Foxd3 Promotes Exit from Naive Pluripotency through Enhancer Decommissioning and Inhibits Germline Specification.
ABSTRACT: Following implantation, mouse epiblast cells transit from a naive to a primed state in which they are competent for both somatic and primordial germ cell (PGC) specification. Using mouse embryonic stem cells as an in vitro model to study the transcriptional regulatory principles orchestrating peri-implantation development, here we show that the transcription factor Foxd3 is necessary for exit from naive pluripotency and progression to a primed pluripotent state. During this transition, Foxd3 acts as a repressor that dismantles a significant fraction of the naive pluripotency expression program through decommissioning of active enhancers associated with key naive pluripotency and early germline genes. Subsequently, Foxd3 needs to be silenced in primed pluripotent cells to allow re-activation of relevant genes required for proper PGC specification. Our findings therefore uncover a cycle of activation and deactivation of Foxd3 required for exit from naive pluripotency and subsequent PGC specification.
Project description:Following implantation, mouse epiblast cells transit from a naïve to a primed state in which they are competent for both somatic and primordial germ cell (PGC) specification. Using mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC) as an in vitro model to study the transcriptional regulatory principles orchestrating peri-implantation development, here we show that the transcription factor Foxd3 is necessary for the exit from naïve pluripotency and the progression to a primed pluripotent state. During this transition, Foxd3 acts as a repressor that dismantles a significant fraction of the naïve pluripotency expression program through the decommissioning of active enhancers associated with key naïve pluripotency and early germline genes. Subsequently, Foxd3 needs to be silenced in primed pluripotent cells to allow the reactivation of relevant genes required for proper PGC specification. Our findings uncover a wave of activation-deactivation of Foxd3 as a crucial step for the exit from naïve pluripotency and subsequent PGC specification. Genome-wide binding profiles for Foxd3 were investigated in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC). A mESC line (FH-Foxd3 mESC line) expressing exogenous Foxd3 tagged with Flag and HA epitope (FH-Foxd3) at nearly endogenous levels was generated. ChIPs were performed against FH-Foxd3 using anti-HA or anti-Flag antibodies.
Project description:Following implantation, mouse epiblast cells transit from a naïve to a primed state in which they are competent for both somatic and primordial germ cell (PGC) specification. Using mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC) as an in vitro model to study the transcriptional regulatory principles orchestrating peri-implantation development, here we show that the transcription factor Foxd3 is necessary for the exit from naïve pluripotency and the progression to a primed pluripotent state. During this transition, Foxd3 acts as a repressor that dismantles a significant fraction of the naïve pluripotency expression program through the decommissioning of active enhancers associated with key naïve pluripotency and early germline genes. Subsequently, Foxd3 needs to be silenced in primed pluripotent cells to allow the reactivation of relevant genes required for proper PGC specification. Our findings uncover a wave of activation-deactivation of Foxd3 as a crucial step for the exit from naïve pluripotency and subsequent PGC specification. mRNA profiles were generated by RNA-seq in duplicates for each of the following mESC lines: Foxd3fl/fl;Cre-ER mESC maintained in "Serum+LIF" (SL) treated with TM for three days (SL Foxd3-/-); untreated Foxd3fl/fl;Cre-ER SL mESC (SL Foxd3fl/fl); tetON Foxd3 SL mESC treated with Dox for three days; WT SL mESC treated with Dox for three days; Foxd3fl/fl;Cre-ER mESC maintained in "2i+LIF" (2i) treated with TM for three days (2i Foxd3-/-); untreated Foxd3fl/fl;Cre-ER 2i mESC (2i Foxd3fl/fl).
Project description:In vitro gametogenesis is the process of making germline cells from human pluripotent stem cells. The foundation of this model is the quality of the first progenitors called primordial germ cells (PGCs), which in vivo are specified during the peri-implantation window of human development. Here, we show that human PGC (hPGC) specification begins at day 12 post-fertilization. Using single-cell RNA sequencing of hPGC-like cells (hPGCLCs) differentiated from pluripotent stem cells, we discovered that hPGCLC specification involves resetting pluripotency toward a transitional state with shared characteristics between naive and primed pluripotency, followed by differentiation into lineage-primed TFAP2A+ progenitors. Applying the germline trajectory to TFAP2C mutants reveals that TFAP2C functions in the TFAP2A+ progenitors upstream of PRDM1 to regulate the expression of SOX17. This serves to protect hPGCLCs from crossing the Weismann's barrier to adopt somatic cell fates and, therefore, is an essential mechanism for successfully initiating in vitro gametogenesis.
Project description:Pluripotency is defined by a cell's potential to differentiate into any somatic cell type. How pluripotency is transited during embryo implantation, followed by cell lineage specification and establishment of the basic body plan, is poorly understood. Here we report the transcription factor Zfp281 functions in the exit from naive pluripotency occurring coincident with pre-to-post-implantation mouse embryonic development. By characterizing Zfp281 mutant phenotypes and identifying Zfp281 gene targets and protein partners in developing embryos and cultured pluripotent stem cells, we establish critical roles for Zfp281 in activating components of the Nodal signaling pathway and lineage-specific genes. Mechanistically, Zfp281 cooperates with histone acetylation and methylation complexes at target gene enhancers and promoters to exert transcriptional activation and repression, as well as epigenetic control of epiblast maturation leading up to anterior-posterior axis specification. Our study provides a comprehensive molecular model for understanding pluripotent state progressions in vivo during mammalian embryonic development.
Project description:Early mammalian development entails transit through naive pluripotency towards post-implantation epiblast, which subsequently gives rise to primordial germ cells (PGC), the founding germline population. To investigate these cell fate transitions, we developed a compound-reporter to track cellular identity in a model of PGC specification (PGC-like cells; PGCLC), and coupled it with genome-wide CRISPR screening. We identify key genes both for exit from pluripotency and for acquisition of PGC fate, and characterise a central role for the transcription regulators Nr5a2 and Zfp296 in germline ontogeny. Abrogation of these genes results in widespread activation (Nr5a2-/-) or inhibition (Zfp296-/-) of WNT pathway factors in PGCLC. This leads to aberrant upregulation of the somatic programme or failure to activate germline genes, respectively, and consequently loss of germ cell identity. Our study places Zfp296 and Nr5a2 as key components of an expanded PGC gene regulatory network, and outlines a transferable strategy for identifying critical regulators of complex cell fate decisions.
Project description:Naive and primed pluripotent human embryonic stem cells bear transcriptional similarity to pre- and post-implantation epiblast and thus constitute a developmental model for understanding the pluripotent stages in human embryo development. To identify new transcription factors that differentially regulate the unique pluripotent stages, we mapped open chromatin using ATAC-seq and found enrichment of the activator protein-2 (AP2) transcription factor binding motif at naive-specific open chromatin. We determined that the AP2 family member TFAP2C is upregulated during primed to naive reversion and becomes widespread at naive-specific enhancers. TFAP2C functions to maintain pluripotency and repress neuroectodermal differentiation during the transition from primed to naive by facilitating the opening of enhancers proximal to pluripotency factors. Additionally, we identify a previously undiscovered naive-specific POU5F1 (OCT4) enhancer enriched for TFAP2C binding. Taken together, TFAP2C establishes and maintains naive human pluripotency and regulates OCT4 expression by mechanisms that are distinct from mouse.
Project description:Current challenges in capturing naive human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) suggest that the factors regulating human naive versus primed pluripotency remain incompletely defined. Here we demonstrate that the widely used Essential 8 minimal medium (E8) captures hPSCs at a naive-to-primed intermediate state of pluripotency expressing several naive-like developmental, bioenergetic, and epigenomic features despite providing primed-state-sustaining growth factor conditions. Transcriptionally, E8 hPSCs are marked by activated lipid biosynthesis and suppressed MAPK/TGF-? gene expression, resulting in endogenous ERK inhibition. These features are dependent on lipid-free culture conditions and are lost upon lipid exposure, whereas short-term pharmacological ERK inhibition restores naive-to-primed intermediate traits even in the presence of lipids. Finally, we identify de novo lipogenesis as a common transcriptional signature of E8 hPSCs and the pre-implantation human epiblast in vivo. These findings implicate exogenous lipid availability in regulating human pluripotency and define E8 hPSCs as a stable, naive-to-primed intermediate (NPI) pluripotent state.
Project description:Controlling responsiveness to prevailing signals is critical for robust transitions between cell states during development. For example, fibroblast growth factor (FGF) drives naive pluripotent cells into extraembryonic lineages before implantation but sustains pluripotency in primed cells of the post-implantation epiblast. Nanog supports pluripotency in naive cells, while Nodal supports pluripotency in primed cells, but the handover from Nanog to Nodal does not proceed seamlessly, opening up the risk of aberrant differentiation if FGF is activated before Nodal. Here, we report that Id1 acts as a sensor to detect delays in Nodal activation after the downregulation of Nanog. Id1 then suppresses FGF activity to delay differentiation. Accordingly, Id1 is not required for naive or primed pluripotency but rather stabilizes epiblast identity during the transition between these states. These findings help explain how development proceeds robustly in the face of imprecise signals and highlight the importance of mechanisms that stabilize cell identity during developmental transitions.
Project description:The rate of glycolytic metabolism changes during differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotency. However, the functional contribution of glycolytic metabolism to the pluripotent state is unclear. Here we show that naive hESCs exhibit increased glycolytic flux, MYC transcriptional activity, and nuclear N-MYC localization relative to primed hESCs. This status is consistent with the inner cell mass of human blastocysts, where MYC transcriptional activity is higher than in primed hESCs and nuclear N-MYC levels are elevated. Reduction of glycolysis decreases self-renewal of naive hESCs and feeder-free primed hESCs, but not primed hESCs grown in feeder-supported conditions. Reduction of glycolysis in feeder-free primed hESCs also enhances neural specification. These findings reveal associations between glycolytic metabolism and human naive pluripotency and differences in the metabolism of feeder-/feeder-free cultured hESCs. They may also suggest methods for regulating self-renewal and initial cell fate specification of hESCs.
Project description:Pluripotency is highly dynamic and progresses through a continuum of pluripotent stem cell states. The two states that bookend the pluripotency continuum, naive and primed, are well characterized, but our understanding of the intermediate states and transitions between them remains incomplete. Here, we dissect the dynamics of pluripotent state transitions underlying pre- to post-implantation epiblast differentiation. Through comprehensive mapping of the proteome, phosphoproteome, transcriptome, and epigenome of embryonic stem cells transitioning from naive to primed pluripotency, we find that rapid, acute, and widespread changes to the phosphoproteome precede ordered changes to the epigenome, transcriptome, and proteome. Reconstruction of the kinase-substrate networks reveals signaling cascades, dynamics, and crosstalk. Distinct waves of global proteomic changes mark discrete phases of pluripotency, with cell-state-specific surface markers tracking pluripotent state transitions. Our data provide new insights into multi-layered control of the phased progression of pluripotency and a foundation for modeling mechanisms regulating pluripotent state transitions (www.stemcellatlas.org).