The responses of neural stem cells to the level of GSK-3 depend on the tissue of origin.
ABSTRACT: Neural stem cells (NSCs) can be obtained from a variety of sources, but not all NSCs exhibit the same characteristics. We have examined how the level of glycogen synthase kinase-3 activity regulates NSCs obtained from different sources: the mouse embryonic striatum, embryonic hippocampus, and mouse ES cells. Growth of striatal NSCs is enhanced by mild inhibition of GSK-3 but not by strong inhibition that is accompanied by Wnt/TCF transcriptional activation. In contrast, the growth of hippocampal NSCs is enhanced by both mild inhibition of GSK-3 as well as stronger inhibition. Active Wnt/TCF signaling, which occurs normally in the embryonic hippocampus, is required for growth of neural stem and progenitor cells. In the embryonic striatal germinal zone, however, TCF signaling is normally absent and its activation inhibits growth of NSCs from this region. Using a genetic model for progressive loss of GSK-3, we find that primitive ES cell-derived NSCs resemble striatal NSCs. That is, partial loss of GSK-3 alleles leads to an increase in NSCs while complete ablation of GSK-3, and activation of TCF-signaling, leads to their decline. Furthermore, expression of dominant negative TCF-4 in the GSK-3-null background was effective in blocking expression of Wnt-response genes and was also able to rescue neuronal gene expression. These results reveal that GSK-3 regulates NSCs by divergent pathways depending on the tissue of origin. The responses of these neural precursor cells may be contingent on baseline Wnt/TCF signaling occurring in a particular tissue.
Project description:Stem cells reside in specialized microenvironments or 'niches' that regulate their function. In vitro studies using hypoxic culture conditions (<5% O2) have revealed strong regulatory links between O2 availability and functions of stem and precursor cells. Although some stem cells are perivascular, others may occupy hypoxic niches and be regulated by O2 gradients. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we show that hypoxia inducible factor-1? (HIF-1?), a principal mediator of hypoxic adaptations, modulates Wnt/?-catenin signalling in hypoxic embryonic stem (ES) cells by enhancing ?-catenin activation and expression of the downstream effectors LEF-1 and TCF-1. This regulation extends to primary cells, including isolated neural stem cells (NSCs), and is not observed in differentiated cells. In vivo, Wnt/?-catenin activity is closely associated with low O2 regions in the subgranular zone of the hippocampus, a key NSC niche. Hif-1? deletion impairs hippocampal Wnt-dependent processes, including NSC proliferation, differentiation and neuronal maturation. This decline correlates with reduced Wnt/?-catenin signalling in the subgranular zone. O2 availability, therefore, may have a direct role in stem cell regulation through HIF-1? modulation of Wnt/?-catenin signalling.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) improves the efficiency of embryonic stem (ES) cell derivation from various strains of mice and rats, as well as dramatically promotes ES cell self-renewal potential. ?-catenin has been reported to be involved in the maintenance of self-renewal of ES cells through TCF dependent and independent pathway. But the intrinsic difference between ES cell lines from different species and strains has not been characterized. Here, we dissect the mechanism of GSK-3 inhibition by CHIR99021 in mouse ES cells from refractory mouse strains. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We found that CHIR99021, a GSK-3 specific inhibitor, promotes self-renewal of ES cells from recalcitrant C57BL/6 (B6) and BALB/c mouse strains through stabilization of ?-catenin and c-Myc protein levels. Stabilized ?-catenin promoted ES self-renewal through two mechanisms. First, ?-catenin translocated into the nucleus to maintain stem cell pluripotency in a lymphoid-enhancing factor/T-cell factor-independent manner. Second, ?-catenin binds plasma membrane-localized E-cadherin, which ensures a compact, spherical morphology, a hallmark of ES cells. Further, elevated c-Myc protein levels did not contribute significantly to CH-mediated ES cell self-renewal. Instead, the role of c-Myc is dependent on its transformation activity and can be replaced by N-Myc but not L-Myc. ?-catenin and c-Myc have similar effects on ES cells derived from both B6 and BALB/c mice. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our data demonstrated that GSK-3 inhibition by CH promotes self-renewal of mouse ES cells with non-permissive genetic backgrounds by regulation of multiple signaling pathways. These findings would be useful to improve the availability of normally non-permissive mouse strains as research tools.
Project description:In mammalian cells, glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) exists as two homologs, GSK-3alpha and GSK-3beta, encoded by independent genes, which share similar kinase domains but differ substantially in their termini. Here, we describe the generation of an allelic series of mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC) lines with 0-4 functional GSK-3 alleles and examine GSK-3-isoform function in Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. No compensatory upregulation in GSK-3 protein levels or activity was detected in cells lacking either GSK-3alpha or GSK-3beta, and Wnt/beta-catenin signaling was normal. Only in cells lacking three or all four of the alleles was a gene-dosage effect on beta-catenin/TCF-mediated transcription observed. Indeed, GSK-3alpha/beta double-knockout ESCs displayed hyperactivated Wnt/beta-catenin signaling and were severely compromised in their ability to differentiate, but could be rescued to normality by re-expression of functional GSK-3. The rheostatic regulation of GSK-3 highlights the importance of considering the contributions of both homologs when studying GSK-3 functions in mammalian systems.
Project description:β-Catenin has been widely implicated in the regulation of mammalian development and cellular homeostasis. However, the mechanisms by which Wnt/β-catenin signaling components regulate physiological events during brain development remain undetermined. Inactivation of glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β leads to β-catenin accumulation in the nucleus, where it couples with T-cell factor (TCF), an association that is disrupted by ICAT (inhibitor of β-catenin and T cell factor). In this study, we sought to determine whether regulation of ICAT by members of the microRNA-29 family plays a role during neurogenesis and whether deregulation of ICAT results in defective neurogenesis due to impaired β-catenin-mediated signaling. We found that miR-29b, but not miR-29a or 29c, is significantly upregulated in three-dimensionally cultured neural stem cells (NSCs), whereas ICAT is reduced as aged. Treatment with a miR-29b reduced the reporter activity of a luciferase-ICAT 3'-UTR construct whereas a control (scrambled) miRNA oligonucleotide did not, indicating that miR-29b directly targets the 3'-UTR of ICAT. We also found that treatment with miR-29b diminished NSC self-renewal and proliferation, and controlled their fate, directing their differentiation along certain cell lineages. Furthermore, our in vivo results showed that inhibition of miR-29b by in utero electroporation induced a profound defect in corticogenesis during mouse development. Taken together, our results demonstrate that miR-29b plays a pivotal role in fetal mouse neurogenesis by regulating ICAT-mediated Wnt/β-catenin signaling.
Project description:Wnt signaling has an important role in both embryonic development and tumorigenesis. beta-Catenin, a key component of the Wnt signaling pathway, interacts with the TCF/LEF family of transcription factors and activates transcription of Wnt target genes. Here, we identify a novel beta-catenin-interacting protein, ICAT, that was found to inhibit the interaction of beta-catenin with TCF-4 and represses beta-catenin-TCF-4-mediated transactivation. Furthermore, ICAT inhibited Xenopus axis formation by interfering with Wnt signaling. These results suggest that ICAT negatively regulates Wnt signaling via inhibition of the interaction between beta-catenin and TCF and is integral in development and cell proliferation.
Project description:Previous studies demonstrate the initiation of colon cancers through deregulation of WNT-TCF signalling. An accepted but untested extension of this finding is that incurable metastatic colon carcinomas (CCs) universally remain WNT-TCF-dependent, prompting the search for WNT-TCF inhibitors. CCs and their stem cells also require Hedgehog (HH)-GLI1 activity, but how these pathways interact is unclear. Here we define coincident high-to-low WNT-TCF and low-to-high HH-GLI transitions in patient CCs, most strikingly in their CD133(+) stem cells, that mark the development of metastases. We find that enhanced HH-GLI mimics this transition, driving also an embryonic stem (ES)-like stemness signature and that GLI1 can be regulated by multiple CC oncogenes. The data support a model in which the metastatic transition involves the acquisition or enhancement of a more primitive ES-like phenotype, and the downregulation of the early WNT-TCF programme, driven by oncogene-regulated high GLI1 activity. Consistently, TCF blockade does not generally inhibit tumour growth; instead, it, like enhanced HH-GLI, promotes metastatic growth in vivo. Treatments for metastatic disease should therefore block HH-GLI1 but not WNT-TCF activities.
Project description:The WNT pathway plays multiple roles in neural development and is crucial for establishment of the embryonic cerebellum. In addition, WNT pathway mutations are associated with medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children. However, the cell types within the cerebellum that are responsive to WNT signaling remain unknown. Here we investigate the effects of canonical WNT signaling on two important classes of progenitors in the developing cerebellum: multipotent neural stem cells (NSCs) and granule neuron precursors (GNPs). We show that WNT pathway activation in vitro promotes proliferation of NSCs but not GNPs. Moreover, mice that express activated ?-catenin in the cerebellar ventricular zone exhibit increased proliferation of NSCs in that region, whereas expression of the same protein in GNPs impairs proliferation. Although ?-catenin-expressing NSCs proliferate they do not undergo prolonged expansion or neoplastic growth; rather, WNT signaling markedly interferes with their capacity for self-renewal and differentiation. At a molecular level, mutant NSCs exhibit increased expression of c-Myc, which might account for their transient proliferation, but also express high levels of bone morphogenetic proteins and the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21, which might contribute to their altered self-renewal and differentiation. These studies suggest that the WNT pathway is a potent regulator of cerebellar stem cell growth and differentiation.
Project description:The phosphatidylinositol 3' kinase (PI3K) pathway is involved in many cellular processes including cell proliferation, survival and glucose transport, and is implicated in various disease states, such as cancer and diabetes. Although there have been numerous studies dissecting the role of PI3K signaling in different cell types and disease models, the mechanism by which PI3K signaling regulates embryonic stem (ES) cell fate remains unclear. It is believed that in addition to proliferation and tumorigenesis, PI3K activity may also be important for ES cell self-renewal. Paling et al. reported that the inhibition of PI3K led to a reduction in the ability of leukemia inhibitory factor to maintain self-renewal, causing cells to differentiate. Studies in our lab have revealed that ES cells completely lacking glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) remain undifferentiated compared with wild-type ES cells. GSK-3 is negatively regulated by PI3K, suggesting that PI3K may have a vital role in maintaining pluripotency in ES cells through GSK-3. By using a modified Flp recombinase system, we expressed activated alleles of 3-phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase-1 and protein kinase B to create stable, isogenic ES cell lines to further study the role of the PI3K signaling pathway in stem cell fate determination. In vitro characterization of the transgenic cell lines revealed a strong tendency toward the maintenance of pluripotency, and this phenotype was found to be independent of canonical Wnt signal transduction. In summary, PI3K signaling is sufficient to maintain the self-renewal and survival of stem cells. As this pathway is frequently mutationally activated in cancers, its effect on suppressing differentiation may contribute to its oncogenicity.
Project description:Primitive neural stem cells (NSCs) could be derived from pluripotent mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells, and then differentiate into definitive-type neural stem cells which resemble NSCs obtained from the central nervous system. Hence, primitive NSCs define an early stage of neural induction and provide a model to understand the mechanism that controls initial neural commitment. In this study, we performed microarray assay to analyze the global transcriptional profiles in mouse ES cell-derived primitive and definitive NSCs and to depict the molecular changes during the multi-staged neural differentiation process. Primitive NSCs derived directly from ESCs in Lif (p-NSC_L), primitive NSCs that were sub-cultured in the presence of Lif and FGF (p-NSC_LF), as well as definitive NSCs derived from primitive NSCs in medium containing FGF and EGF, were collected for RNA extraction and hybridization on Affymetrix microarrays. Mouse ESCs and NSCs obtained from mouse embryonic brain (E11.5) were included for controls. For each cell type, we collected two biological replicate samples for microarray analysis.
Project description:Neural stem cells (NSCs) generate new granule cells throughout life in the mammalian hippocampus. Canonical Wnt signaling regulates the differentiation of NSCs towards the neuronal lineage. Here we identified the prospero-related homeodomain transcription factor Prox1 as a target of ?-catenin-TCF/LEF signaling in vitro and in vivo. Prox1 overexpression enhanced neuronal differentiation whereas shRNA-mediated knockdown of Prox1 impaired the generation of neurons in vitro and within the hippocampal niche. In contrast, Prox1 was not required for survival of adult-generated granule cells after they had matured, suggesting a role for Prox1 in initial granule cell differentiation but not in the maintenance of mature granule cells. The data presented here characterize a molecular pathway from Wnt signaling to a transcriptional target leading to granule cell differentiation within the adult brain and identify a stage-specific function for Prox1 in the process of adult neurogenesis.