Cnot1, Cnot2, and Cnot3 maintain mouse and human ESC identity and inhibit extraembryonic differentiation.
ABSTRACT: Embryonic stem cell (ESC) identity and self-renewal is maintained by extrinsic signaling pathways and intrinsic gene regulatory networks. Here, we show that three members of the Ccr4-Not complex, Cnot1, Cnot2, and Cnot3, play critical roles in maintaining mouse and human ESC identity as a protein complex and inhibit differentiation into the extraembryonic lineages. Enriched in the inner cell mass of blastocysts, these Cnot genes are highly expressed in ESC and downregulated during differentiation. In mouse ESCs, Cnot1, Cnot2, and Cnot3 are important for maintenance in both normal conditions and the 2i/LIF medium that supports the ground state pluripotency. Genetic analysis indicated that they do not act through known self-renewal pathways or core transcription factors. Instead, they repress the expression of early trophectoderm (TE) transcription factors such as Cdx2. Importantly, these Cnot genes are also necessary for the maintenance of human ESCs, and silencing them mainly lead to TE and primitive endoderm differentiation. Together, our results indicate that Cnot1, Cnot2, and Cnot3 represent a novel component of the core self-renewal and pluripotency circuitry conserved in mouse and human ESCs.
Project description:The multi-subunit CCR4 (carbon catabolite repressor 4)-NOT (Negative on TATA) complex serves as a central coordinator of all different steps of eukaryotic gene expression. Accordingly, members of the CCR4-NOT complex have been implicated in a variety of biological functions. Here we performed a systematic and comparative analysis of cells where the CCR4-NOT subunits CNOT1, CNOT2 or CNOT3 were individually downregulated using doxycycline-inducible shRNAs. Microarray experiments showed that downregulation of either CNOT subunit resulted in elevated expression of major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) target genes which are found in a gene cluster on chromosome 6. Increased expression of MHC II genes after knock-down or knock-out of CNOT subunits was seen in a variety of cell systems and also in naïve macrophages from CNOT3 conditional knock-out mice. CNOT2-mediated repression of MHC II genes occurred independent from the master regulator class II transactivator (CIITA) and detectable changes of the chromatin structure at the chromosomal MHC II locus. CNOT2 downregulation resulted in an increased de novo transcription of mRNAs and tethering of CNOT2 to a regulatory region governing MHC II expression resulted in dimished transcription. These results expand the known repertoire of CCR4-NOT members for immune regulation and identify CNOT proteins as a novel group of corepressors serving to restrict inappropriate or exaggerated class II expression, which can be causative for various diseases. Overall design: Cell culture experiment with HEK 293 cells, transfected either with Luciferase reporter only (control) or with DOX-inducible shRNAs against CCR4-NOT subunits. 1-2 technical replicates.
Project description:Inhibition of Mek/Erk signaling by pharmacological Mek inhibitors promotes self-renewal and pluripotency of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Intriguingly, Erk signaling is essential for human ESC self-renewal. Here we demonstrate that Erk signaling is critical for mouse ESC self-renewal and genomic stability. Erk-depleted ESCs cannot be maintained. Lack of Erk leads to rapid telomere shortening and genomic instability, in association with misregulated expression of pluripotency genes, reduced cell proliferation, G1 cell-cycle arrest, and increased apoptosis. Erk signaling is also required for the activation of differentiation genes but not for the repression of pluripotency genes during ESC differentiation. Furthermore, we find an Erk-independent function of Mek, which may explain the diverse effects of Mek inhibition and Erk knockout on ESC self-renewal. Together, in contrast to the prevailing view, Erk signaling is required for telomere maintenance, genomic stability, and self-renewal of mouse ESCs.
Project description:Partial induced pluripotent cells (iPSCs) are cell lines strayed from normal route from somatic cells to iPSCs and are immortalized. Mouse partial iPSCs are able to convert to real iPSCs by the exposure to 2i condition using MAPK and GSK3? inhibitors. However, the molecular mechanisms of this conversion are totally not known. Our piggyback vector mediated genome-wide screen revealed that Cnot2, one of core components of Ccr4-Not complex participates in this conversion. Subsequent analyses revealed other core components, i.e., Cnot1 and Cnot3 and Trim28 which is known to extensively share genomic binding sites with Cnot3 contribute to this conversion as well. Our bioinformatics analyses indicate that the major role of these factors in the conversion is the down-regulation of developmental genes in partial iPSCs. Two partial iPSC clones (2B1 and 5C5) cultured under conventional culture condition with leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and serum and those converted to iPSCs by the exposure to 2i condition were used for RNA source. Partial iPSCs (2B1) cultured under conventional condition in which either one of Cnot1, Cnot2, Cnot3 and Trim28 cDNA or these factors were combinatorially incorporated after retrovirus infection and those in which empty vector or Nanog were stably integrated were also used for RNA source. In addition, embryonic fibroblasts and embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from 13.5 dpc embryos and blastocysts, respectively, from Nanog-GFP transgenic mice and wild-type ESC line (EBRTcH3) were used for RNA source.
Project description:Embryonic stem cell (ESC) pluripotency is orchestrated by distinct signaling pathways that are often targeted to maintain ESC self-renewal or their differentiation to other lineages. We showed earlier that inhibition of PKC signaling maintains pluripotency in mouse ESCs. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the importance of protein kinase C signaling in the context of rat ESC (rESC) pluripotency. Here we show that inhibition of PKC signaling is an efficient strategy to establish and maintain pluripotent rESCs and to facilitate reprogramming of rat embryonic fibroblasts to rat induced pluripotent stem cells. The complete developmental potential of rESCs was confirmed with viable chimeras and germ line transmission. Our molecular analyses indicated that inhibition of a PKC?-NF-?B-microRNA-21/microRNA-29 regulatory axis contributes to the maintenance of rESC self-renewal. In addition, PKC inhibition maintains ESC-specific epigenetic modifications at the chromatin domains of pluripotency genes and, thereby, maintains their expression. Our results indicate a conserved function of PKC signaling in balancing self-renewal versus differentiation of both mouse and rat ESCs and indicate that targeting PKC signaling might be an efficient strategy to establish ESCs from other mammalian species.
Project description:Embryonic Stem cells (ESCs) can be differentiated into ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm derivatives, producing the majority of cell types. In regular culture conditions, ESCs' self-renewal is maintained through molecules that inhibit spontaneous differentiation enabling long-term cellular expansion. This undifferentiating condition is characterized by multiple metastable states that fluctuate between self-renewal and differentiation balance. Here, we aim to characterize the high-pluripotent ESC metastate marked by the expression of Zscan4 through a supervised machine learning framework based on an ensemble of support vector machine (SVM) classifiers. Our study revealed a leukaemia inhibitor factor (Lif) dependent not-canonical pluripotency signature (AF067063, BC061212, Dub1, Eif1a, Gm12794, Gm13871, Gm4340, Gm4850, Tcstv1/3, and Zfp352), that specifically marks Zscan4 ESCs' fluctuation. This novel ESC metastate is enhanced by high-pluripotency culture conditions obtained through Extracellular signal Regulated-Kinase (ERK) and Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (Gsk-3) signaling inhibition (2i). Significantly, we reported that the conditional ablation of the novel ESC metastate marked by the expression of Gm12794 is required for ESCs self-renewal maintenance. In conclusion, we extend the comprehension of ESCs biology through the identification of a novel molecular signature associated to pluripotency programming.
Project description:REST is abundantly expressed in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Many genome-wide analyses have found REST to be an integral part of the ESC pluripotency network. However, experimental systems have produced contradictory findings: (1) REST is required for the maintenance of ESC pluripotency and loss of REST causes increased expression of differentiation markers, (2) REST is not required for the maintenance of ESC pluripotency and loss of REST does not change expression of differentiation markers, and (3) REST is not required for the maintenance of ESC pluripotency but loss of REST causes decreased expression of differentiation markers. These reports highlight gaps in our knowledge of the ESC network.Employing biochemical and genome-wide analyses of various culture conditions and ESC lines, we have attempted to resolve some of the discrepancies in the literature.We show that Rest+/- and Rest-/- AB-1 mutant ESCs, which did not exhibit a role of REST in ESC pluripotency when cultured in the presence of feeder cells, did show impaired self-renewal when compared with the parental cells under feeder-free culture conditions, but only in early passage cells. In late passage cells, both Rest+/- and Rest-/- AB-1 ESCs restored pluripotency, suggesting a passage and culture condition-dependent response. Genome-wide analysis followed by biochemical validation supported this response and further indicated that the restoration of pluripotency was associated by increased expression of the ESC pluripotency factors. E14Tg2a.4 ESCs with REST-knockdown, which earlier showed a REST-dependent pluripotency when cultured under feeder-free conditions, as well as Rest-/- AB-1 ESCs, showed no REST-dependent pluripotency when cultured in the presence of either feeder cells or laminin, indicating that extracellular matrix components can rescue REST's role in ESC pluripotency.REST regulates ESC pluripotency in culture condition- and ESC line-dependent fashion and ESC pluripotency needs to be evaluated in a context dependent manner.
Project description:Mouse and rat embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal can be maintained by dual inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK). Inhibition of GSK3 promotes ESC self-renewal by abrogating T-cell factor 3 (TCF3)-mediated repression of the pluripotency network. How inhibition of MEK mediates ESC self-renewal, however, remains largely unknown. Here, we show that inhibition of MEK can significantly suppress lymphoid enhancer factor 1 (LEF1) expression in mouse ESCs. Knockdown or knockout of Lef1 partially mimics the self-renewal-promoting effect of MEK inhibitors. Moreover, depletion of both Tcf3 and Lef1 enables maintenance of undifferentiated mouse ESCs without exogenous factors, cytokines or inhibitors. Transcriptome resequencing analysis reveals that LEF1 is closely associated with endoderm specification in ESCs. Thus, our study adds support to the notion that the key to maintaining the ESC ground state is to shield ESCs from differentiative cues.
Project description:Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) exhibit the dual properties of self-renewal and pluripotency as well as the ability to undergo differentiation that gives rise to all three germ layers. Wnt family members can both promote ESC maintenance and trigger differentiation while also controlling the expression of Snail1, a zinc-finger transcriptional repressor. Snail1 has been linked to events ranging from cell cycle regulation and cell survival to epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and gastrulation, but its role in self-renewal, pluripotency or lineage commitment in ESCs remains undefined. Here we demonstrate using isogenic pairs of conditional knockout mouse ESCs, that Snail1 exerts Wnt- and EMT independent control over the stem cell transcriptome without affecting self-renewal or pluripotency-associated functions. By contrast, during ESC differentiation, an endogenous Wnt-mediated burst in Snail1 expression regulates neuroectodermal fate while playing a required role in epiblast stem cell exit and the consequent lineage fate decisions that define mesoderm commitment.
Project description:Pluripotency confers Embryonic Stem Cells (ESCs) the ability to differentiate in ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm derivatives, producing the majority of cell types. Although the majority of ESCs divide without losing pluripotency, it has become evident that ESCs culture consists of multiple cell populations with different degrees of potency that are spontaneously induced in regular ESC culture conditions. Zscan4, a key pluripotency factor, marks ESC subpopulation that is referred to as high-level of pluripotency metastate. Here, we report that in ESC cultures treated with retinoic acid (RA), Zscan4 ESCs metastate is strongly enhanced. In particular, we found that induction of Zscan4 metastate is mediated via RA receptors (RAR-alpha, RAR-beta, and RAR-gamma), and it is dependent on phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) signaling. Remarkably, Zscan4 metastate induced by RA lacks canonical pluripotency genes Oct3/4 and Nanog but retained both self-renewal and pluripotency capabilities. Finally we demonstrated that the conditional ablation of Zscan4 subpopulation is dispensable for both endoderm and mesoderm but is required for ectoderm lineage. In conclusion, our research provides new insights about the role of RA signaling during ESCs high pluripotency metastate fluctuation.
Project description:The pluripotency transcriptional network in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) is composed of distinct functional units including the core and Myc units. It is hoped that dissection of the cellular functions and interconnections of network factors will aid our understanding of ESC and cancer biology. Proteomic and genomic approaches have identified Nac1 as a member of the core pluripotency network. However, previous studies have predominantly focused on the role of Nac1 in psychomotor stimulant response and cancer pathogenesis. In this study, we report that Nac1 is a self-renewal promoting factor, but is not required for maintaining pluripotency of ESCs. Loss of function of Nac1 in ESCs results in a reduced proliferation rate and an enhanced differentiation propensity. Nac1 overexpression promotes ESC proliferation and delays ESC differentiation in the absence of leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF). Furthermore, we demonstrated that Nac1 directly binds to the c-Myc promoter and regulates c-Myc transcription. The study also revealed that the function of Nac1 in promoting ESC self-renewal appears to be partially mediated by c-Myc. These findings establish a functional link between the core and c-Myc-centered networks and provide new insights into mechanisms of stemness regulation in ESCs and cancer.