Inhibition of Wnt6 by Sfrp2 regulates adult cardiac progenitor cell differentiation by differential modulation of Wnt pathways.
ABSTRACT: Wnt signaling has recently emerged as an important regulator of cardiac progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation, but the exact mechanisms by which Wnt signaling modulates these effects are not known. Understanding these mechanisms is essential for advancing our knowledge of cardiac progenitor cell biology and applying this knowledge to enhance cardiac therapy. Here, we explored the effects of Sfrp2, a canonical Wnt inhibitor, in adult cardiac progenitor cell (CPC) differentiation and investigated the molecular mechanisms involved. Our data show that Sfrp2 treatment can promote differentiation of CPCs after ischemia-reperfusion injury. Treatment of CPCs with Sfrp2 inhibited CPC proliferation and primed them for cardiac differentiation. Sfrp2 binding to Wnt6 and inhibition of Wnt6 canonical pathway was essential for the inhibition of CPC proliferation. This inhibition of Wnt6 canonical signaling by Sfrp2 was important for activation of the non-canonical Wnt/Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) pathway through JNK, which in turn induced expression of cardiac transcription factors and CPC differentiation. Taken together, these results demonstrate a novel role of Sfrp2 and Wnt6 in regulating the dynamic process of CPC proliferation and differentiation, as well as providing new insights into the mechanisms of Wnt signaling in cardiac differentiation.
Project description:Cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) being multipotent offer a promising source for cardiac repair due to their ability to proliferate and multiply into cardiac lineage cells. Here, we explored a novel strategy for human CPCs generation from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) using a cardiogenic small molecule, isoxazole (ISX-9) and their ability to grow in the scar tissue for functional improvement in the infarcted myocardium. CPCs were induced from hiPSCs with ISX-9. CPCs were characterized by immunocytochemistry and RT-PCR. The CPC survival and differentiation in the infarcted hearts were determined by in vivo transplantation in immunodeficient mice following left anterior descending artery ligation and their effects were determined on fibrosis and functional improvement. ISX-9 simultaneously induced expression of cardiac transcription factors, NK2 homeobox 5, islet-1, GATA binding protein 4, myocyte enhancer factor-2 in hiPSCs within 3 days of treatment and successfully differentiated into three cardiac lineages in vitro. Messenger RNA and microRNA-sequencing results showed that ISX-9 targeted multiple cardiac differentiation, proliferation signaling pathways and upregulated myogenesis and cardiac hypertrophy related-microRNA. ISX-9 activated multiple pathways including transforming growth factor ? induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition signaling, canonical, and non-canonical Wnt signaling at different stages of cardiac differentiation. CPCs transplantation promoted myoangiogenesis, attenuated fibrosis, and led to functional improvement in treated mice.
Project description:Adult cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) display a low capacity to differentiate into cardiomyocytes in injured hearts, strongly limiting the regenerative capacity of the mammalian myocardium. To identify new mechanisms regulating CPC differentiation, we used primary and clonally expanded Sca-1+ CPCs from murine adult hearts in homotypic culture or coculture with cardiomyocytes. Expression kinetics analysis during homotypic culture differentiation showed downregulation of Wnt target genes concomitant with increased expression of the Wnt antagonist, Wnt inhibitory factor 1 (Wif1), which is necessary to stimulate CPC differentiation. We show that the expression of the Wif1 gene is repressed by DNA methylation and regulated by the de novo DNA methyltransferase Dnmt3a. In addition, miR-29a is upregulated early during CPC differentiation and downregulates Dnmt3a expression, thereby decreasing Wif1 gene methylation and increasing the efficiency of differentiation of Sca-1+ CPCs in vitro. Extending these findings in vivo, transient silencing of Dnmt3a in CPCs subsequently injected in the border zone of infarcted mouse hearts improved CPC differentiation in situ and remote cardiac remodeling. In conclusion, miR-29a and Dnmt3a epigenetically regulate CPC differentiation through Wnt inhibition. Remote effects on cardiac remodeling support paracrine signaling beyond the local injection site, with potential therapeutic interest for cardiac repair.
Project description:Regulation of multipotent cardiac progenitor cell (CPC) expansion and subsequent differentiation into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle or endothelial cells is a fundamental aspect of basic cardiovascular biology and cardiac regenerative medicine. However, the mechanisms governing these decisions remain unclear. Here, we show that Wnt/beta-catenin signalling, which promotes expansion of CPCs, is negatively regulated by Notch1-mediated control of phosphorylated beta-catenin accumulation within CPCs, and that Notch1 activity in CPCs is required for their differentiation. Notch1 positively, and beta-catenin negatively, regulated expression of the cardiac transcription factors, Isl1, Myocd and Smyd1. Surprisingly, disruption of Isl1, normally expressed transiently in CPCs before their differentiation, resulted in expansion of CPCs in vivo and in an embryonic stem (ES) cell system. Furthermore, Isl1 was required for CPC differentiation into cardiomyocyte and smooth muscle cells, but not endothelial cells. These findings reveal a regulatory network controlling CPC expansion and cell fate that involves unanticipated functions of beta-catenin, Notch1 and Isl1 that may be leveraged for regenerative approaches involving CPCs.
Project description:Cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) are thought to differentiate into the major cell types of the heart: cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells. We have recently identified ABI family, member 3 (NESH) binding protein (Abi3bp) as a protein important for mesenchymal stem cell biology. Because CPCs share several characteristics with mesenchymal stem cells, we hypothesized that Abi3bp would similarly affect CPC differentiation and proliferation.To determine whether Abi3bp regulates CPC proliferation and differentiation.In vivo, genetic ablation of the Abi3bp gene inhibited CPC differentiation, whereas CPC number and proliferative capacity were increased. This correlated with adverse recovery after myocardial infarction. In vitro, CPCs, either isolated from Abi3bp knockout mice or expressing an Abi3bp shRNA construct, displayed a higher proliferative capacity and, under differentiating conditions, reduced expression of both early and late cardiomyocyte markers. Abi3bp controlled CPC differentiation via integrin-?1, protein kinase C-?, and v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog.We have identified Abi3bp as a protein important for CPC differentiation and proliferation.
Project description:Several progenitor cell populations have been reported to exist in hearts that play a role in cardiac turnover and/or repair. Despite the presence of cardiac stem and progenitor cells within the myocardium, functional repair of the heart after injury is inadequate. Identification of the signaling pathways involved in the expansion and differentiation of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) will broaden insight into the fundamental mechanisms playing a role in cardiac homeostasis and disease and might provide strategies for in vivo regenerative therapies. To understand and exploit cardiac ontogeny for drug discovery efforts, we developed an in vitro human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived CPC model system using a highly enriched population of KDR(pos)/CKIT(neg)/NKX2.5(pos) CPCs. Using this model system, these CPCs were capable of generating highly enriched cultures of cardiomyocytes under directed differentiation conditions. In order to facilitate the identification of pathways and targets involved in proliferation and differentiation of resident CPCs, we developed phenotypic screening assays. Screening paradigms for therapeutic applications require a robust, scalable, and consistent methodology. In the present study, we have demonstrated the suitability of these cells for medium to high-throughput screens to assess both proliferation and multilineage differentiation. Using this CPC model system and a small directed compound set, we identified activin-like kinase 5 (transforming growth factor-? type 1 receptor kinase) inhibitors as novel and potent inducers of human CPC differentiation to cardiomyocytes. Significance: Cardiac disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, with no treatment available that can result in functional repair. This study demonstrates how differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells can be used to identify and isolate cell populations of interest that can translate to the adult human heart. Two separate examples of phenotypic screens are discussed, demonstrating the value of this biologically relevant and reproducible technology. In addition, this assay system was able to identify novel and potent inducers of differentiation and proliferation of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiac progenitor cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recent studies suggest that adult cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) can produce new cardiac cells. Such cell formation requires an intricate coordination of progenitor cell proliferation and commitment, but the molecular cues responsible for this regulation in CPCs are ill defined. METHODS AND RESULTS:Extracellular matrix components are important instructors of cell fate. Using laminin and fibronectin, we induced two slightly distinct CPC phenotypes differing in proliferation rate and commitment status and analyzed the early transcriptomic response to CPC adhesion (<2 hours). Ninety-four genes were differentially regulated on laminin versus fibronectin, consisting of mostly downregulated genes that were enriched for Yes-associated protein (YAP) conserved signature and TEA domain family member 1 (TEAD1)-related genes. This early gene regulation was preceded by the rapid cytosolic sequestration and degradation of YAP on laminin. Among the most strongly regulated genes was polo-like kinase 2 (Plk2). Plk2 expression depended on YAP stability and was enhanced in CPCs transfected with a nuclear-targeted mutant YAP. Phenotypically, the early downregulation of Plk2 on laminin was succeeded by lower cell proliferation, enhanced lineage gene expression (24 hours), and facilitated differentiation (3 weeks) compared with fibronectin. Finally, overexpression of Plk2 enhanced CPC proliferation and knockdown of Plk2 induced the expression of lineage genes. CONCLUSIONS:Plk2 acts as coordinator of cell proliferation and early lineage commitment in CPCs. The rapid downregulation of Plk2 on YAP inactivation marks a switch towards enhanced commitment and facilitated differentiation. These findings link early gene regulation to cell fate and provide novel insights into how CPC proliferation and differentiation are orchestrated.
Project description:Identification of small molecules with the potential to selectively proliferate cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) will aid our understanding of the signaling pathways and mechanisms involved and could ultimately provide tools for regenerative therapies for the treatment of post-MI cardiac dysfunction. We have used an in vitro human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived CPC model to screen a 10,000-compound library containing molecules representing different target classes and compounds reported to modulate the phenotype of stem or primary cells. The primary readout of this phenotypic screen was proliferation as measured by nuclear count. We identified retinoic acid receptor (RAR) agonists as potent proliferators of CPCs. The CPCs retained their progenitor phenotype following proliferation and the identified RAR agonists did not proliferate human cardiac fibroblasts, the major cell type in the heart. In addition, the RAR agonists were able to proliferate an independent source of CPCs, HuES6. The RAR agonists had a time-of-differentiation-dependent effect on the HuES6-derived CPCs. At 4?days of differentiation, treatment with retinoic acid induced differentiation of the CPCs to atrial cells. However, after 5?days of differentiation treatment with RAR agonists led to an inhibition of terminal differentiation to cardiomyocytes and enhanced the proliferation of the cells. RAR agonists, at least transiently, enhance the proliferation of human CPCs, at the expense of terminal cardiac differentiation. How this mechanism translates in vivo to activate endogenous CPCs and whether enhancing proliferation of these rare progenitor cells is sufficient to enhance cardiac repair remains to be investigated.
Project description:Human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs) exhibit a fetal phenotype that limits in vitro and therapeutic applications. Strategies to promote cardiomyocyte maturation have focused interventions on differentiated hPSC-CMs, but this study tests priming of early cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (pIC) to accelerate cardiomyocyte maturation. CPCs were differentiated from hPSCs using a monolayer differentiation protocol with defined small molecule Wnt temporal modulation, and pIC was added during the formation of early CPCs. pIC priming did not alter the expression of cell surface markers for CPCs (>80% KDR+/PDGFR?+), expression of common cardiac transcription factors, or final purity of differentiated hPSC-CMs (?90%). However, CPC differentiation in basal medium revealed that pIC priming resulted in hPSC-CMs with enhanced maturity manifested by increased cell size, greater contractility, faster electrical upstrokes, increased oxidative metabolism, and more mature sarcomeric structure and composition. To investigate the mechanisms of CPC priming, RNAseq revealed that cardiac progenitor-stage pIC modulated early Notch signaling and cardiomyogenic transcriptional programs. Chromatin immunoprecipitation of CPCs showed that pIC treatment increased deposition of the H3K9ac activating epigenetic mark at core promoters of cardiac myofilament genes and the Notch ligand, JAG1. Inhibition of Notch signaling blocked the effects of pIC on differentiation and cardiomyocyte maturation. Furthermore, primed CPCs showed more robust formation of hPSC-CMs grafts when transplanted to the NSGW mouse kidney capsule. Overall, epigenetic modulation of CPCs with pIC accelerates cardiomyocyte maturation enabling basic research applications and potential therapeutic uses. Stem Cells 2019;37:910-923.
Project description:MiRNA expression was determined in both proliferating and differentiated cardiac stem cells (CSCs) through a comprehensive miRNA microarray analysis. We selected miR218 for functional follow-up studies to examine its significance in CSCs. First, we observed that the expression of miR218 was altered in CSCs during differentiation into cardiomyocytes, and transfection of an miR218 mimic or miR218 inhibitor affected the myocardial differentiation of CSCs. Furthermore, we observed that a negative regulator of Wnt signaling, sFRP2, was a direct target of miR218, and the protein levels of sFRP2 were increased in cells transfected with the synthetic miR218 inhibitor. In contrast, transfection with the miR218 mimic decreased the expression of sFRP2 and potentiated Wnt signaling. The subsequent down-regulation of sFRP2 by shRNA potentiated Wnt signaling, contributing to a gene expression program that is important for CSC proliferation and cardiac differentiation. Specifically, canonical Wnt signaling induced miR218 transcription. Thus, miR218 and Wnt signaling were coupled through a feed-forward positive feedback loop, forming a biological regulatory circuit. Together, these results provide the first evidence that miR218 plays an important role in CSC proliferation and differentiation through the canonical Wnt signaling pathway.
Project description:Wnt/?-catenin signalling controls adult heart remodelling in part via regulation of cardiac progenitor cell (CPC) differentiation. An enhanced understanding of mechanisms controlling CPC biology might facilitate the development of new therapeutic strategies in heart failure. We identified and characterized a novel cardiac interaction between Krueppel-like factor 15 and components of the Wnt/?-catenin pathway leading to inhibition of transcription. In vitro mutation, reporter assays and co-localization analyses revealed that KLF15 requires both the C-terminus, necessary for nuclear localization, and a minimal N-terminal regulatory region to inhibit transcription. In line with this, functional Klf15 knock-out mice exhibited cardiac ?-catenin transcriptional activation along with functional cardiac deterioration in normal homeostasis and upon hypertrophy. We further provide in vivo and in vitro evidences for preferential endothelial lineage differentiation of CPCs upon KLF15 deletion. Via inhibition of ?-catenin transcription, KLF15 controls CPC homeostasis in the adult heart similar to embryonic cardiogenesis. This knowledge may provide a tool for reactivation of this apparently dormant CPC population in the adult heart and thus be an attractive approach to enhance endogenous cardiac repair.