responds to Mesp1, we performed pulse inductions of gene expression over tight temporal windows following embryonic stem cell differentiation. Remarkably, instead of promoting cardiac differentiation in the initial wave of mesoderm, Mesp1 binds to the Tal1 (Scl) +40 kb enhancer and generates Flk-1+ precursors expressing Etv2 (ER71) and Tal1 that undergo hematopoietic differentiation. The second wave of mesoderm responds to Mesp1 by differentiating into PDGFR?+ precursors that undergo cardiac differentiation. Furthermore, in the absence of serum-derived factors, Mesp1 promotes skeletal myogenic differentiation. Lineage tracing revealed that the majority of yolk sac and many adult hematopoietic cells derive from Mesp1+ precursors. Thus, Mesp1 is a context-dependent determination factor, integrating the stage of differentiation and the signaling environment to specify different lineage outcomes.
Project description:Mesp1 is a transcription factor that promotes differentiation of pluripotent cells into different mesoderm lineages including hematopoietic, cardiac and skeletal myogenic. This occurs via at least two transient cell populations: a common hematopoietic/cardiac progenitor population and a common cardiac/skeletal myogenic progenitor population. It is not established whether Mesp1-induced mesoderm cells are intrinsically heterogeneous, or are simply capable of multiple lineage decisions. In the current study, we applied single-cell RNA-seq to analyze Mesp1+ mesoderm. Initial whole transcriptome analysis showed a surprising homogeneity among Mesp1-induced mesoderm cells. However, this apparent global homogeneity masked an intrinsic heterogeneity revealed by interrogating a panel of early mesoderm patterning factors. This approach enabled discovery of subpopulations primed for hematopoietic or cardiac development. These studies demonstrate the heterogeneic nature of Mesp1+ mesoderm.
Project description:The molecular mechanisms underlying mesodermal and cardiac specification from embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are not fully understood. Here, we showed that the BTB domain-containing zinc finger protein CIBZ is expressed in mouse ESCs but is dramatically downregulated during ESC differentiation. CIBZ deletion in ESCs induced specification toward mesoderm phenotypes and their differentiation into cardiomyocytes, whereas overexpression of CIBZ delayed these processes. During ESC differentiation, CIBZ loss-and-gain-of-function data indicate that CIBZ negatively regulates the expressions of Brachyury (T) and Mesp1, the key transcriptional factors responsible for the specification of mammalian mesoderm and cardiac progenitors, respectively. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that CIBZ binds to T and Mesp1 promoters in undifferentiated ESCs, and luciferase assays indicate that CIBZ suppresses T and Mesp1 promoters. These findings demonstrate that CIBZ is a novel regulator of mesodermal and cardiac differentiation of ESCs, and suggest that CIBZ-mediated cardiac differentiation depends on the regulation of these two genes.
Project description:Mesp1 directs multipotential cardiovascular cell fates, even though it's transiently induced prior to the appearance of the cardiac progenitor program. Tracing Mesp1-expressing cells and their progeny allows isolation and characterization of the earliest cardiovascular progenitor cells. Studying the biology of Mesp1-CPCs in cell culture and ischemic disease models is an important initial step toward using them for heart disease treatment. Because of Mesp1's transitory nature, Mesp1-CPC lineages were traced by following EYFP expression in murine Mesp1(Cre/+); Rosa26(EYFP/+) ES cells. We captured EYFP+ cells that strongly expressed cardiac mesoderm markers and cardiac transcription factors, but not pluripotent or nascent mesoderm markers. BMP2/4 treatment led to the expansion of EYFP+ cells, while Wnt3a and Activin were marginally effective. BMP2/4 exposure readily led EYFP+ cells to endothelial and smooth muscle cells, but inhibition of the canonical Wnt signaling was required to enter the cardiomyocyte fate. Injected mouse pre-contractile Mesp1-EYFP+ CPCs improved the survivability of injured mice and restored the functional performance of infarcted hearts for at least 3 months. Mesp1-EYFP+ cells are bona fide CPCs and they integrated well in infarcted hearts and emerged de novo into terminally differentiated cardiac myocytes, smooth muscle and vascular endothelial cells.
Project description:In vitro cardiac differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) closely recapitulates in vivo embryonic heart development, and therefore, provides an excellent model to study human cardiac development. We recently generated the dual cardiac fluorescent reporter MESP1(mCherry/w)NKX2-5(eGFP/w) line in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), allowing the visualization of pre-cardiac MESP1+ mesoderm and their further commitment towards the cardiac lineage, marked by activation of the cardiac transcription factor NKX2-5. Here, we performed a comprehensive whole genome based transcriptome analysis of MESP1-mCherry derived cardiac-committed cells. In addition to previously described cardiac-inducing signalling pathways, we identified novel transcriptional and signalling networks indicated by transient activation and interactive network analysis. Furthermore, we found a highly dynamic regulation of extracellular matrix components, suggesting the importance to create a versatile niche, adjusting to various stages of cardiac differentiation. Finally, we identified cell surface markers for cardiac progenitors, such as the Leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein coupled receptor 4 (LGR4), belonging to the same subfamily of LGR5, and LGR6, established tissue/cancer stem cells markers. We provide a comprehensive gene expression analysis of cardiac derivatives from pre-cardiac MESP1-progenitors that will contribute to a better understanding of the key regulators, pathways and markers involved in human cardiac differentiation and development.
Project description:The transcription factor Eomesodermin (Eomes) is involved in early embryonic patterning, but the range of cell fates that it controls as well as its mechanisms of action remain unclear. Here we show that transient expression of Eomes promotes cardiovascular fate during embryonic stem cell differentiation. Eomes also rapidly induces the expression of Mesp1, a key regulator of cardiovascular differentiation, and directly binds to regulatory sequences of Mesp1. Eomes effects are strikingly modulated by Activin signalling: high levels of Activin inhibit the promotion of cardiac mesoderm by Eomes, while they enhance Eomes-dependent endodermal specification. These results place Eomes upstream of the Mesp1-dependent programme of cardiogenesis, and at the intersection of mesodermal and endodermal specification, depending on the levels of Activin/Nodal signalling.
Project description:Unique insights for the reprograming of cell lineages have come from embryonic development in the ascidian Ciona, which is dependent upon the transcription factors Ci-ets1/2 and Ci-mesp to generate cardiac progenitors. We tested the idea that mammalian v-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog 2 (ETS2) and mesoderm posterior (MESP) homolog may be used to convert human dermal fibroblasts into cardiac progenitors. Here we show that murine ETS2 has a critical role in directing cardiac progenitors during cardiopoiesis in embryonic stem cells. We then use lentivirus-mediated forced expression of human ETS2 to convert normal human dermal fibroblasts into replicative cells expressing the cardiac mesoderm marker KDR(+). However, although neither ETS2 nor the purported cardiac master regulator MESP1 can by themselves generate cardiac progenitors de novo from fibroblasts, forced coexpression of ETS2 and MESP1 or cell treatment with purified proteins reprograms fibroblasts into cardiac progenitors, as shown by the de novo appearance of core cardiac transcription factors, Ca(2+) transients, and sarcomeres. Our data indicate that ETS2 and MESP1 play important roles in a genetic network that governs cardiopoiesis.
Project description:The branchiomeric skeletal muscles co-evolved with new chambers of the heart to enable predatory feeding in chordates. These co-evolved tissues develop from a common population in anterior splanchnic mesoderm, referred to as cardiopharyngeal mesoderm (CPM). The regulation and development of CPM are poorly understood. We describe an embryonic stem cell-based system in which MESP1 drives a PDGFRA+ population with dual cardiac and skeletal muscle differentiation potential, and gene expression resembling CPM. Using this system, we investigate the regulation of these bipotent progenitors, and find that cardiac specification is governed by an antagonistic TGFβ-BMP axis, while skeletal muscle specification is enhanced by Rho kinase inhibition. We define transcriptional signatures of the first committed CPM-derived cardiac and skeletal myogenic progenitors, and discover surface markers to distinguish cardiac (PODXL+) from the skeletal muscle (CDH4+) CPM derivatives. These tools open an accessible window on this developmentally and evolutionarily important population.
Project description:Cardiac development arises from two sources of mesoderm progenitors, the first heart field (FHF) and the second (SHF). Mesp1 has been proposed to mark the most primitive multipotent cardiac progenitors common for both heart fields. Here, using clonal analysis of the earliest prospective cardiovascular progenitors in a temporally controlled manner during early gastrulation, we found that Mesp1 progenitors consist of two temporally distinct pools of progenitors restricted to either the FHF or the SHF. FHF progenitors were unipotent, whereas SHF progenitors were either unipotent or bipotent. Microarray and single-cell PCR with reverse transcription analysis of Mesp1 progenitors revealed the existence of molecularly distinct populations of Mesp1 progenitors, consistent with their lineage and regional contribution. Together, these results provide evidence that heart development arises from distinct populations of unipotent and bipotent cardiac progenitors that independently express Mesp1 at different time points during their specification, revealing that the regional segregation and lineage restriction of cardiac progenitors occur very early during gastrulation.
Project description:A hESC MESP1-MCHERRY reporter line was used to isolate and study the molecular character of MESP1 expressing pre-cardiac progenitors, derived from hESC. MESP1 is a key-transcription factor for pre-cardiac mesoderm and is marking the progenitor for almost all cells of the heart. This reporter line was used to study cardiac differentiation and the derivation of early cardiac progenitors in vitro. hESCs were differentiated towards the cardiac lineage, expressing MESP1-mCherry at day 3 of differentiation. Total RNA obtained from isolated MESP1-mCherry expressing progenitors was compared to that of non-MESP1-expressing progenitors and undifferentiated hESCs in order to characterize MESP1-specific transcription factors and proteins.
Project description:During embryonic development, Mesp1 marks the earliest cardiovascular progenitors (CPs) and promotes their specification, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and cardiovascular differentiation. However, Mesp1 deletion in mice does not impair initial CP specification and early cardiac differentiation but induces cardiac malformations thought to arise from a defect of CP migration. Using inducible gain-of-function experiments during embryonic stem cell differentiation, we found that Mesp2, its closest homolog, was as efficient as Mesp1 at promoting CP specification, EMT, and cardiovascular differentiation. However, only Mesp1 stimulated polarity and directional cell migration through a cell-autonomous mechanism. Transcriptional analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that Mesp1 and Mesp2 activate common target genes that promote CP specification and differentiation. We identified two direct Mesp1 target genes, Prickle1 and RasGRP3, that are strongly induced by Mesp1 and not by Mesp2 and that control the polarity and the speed of cell migration. Altogether, our results identify the molecular interface controlled by Mesp1 that links CP specification and cell migration.