The oncogene Etv5 promotes MET in somatic reprogramming and orchestrates epiblast/primitive endoderm specification during mESCs differentiation.
ABSTRACT: Unipotent spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) can be efficiently reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells only by manipulating the culture condition, without introducing exogenous reprogramming factors. This phenotype raises the hypothesis that the endogenous transcription factors (TFs) in SSCs may facilitate reprogramming to acquire pluripotency. In this study, we screened a pool of SSCs TFs (Bcl6b, Lhx1, Foxo1, Plzf, Id4, Taf4b, and Etv5), and found that oncogene Etv5 could dramatically increase the efficiency of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generation when combined with Yamanaka factors. We also demonstrated that Etv5 could promote mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) at the early stage of reprogramming by regulating Tet2-miR200s-Zeb1 axis. In addition, Etv5 knockdown in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) could decrease the genomic 5hmC level by downregulating Tet2. Furthermore, the embryoid body assay revealed that Etv5 could positively regulate primitive endoderm specification through regulating Gata6 and negatively regulate epiblast specification by inhibiting Fgf5 expression. In summary, our findings provide insights into understanding the regulation mechanisms of Etv5 under the context of somatic reprogramming, mESCs maintenance, and differentiation.
Project description:Induced pluripotent stem cells can be derived from somatic cells through ectopic expression of transcription factors or chemical cocktails. Chemical iPSCs (C-iPSCs) and OSKM-iPSCs (4F-iPSCs) have been suggested to have similar characteristics to mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). However, their epigenetic equivalence remains incompletely understood throughout the genome. In this study, we have generated mouse C-iPSCs and 4F-iPSCs, and further compared the genome-wide DNA methylomes of C-iPSCs, 4F-iPSCs, and mESCs that were maintained in 2i and LIF. Three pluripotent stem cells tend to be low methylated overall, however, DNA methylations in some specific regions (such as retrotransposons) are cell type-specific. Importantly, C-iPSCs are more hypomethylated than 4F-iPSCs. Bisulfite sequencing indicated that DNA methylation status in several known imprinted clusters, such as: Dlk1-Dio3 and Peg12-Ube3a, in C-iPSCs are closer to those of mESCs than 4F-iPSCs. Overall, our data demonstrate the reprogramming methods-dependent epigenetic differences of C-iPSCs and 4F-iPSCs and reveal that C-iPSCs are more hypomethylated than OSKM-integrated iPSCs.
Project description:Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) are germline stem cells located along the basement membrane of seminiferous tubules in testes. Recently, SSCs were shown to be reprogrammed into multipotent SSCs (mSSCs). However, both the key factors and biological networks underlying this reprogramming remain elusive. Here, we present transcriptional regulatory networks (TRNs) that control cellular processes related to the SSC-to-mSSC reprogramming. Previously, we established intermediate SSCs (iSSCs) undergoing the transition to mSSCs and generated gene expression profiles of SSCs, iSSCs and mSSCs. By comparing these profiles, we identified 2643 genes that were up-regulated during the reprogramming process and 15 key transcription factors (TFs) that regulate these genes. Using the TF-target relationships, we developed TRNs describing how these TFs regulate three pluripotency-related processes (cell proliferation, stem cell maintenance and epigenetic regulation) during the reprogramming. The TRNs showed that 4 of the 15 TFs (Oct4/Pou5f1, Cux1, Zfp143 and E2f4) regulated cell proliferation during the early stages of reprogramming, whereas 11 TFs (Oct4/Pou5f1, Foxm1, Cux1, Zfp143, Trp53, E2f4, Esrrb, Nfyb, Nanog, Sox2 and Klf4) regulated the three pluripotency-related processes during the late stages of reprogramming. Our TRNs provide a model for the temporally coordinated transcriptional regulation of pluripotency-related processes during the SSC-to-mSSC reprogramming, which can be further tested in detailed functional studies.
Project description:Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) derived from mouse testis are unipotent in regard of spermatogenesis. Our previous study demonstrated that SSCs can be fully reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells, so called germline-derived pluripotent stem cells (gPS cells), on feeder cells (mouse embryonic fibroblasts), which supports SSC proliferation and induction of pluripotency. Because of an uncontrollable microenvironment caused by interactions with feeder cells, feeder-based SSC reprogramming is not suitable for elucidation of the self-reprogramming mechanism by which SSCs are converted into pluripotent stem cells. Recently, we have established a Matrigel-based SSC expansion culture system that allows long-term SSC proliferation without mouse embryonic fibroblast support. In this study, we developed a new feeder-free SSC self-reprogramming protocol based on the Matrigel-based culture system. The gPS cells generated using a feeder-free reprogramming system showed pluripotency at the molecular and cellular levels. The differentiation potential of gPS cells was confirmed in vitro and in vivo. Our study shows for the first time that the induction of SSC pluripotency can be achieved without feeder cells. The newly developed feeder-free self-reprogramming system could be a useful tool to reveal the mechanism by which unipotent cells are self-reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells.
Project description:Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) are unipotent adult stem cells, capable of differentiating into sperm cells. SSCs can be cultured in vitro for a long time. SSCs expressing Oct4, a pluripotency marker, and are the only adult cells which pluripotency can be induced under defined culture conditions. However, because 2D culture imposes limitations in cell junction formation, cell shape, metabolism, response to stimuli, and cell interface with medium, mechanistic studies on reprogramming of SSCs using feeder cells still have many challenges. Recent studies have shown that a culture system using a bio-matrix can be used in long-term feeder-free SSCs culture and for induction of pluripotency in SSCs. However, the bio-matrix cannot be the optimal micro-environment in mechanistic studies because it creates a physical barrier to growth factors and other signaling molecules. To overcome this effect of the matrix, we reprogrammed SSCs into pluripotent ESC-like cells, so-called germline-derived pluripotent stem cells (gPSCs) by using a 3D scaffold, in which cells are less responsive to external stimuli than in 2D cultures. Thus, we confirm the possibility of SSC reprogramming in the spheroidal state and suggest the utility of 3D scaffolds as a tool for studying the mechanism of SSC reprogramming into gPSCs without a bio-matrix.
Project description:Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) can spontaneously dedifferentiate into embryonic stem cell (ESC)-like cells, which are designated as multipotent SSCs (mSSCs), without ectopic expression of reprogramming factors. Interestingly, SSCs express key pluripotency genes such as Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and Myc. Therefore, molecular dissection of mSSC reprogramming may provide clues about novel endogenous reprogramming or pluripotency regulatory factors. Our comparative transcriptome analysis of mSSCs and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) suggests that they have similar pluripotency states but are reprogrammed via different transcriptional pathways. We identified 53 genes as putative pluripotency regulatory factors using an integrated systems biology approach. We demonstrated a selected candidate, Positive cofactor 4 (Pc4), can enhance the efficiency of somatic cell reprogramming by promoting and maintaining transcriptional activity of the key reprograming factors. These results suggest that Pc4 has an important role in inducing spontaneous somatic cell reprogramming via up-regulation of key pluripotency genes.
Project description:Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) present the potential to acquire pluripotency under specific culture conditions. However, the frequency of pluripotent cell derivation is low, and the mechanism of SSC reprogramming remains unknown. In this study, we report that induction of global DNA hypomethylation in germline stem (GS) cells (cultured SSCs) induces pluripotent cell derivation. When DNA demethylation was triggered by Dnmt1 depletion, GS cells underwent apoptosis. However, GS cells were converted into embryonic stem (ES)-like cells by double knockdown of Dnmt1 and p53. This treatment down-regulated Dmrt1, a gene involved in sexual differentiation, meiosis, and pluripotency. Dmrt1 depletion caused apoptosis of GS cells, but a combination of Dmrt1 and p53 depletion also induced pluripotency. Functional screening of putative Dmrt1 target genes revealed that Dmrt1 depletion up-regulates Sox2. Sox2 transfection up-regulated Oct4 and produced pluripotent cells. This conversion was enhanced by Oct1 depletion, suggesting that the balance of Oct proteins maintains SSC identity. These results suggest that spontaneous SSC reprogramming is caused by unstable DNA methylation and that a Dmrt1-Sox2 cascade is critical for regulating pluripotency in SSCs.
Project description:Tbx3, a member of the T-box family, plays important roles in development, stem cells, nuclear reprogramming, and cancer. Loss of Tbx3 induces differentiation in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). However, we show that mESCs exist in an alternate stable pluripotent state in the absence of Tbx3. In-depth transcriptome analysis of this mESC state reveals Dppa3 as a direct downstream target of Tbx3. Also, Tbx3 facilitates the cell fate transition from pluripotent cells to mesoderm progenitors by directly repressing Wnt pathway members required for differentiation. Wnt signaling regulates differentiation of mESCs into mesoderm progenitors and helps to maintain a naive pluripotent state. We show that Tbx3, a downstream target of Wnt signaling, fine tunes these divergent roles of Wnt signaling in mESCs. In conclusion, we identify a signaling-TF axis that controls the exit of mESCs from a self-renewing pluripotent state toward mesoderm differentiation.
Project description:Mice that are ets variant gene 5 (ETV5) null (Etv5(-/-)) undergo the first wave of spermatogenesis but lose all spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) during this time. The SSC loss in Etv5(-/-) mice begins during the neonatal period, suggesting a role for ETV5 in SSC self-renewal during this period. Herein, we show that Etv5 mRNA was present in perinatal mouse testis and that ETV5 was expressed in fetal Sertoli cells and by germ cells and Sertoli cells during the neonatal period. Transplantation of Etv5(-/-) germ cells failed to establish spermatogenesis in W/W(v) mice testes, indicating that germ cell ETV5 has a key role in establishment or self-renewal of transplanted SSCs. The SSC self-renewal is stimulated by glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) acting through the RET/GDNF family receptor alpha 1 (GFRA1) receptor complex in SSCs. Immunohistochemistry, quantitative PCR, and laser capture microdissection revealed decreased RET mRNA and protein expression in spermatogonia of neonatal Etv5(-/-) mice by Postnatal Days 4-8, indicating that disrupted GDNF/RET/GFRA1 signaling may occur before initial spermatogonial stem/progenitor cell decrease. Etv5(-/-) spermatogonia had reduced proliferation in vivo and in vitro. Decreased cell proliferation may cause the observed decreases in the number of type A spermatogonia (Postnatal Day 17) and daily sperm production (Postnatal Day 30) in Etv5(-/-) mice, indicating quantitative impairments in the first wave of spermatogenesis. In conclusion, ETV5 is expressed beginning in fetal Sertoli cells and can potentially have effects on neonatal Sertoli cells and germ cells. In addition, ETV5 has critical effects on neonatal spermatogonial proliferation, which may involve impaired signaling through the RET receptor.
Project description:Tet1, Tet2, and Tet3 encode DNA demethylases that play critical roles during stem cell differentiation and reprogramming to pluripotency. Although all three genes are transcribed in pluripotent cells, little is known about the expression of the corresponding proteins. Here, we tagged all the endogenous Tet family alleles using CRISPR/Cas9, and characterised TET protein expression in distinct pluripotent cell culture conditions. Whereas TET1 is abundantly expressed in both naïve and primed pluripotent cells, TET2 expression is restricted to the naïve state. Moreover, TET2 is expressed heterogeneously in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) cultured in serum/leukemia inhibitory factor, with expression correlating with naïve pluripotency markers. FACS-sorting of ESCs carrying a Tet2 Flag-IRES-EGFP reporter demonstrated that TET2-negative cells have lost the ability to form undifferentiated ESC colonies. We further show that TET2 binds to the transcription factor NANOG. We hypothesize that TET2 and NANOG co-localise on chromatin to regulate enhancers associated with naïve pluripotency genes.
Project description:DMSO is a commonly used solvent in biological studies, as it is an amphipathic molecule soluble in both aqueous and organic media. For that reason, it is the vehicle of choice for several water-insoluble substances used in research. At the molecular and cellular level, DMSO is a hydrogen-bound disrupter, an intercellular electrical uncoupler, and a cryoprotectant, among other properties. Importantly, DMSO often has overlooked side effects. In stem cell research, the literature is scarce, but there are reports on the effect of DMSO in human embryoid body differentiation and on human pluripotent stem cell priming towards differentiation, via modulation of cell cycle. However, in mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) culture, there is almost no available information. Taking into consideration the almost ubiquitous use of DMSO in experiments involving mESCs, we aimed to understand the effect of very low doses of DMSO (0.0001%-0.2%), usually used to introduce pharmacological inhibitors/modulators, in mESCs cultured in two different media (2i and FBS-based media). Our results show that in the E14Tg2a mESC line used in this study, even the smallest concentration of DMSO had minor effects on the total number of cells in serum-cultured mESCs. However, these effects could not be explained by alterations in cell cycle or apoptosis. Furthermore, DMSO did not affect pluripotency or differentiation potential. All things considered, and although control experiments should be carried out in each cell line that is used, it is reasonable to conclude that DMSO at the concentrations used here has a minimal effect on this particular mESC line.