Maintenance of Self-Renewal and Pluripotency in J1 Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells through Regulating Transcription Factor and MicroRNA Expression Induced by PD0325901.
ABSTRACT: Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have the ability to grow indefinitely and retain their pluripotency in culture, and this self-renewal capacity is governed by several crucial molecular pathways controlled by specific regulatory genes and epigenetic modifications. It is reported that multiple epigenetic regulators, such as miRNA and pluripotency factors, can be tightly integrated into molecular pathways and cooperate to maintain self-renewal of ESCs. However, mouse ESCs in serum-containing medium seem to be heterogeneous due to the self-activating differentiation signal of MEK/ERK. Thus, to seek for the crucial miRNA and key regulatory genes that establish ESC properties in MEK/ERK pathway, we performed microarray analysis and small RNA deep-sequencing of J1 mESCs treated with or without PD0325901 (PD), a well-known inhibitor of MEK/ERK signal pathway, followed by verification of western blot analysis and quantitative real-time PCR verification; we found that PD regulated the transcript expressions related to self-renewal and differentiation and antagonized the action of retinoic acid- (RA-) induced differentiation. Moreover, PD can significantly modulate the expressions of multiple miRNAs that have crucial functions in ESC development. Overall, our results demonstrate that PD could enhance ESC self-renewal capacity both by key regulatory genes and ES cell-specific miRNA, which in turn influences ESC self-renewal and cellular differentiation.
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: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:Nucleostemin (NS) is a nucleolar GTP-binding protein that was first identified in neural stem cells, the functions of which remain poorly understood. Here, we report that NS is required for mouse embryogenesis to reach blastulation, maintenance of embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal, and mammary epithelial cell (MEC) reprogramming to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Ectopic NS also cooperates with OCT4 and SOX2 to reprogram MECs and mouse embryonic fibroblasts to iPS cells. NS promotes ESC self-renewal by sustaining rapid transit through the G1 phase of the cell cycle. Depletion of NS in ESCs retards transit through G1 and induces gene expression changes and morphological differentiation through a mechanism that involves the MEK/ERK protein kinases and that is active only during a protracted G1. Suppression of cell cycle inhibitors mitigates these effects. Our results implicate NS in the maintenance of ESC self-renewal, demonstrate the importance of rapid transit through G1 for this process, and expand the known classes of reprogramming factors.
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:When embryonic stem cells (ESCs) differentiate, they must both silence the ESC self-renewal program and activate new tissue-specific programs. In the absence of DGCR8 (Dgcr8(-/-)), a protein required for microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis, mouse ESCs are unable to silence self-renewal. Here we show that the introduction of let-7 miRNAs-a family of miRNAs highly expressed in somatic cells-can suppress self-renewal in Dgcr8(-/-) but not wild-type ESCs. Introduction of ESC cell cycle regulating (ESCC) miRNAs into the Dgcr8(-/-) ESCs blocks the capacity of let-7 to suppress self-renewal. Profiling and bioinformatic analyses show that let-7 inhibits whereas ESCC miRNAs indirectly activate numerous self-renewal genes. Furthermore, inhibition of the let-7 family promotes de-differentiation of somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells. Together, these findings show how the ESCC and let-7 miRNAs act through common pathways to alternatively stabilize the self-renewing versus differentiated cell fates.
Project description:Self-renewal and differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are controlled by intracellular transcriptional factors and extracellular factor-activated signaling pathways. Transcription factor Oct4 is a key player maintaining ESCs in an undifferentiated state, whereas the Erk/MAPK pathway is known to be important for ESC differentiation. However, the manner in which intracellular pluripotency factors modulate extracellular factor-activated signaling pathways in ESCs is not well understood. Here, we report identification of a target gene of Oct4, serine/threonine kinase 40 (Stk40), which is able to activate the Erk/MAPK pathway and induce extraembryonic-endoderm (ExEn) differentiation in mouse ESCs. Interestingly, cells overexpressing Stk40 exclusively contribute to the ExEn layer of chimeric embryos when injected into host blastocysts. In contrast, deletion of Stk40 in ESCs markedly reduces ExEn differentiation in vitro. Mechanistically, Stk40 interacts with Rcn2, which also activates Erk1/2 to induce ExEn specification in mouse ESCs. Moreover, Rcn2 proteins are specifically located in the cytoplasm of the ExEn layer of early mouse embryos. Importantly, knockdown of Rcn2 blocks Stk40-activated Erk1/2 and ESC differentiation. Therefore, our study establishes a link between the pluripotency factor Oct4 and the Erk/MAPK signaling pathway, and it uncovers cooperating signals in the Erk/MAPK activation that control ExEn differentiation.
Project description:The roles of histone demethylases (HDMs) for the establishment and maintenance of pluripotency are incompletely characterized. Here, we show that JmjC-domain-containing protein 1c (JMJD1C), an H3K9 demethylase, is required for mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal. Depletion of Jmjd1c leads to the activation of ERK/MAPK signaling and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) to induce differentiation of ESCs. Inhibition of ERK/MAPK signaling rescues the differentiation phenotype caused by Jmjd1c depletion. Mechanistically, JMJD1C, with the help of pluripotency factor KLF4, maintains ESC identity at least in part by regulating the expression of the miR-200 family and miR-290/295 cluster to suppress the ERK/MAPK signaling and EMT. Additionally, we uncover that JMJD1C ensures efficient generation and maintenance of induced pluripotent stem cells, at least partially through controlling the expression of microRNAs. Collectively, we propose an integrated model of epigenetic and transcriptional control mediated by the H3K9 demethylase for ESC self-renewal and somatic cell reprogramming.
Project description:Ground-state pluripotency is a cell state in which pluripotency is established and maintained through efficient repression of endogenous differentiation pathways. Self-renewal and pluripotency of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are influenced by ESC-associated microRNAs (miRNAs). Here, we provide a comprehensive assessment of the "miRNome" of ESCs cultured under conditions favoring ground-state pluripotency. We found that ground-state ESCs express a distinct set of miRNAs compared with ESCs grown in serum. Interestingly, most "ground-state miRNAs" are encoded by an imprinted region on chromosome 12 within the Dlk1-Dio3 locus. Functional analysis revealed that ground-state miRNAs embedded in the Dlk1-Dio3 locus (miR-541-5p, miR-410-3p, and miR-381-3p) promoted pluripotency via inhibition of multi-lineage differentiation and stimulation of self-renewal. Overall, our results demonstrate that ground-state pluripotency is associated with a unique miRNA signature, which supports ground-state self-renewal by suppressing differentiation.
Project description:Here, we show that as human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) exit the pluripotent state, NANOG can play a key role in determining lineage outcome. It has previously been reported that BMPs induce differentiation of human ESCs into extraembryonic lineages. Here, we find that FGF2, acting through the MEK-ERK pathway, switches BMP4-induced human ESC differentiation outcome to mesendoderm, characterized by the uniform expression of T (brachyury) and other primitive streak markers. We also find that MEK-ERK signaling prolongs NANOG expression during BMP-induced differentiation, that forced NANOG expression results in FGF-independent BMP4 induction of mesendoderm, and that knockdown of NANOG greatly reduces T induction. Together, our results demonstrate that FGF2 signaling switches the outcome of BMP4-induced differentiation of human ESCs by maintaining NANOG levels through the MEK-ERK pathway.
Project description:Canonical Wnt signaling supports the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) but also promotes differentiation of early mammalian cell lineages. To explain these paradoxical observations, we explored the gene regulatory networks at play. Canonical Wnt signaling is intertwined with the pluripotency network comprising Nanog, Oct4, and Sox2 in mouse ESCs. In defined media supporting the derivation and propagation of ESCs, Tcf3 and ?-catenin interact with Oct4; Tcf3 binds to Sox motif within Oct-Sox composite motifs that are also bound by Oct4-Sox2 complexes. Furthermore, canonical Wnt signaling upregulates the activity of the Pou5f1 distal enhancer via the Sox motif in ESCs. When viewed in the context of published studies on Tcf3 and ?-catenin mutants, our findings suggest Tcf3 counters pluripotency by competition with Sox2 at these sites, and Tcf3 inhibition is blocked by ?-catenin entry into this complex. Wnt pathway stimulation also triggers ?-catenin association at regulatory elements with classic Lef/Tcf motifs associated with differentiation programs. The failure to activate these targets in the presence of a mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) inhibitor essential for ESC culture suggests MEK/ERK signaling and canonical Wnt signaling combine to promote ESC differentiation.