Direct comparison of distinct naive pluripotent states in human embryonic stem cells.
ABSTRACT: 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:Naive human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) can be derived from primed hESCs or directly from blastocysts, but their X chromosome state has remained unresolved. Here, we show that the inactive X chromosome (Xi) of primed hESCs was reactivated in naive culture conditions. Like cells of the blastocyst, the resulting naive cells contained two active X chromosomes with XIST expression and chromosome-wide transcriptional dampening and initiated XIST-mediated X inactivation upon differentiation. Both establishment of and exit from the naive state (differentiation) happened via an XIST-negative XaXa intermediate. Together, these findings identify a cell culture system for functionally exploring the two X chromosome dosage compensation processes in early human development: X dampening and X inactivation. However, remaining differences between naive hESCs and embryonic cells related to mono-allelic XIST expression and non-random X inactivation highlight the need for further culture improvement. As the naive state resets Xi abnormalities seen in primed hESCs, it may provide cells better suited for downstream applications.
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: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: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: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:Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) can be captured in a primed state in which they resemble the postimplantation epiblast, or in a naive state where they resemble the preimplantation epiblast. Naive-cell-specific culture conditions allow the study of preimplantation development ex vivo but reportedly lead to chromosomal abnormalities, which compromises their utility in research and potential therapeutic applications. Although MEK inhibition is essential for the naive state, here we show that reduced MEK inhibition facilitated the establishment and maintenance of naive hESCs that retained naive-cell-specific features, including global DNA hypomethylation, HERVK expression, and two active X chromosomes. We further show that hESCs cultured under these modified conditions proliferated more rapidly; accrued fewer chromosomal abnormalities; and displayed changes in the phosphorylation levels of MAPK components, regulators of DNA damage/repair, and cell cycle. We thus provide a simple modification to current methods that can enable robust growth and reduced genomic instability in naive hESCs.
Project description:In both mice and humans, pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) exist in at least two distinct states of pluripotency, known as the naïve and primed states. Our understanding of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that enable PSCs to self-renew and to transition between different pluripotent states is important for understanding early development. In mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), Wnt proteins stimulate mESC self-renewal and support the naïve state. In human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), Wnt/?-catenin signaling is active in naïve-state hESCs and is reduced or absent in primed-state hESCs. However, the role of Wnt/?-catenin signaling in naïve hESCs remains largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that inhibition of the secretion of Wnts or inhibition of the stabilization of ?-catenin in naïve hESCs reduces cell proliferation and colony formation. Moreover, we show that addition of recombinant Wnt3a partially rescues cell proliferation in naïve hESCs caused by inhibition of Wnt secretion. Notably, inhibition of Wnt/?-catenin signaling in naïve hESCs did not cause differentiation. Instead, it induced primed hESC-like proteomic and metabolic profiles. Thus, our results suggest that naïve hESCs secrete Wnts that activate autocrine or paracrine Wnt/?-catenin signaling to promote efficient self-renewal and inhibit the transition to the primed state.
Project description:Polycomb repressive complex 2 and the epigenetic mark that it deposits, H3K27me3, are evolutionarily conserved and play critical roles in development and cancer. However, their roles in cell fate decisions in early embryonic development remain poorly understood. Here we report that knockout of polycomb repressive complex 2 genes in human embryonic stem cells causes pluripotency loss and spontaneous differentiation toward a meso-endoderm fate, owing to de-repression of BMP signalling. Moreover, human embryonic stem cells with deletion of EZH1 or EZH2 fail to differentiate into ectoderm lineages. We further show that polycomb repressive complex 2-deficient mouse embryonic stem cells also release Bmp4 but retain their pluripotency. However, when converted into a primed state, they undergo spontaneous differentiation similar to that of hESCs. In contrast, polycomb repressive complex 2 is dispensable for pluripotency when human embryonic stem cells are converted into the naive state. Our studies reveal both lineage- and pluripotent state-specific roles of polycomb repressive complex 2 in cell fate decisions.Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) plays an essential role in development by modifying chromatin but what this means at a cellular level is unclear. Here, the authors show that ablation of PRC2 genes in human embryonic stem cells and in mice results in changes in pluripotency and the primed state of cells.
Project description:Despite progress in developing defined conditions for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) cultures, little is known about the cell-surface receptors that are activated under conditions supportive of hESC self-renewal. A simultaneous interrogation of 42 receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) in hESCs following stimulation with mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) conditioned medium (CM) revealed rapid and prominent tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor (IR) and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1R); less prominent tyrosine phosphorylation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family members, including ERBB2 and ERBB3; and trace phosphorylation of fibroblast growth factor receptors. Intense IGF1R and IR phosphorylation occurred in the absence of MEF conditioning (NCM) and was attributable to high concentrations of insulin in the proprietary KnockOut Serum Replacer (KSR). Inhibition of IGF1R using a blocking antibody or lentivirus-delivered shRNA reduced hESC self-renewal and promoted differentiation, while disruption of ERBB2 signaling with the selective inhibitor AG825 severely inhibited hESC proliferation and promoted apoptosis. A simple defined medium containing an IGF1 analog, heregulin-1beta (a ligand for ERBB2/ERBB3), fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2), and activin A supported long-term growth of multiple hESC lines. These studies identify previously unappreciated RTKs that support hESC proliferation and self-renewal, and provide a rationally designed medium for the growth and maintenance of pluripotent hESCs.
Project description:Mouse epiblast stem cells (mEpiSCs) and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are primed pluripotent stem cells whose self-renewal can be maintained through cytoplasmic stabilization and retention of ?-catenin. The underlying mechanism, however, remains largely unknown. Here, we show that cytoplasmic ?-catenin interacts with and retains TAZ, a Hippo pathway effector, in the cytoplasm. Cytoplasmic retention of TAZ promotes mEpiSC self-renewal in the absence of nuclear ?-catenin, whereas nuclear translocation of TAZ induces mEpiSC differentiation. TAZ is dispensable for naive mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) self-renewal but required for the proper conversion of mESCs to mEpiSCs. The self-renewal of hESCs, like that of mEpiSCs, can also be maintained through the cytoplasmic retention of ?-catenin and TAZ. Our study indicates that how TAZ regulates cell fate depends on not only the cell type but also its subcellular localization.