Glycolytic Metabolism Plays a Functional Role in Regulating Human Pluripotent Stem Cell State.
ABSTRACT: 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:The balance between glycolytic and oxidative metabolism shifts during differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and during reprogramming of somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells. However the contribution of glycolytic metabolism to various stages of pluripotency is not well understood. Additionally, few tools have been developed that modulate pluripotent stem cell glycolytic metabolism to influence self-renewal or differentiation. Here we show that the degree of human pluripotency is associated with glycolytic rate, whereby naive hESCs exhibit higher glycolytic flux, increased MYC transcriptional activity, and elevated nuclear N-MYC levels relative to primed hESCs. Consistently, the inner cell mass of human blastocysts also exhibits increased MYC transcriptional activity relative to primed hESCs and elevated nuclear N-MYC levels. Expression of the lactate transporter, monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1), is strongly associated with the pluripotent state, and reduction of glycolysis using a small molecule inhibitor towards MCT1 decreases self-renewal of naïve hESCs and feeder-free cultured primed hESCs, but not that of primed hESCs grown in feeder-supported conditions. Lastly, reduction of glycolytic metabolism via MCT1 inhibition in feeder-free primed hESCs enhances neural lineage specification. These findings validate the association between glycolytic metabolism and pluripotency, reveal differences in the glucose metabolism of feeder- versus feeder-free cultured hESCs, and show that pharmacologic regulation of glycolysis can influence self-renewal and initial cell fate specification of human pluripotent stem cells. Overall design: We hypothesized that human pluripotent stem cells, cultured with or without feeder cells (Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts, or MEFs), might display different metabolic phenotyes, and secreted factors by MEFs might be responsible for reprogramming the metabolism of human pluripotent stem cells. To test these hypotheses, we generated whole genome microarray data from human embryonic stem cell lines, with or without feeders, and feeder-free hESCs treated for 24 hours with MEF-conditioned or unconditioned medium. In addition, to understand how glycolysis inhibition changes the gene expression of human pluripotent cells, our study also included human embryonic stem cells treated for five days with DMSO or 250 nM AZD3965, a small molecule inhibitor towards monocarboxylate transport 1, or MCT1.
Project description:Until recently, human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) were shown to exist in a state of primed pluripotency, while mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) display a naive or primed pluripotent state. Here we show the rapid conversion of in-house-derived primed hESCs on mouse embryonic feeder layer (MEF) to a naive state within 5-6 days in naive conversion media (NCM-MEF), 6-10 days in naive human stem cell media (NHSM-MEF) and 14-20 days using the reverse-toggle protocol (RT-MEF). We further observe enhanced unbiased lineage-specific differentiation potential of naive hESCs converted in NCM-MEF, however, all naive hESCs fail to differentiate towards functional cell types. RNA-seq analysis reveals a divergent role of PI3K/AKT/mTORC signalling, specifically of the mTORC2 subunit, in the different naive hESCs. Overall, we demonstrate a direct evaluation of several naive culture conditions performed in the same laboratory, thereby contributing to an unbiased, more in-depth understanding of different naive hESCs.
Project description:Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) typically exhibit "primed" pluripotency, analogous to stem cells derived from the mouse post-implantation epiblast. This has led to a search for growth conditions that support self-renewal of hESCs akin to hypomethylated naive epiblast cells in human pre-implantation embryos. We have discovered that reverting primed hESCs to a hypomethylated naive state or deriving a new hESC line under naive conditions results in the establishment of Stage Specific Embryonic Antigen 4 (SSEA4)-negative hESC lines with a transcriptional program resembling the human pre-implantation epiblast. In contrast, we discovered that the methylome of naive hESCs in vitro is distinct from that of the human epiblast in vivo with loss of DNA methylation at primary imprints and a lost "memory" of the methylation state of the human oocyte. This failure to recover the naive epiblast methylation landscape appears to be a consistent feature of self-renewing hypomethylated naive hESCs in vitro.
Project description:Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF)/STAT3 signalling is a hallmark of naive pluripotency in rodent pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), whereas fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2 and activin/nodal signalling is required to sustain self-renewal of human PSCs in a condition referred to as the primed state. It is unknown why LIF/STAT3 signalling alone fails to sustain pluripotency in human PSCs. Here we show that the forced expression of the hormone-dependent STAT3-ER (ER, ligand-binding domain of the human oestrogen receptor) in combination with 2i/LIF and tamoxifen allows human PSCs to escape from the primed state and enter a state characterized by the activation of STAT3 target genes and long-term self-renewal in FGF2- and feeder-free conditions. These cells acquire growth properties, a gene expression profile and an epigenetic landscape closer to those described in mouse naive PSCs. Together, these results show that temporarily increasing STAT3 activity is sufficient to reprogramme human PSCs to naive-like pluripotent cells.
Project description: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:Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are pluripotent cells that have indefinite replicative potential and the ability to differentiate into derivatives of all three germ layers. hESCs are conventionally grown on mitotically inactivated mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) or feeder cells of human origin. In addition, feeder-free culture systems can be used to support hESCs, in which the adhesive substrate plays a key role in the regulation of stem cell self-renewal or differentiation. Extracellular matrix (ECM) components define the microenvironment of the niche for many types of stem cells, but their role in the maintenance of hESCs remains poorly understood. We used a proteomic approach to characterize in detail the composition and interaction networks of ECMs that support the growth of self-renewing hESCs. Whereas many ECM components were produced by supportive and unsupportive MEF and human placental stromal fibroblast feeder cells, some proteins were only expressed in supportive ECM, suggestive of a role in the maintenance of pluripotency. We show that identified candidate molecules can support attachment and self-renewal of hESCs alone (fibrillin-1) or in combination with fibronectin (perlecan, fibulin-2), in the absence of feeder cells. Together, these data highlight the importance of specific ECM interactions in the regulation of hESC phenotype and provide a resource for future studies of hESC self-renewal.
Project description:Recent progress has enabled the conversion of primed human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to the naive state of pluripotency, resembling the well-characterized naive mouse ESCs (mESCs). However, a thorough histone epigenetic characterization of this conversion process is currently lacking, while its likeness to the mouse model has not been clearly established. Here, we profile the histone epigenome of hESCs during conversion in a time-resolved experimental design, using an untargeted mass spectrometry-based approach. In total, 23 histone post-translational modifications (hPTMs) changed significantly over time. H3K27Me3 was the most prominently increasing marker hPTM in naive hESCs. This is in line with previous reports in mouse, prompting us to compare all the shared hPTM fold changes between mouse and human, revealing a set of conserved hPTM markers for the naive state. Principally, we present the first roadmap of the changing human histone epigenome during the conversion of hESCs from the primed to the naive state. This further revealed similarities with mouse, which hint at a conserved mammalian epigenetic signature of the ground state of pluripotency.
Project description:For nearly a century developmental biologists have recognized that cells from embryos can differ in their potential to differentiate into distinct cell types. Recently, it has been recognized that embryonic stem cells derived from both mice and humans exhibit two stable yet epigenetically distinct states of pluripotency: naive and primed. We now show that nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT) and the metabolic state regulate pluripotency in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Specifically, in naive hESCs, NNMT and its enzymatic product 1-methylnicotinamide are highly upregulated, and NNMT is required for low S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) levels and the H3K27me3 repressive state. NNMT consumes SAM in naive cells, making it unavailable for histone methylation that represses Wnt and activates the HIF pathway in primed hESCs. These data support the hypothesis that the metabolome regulates the epigenetic landscape of the earliest steps in human development.
Project description:Metabolism is an emerging stem cell hallmark tied to cell fate, pluripotency, and self-renewal, yet systems-level understanding of stem cell metabolism has been limited by the lack of genome-scale network models. Here, we develop a systems approach to integrate time-course metabolomics data with a computational model of metabolism to analyze the metabolic state of naive and primed murine pluripotent stem cells. Using this approach, we find that one-carbon metabolism involving phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase, folate synthesis, and nucleotide synthesis is a key pathway that differs between the two states, resulting in differential sensitivity to anti-folates. The model also predicts that the pluripotency factor Lin28 regulates this one-carbon metabolic pathway, which we validate using metabolomics data from Lin28-deficient cells. Moreover, we identify and validate metabolic reactions related to S-adenosyl-methionine production that can differentially impact histone methylation in naive and primed cells. Our network-based approach provides a framework for characterizing metabolic changes influencing pluripotency and cell fate.
Project description:Low oxygen tension (hypoxia) contributes critically to pluripotency of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) by preventing spontaneous differentiation and supporting self-renewal. However, it is not well understood how hESCs respond to reduced oxygen availability and what are the molecular mechanisms maintaining pluripotency in these conditions. In this study we characterized the transcriptional and molecular responses of three hESC lines (H9, HS401 and HS360) on short (2 hours), intermediate (24 hours) and prolonged (7 days) exposure to low oxygen conditions (4% O2). In response to prolonged hypoxia the expression of pluripotency surface marker SSEA-3 was increased. Furthermore, the genome wide gene-expression analysis revealed that a substantial proportion (12%) of all hypoxia-regulated genes in hESCs, were directly linked to the mechanisms controlling pluripotency or differentiation. Moreover, transcription of MYC oncogene was induced in response to continuous hypoxia. At the protein level MYC was stabilized through phosphorylation already in response to a short hypoxic exposure. Total MYC protein levels remained elevated throughout all the time points studied. Further, MYC protein expression in hypoxia was affected by silencing HIF2?, but not HIF1?. Since MYC has a crucial role in regulating pluripotency we propose that induction of sustained MYC expression in hypoxia contributes to activation of transcriptional programs critical for hESC self-renewal and maintenance of enhanced pluripotent state.