Changes in microRNA expression during differentiation of embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells to definitive endoderm.
ABSTRACT: Pluripotent stem cells, including embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), have the potential to treat type 1 diabetes through cell replacement therapy. However, the protocols used to generate insulin-expressing cells in vitro frequently result in cells which have an immature phenotype and are functionally restricted. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are now known to be important in cell fate specification, and a unique miRNA signature characterises pancreatic development at the definitive endoderm stage. Several studies have described differences in miRNA expression between ESCs and iPSCs. Here we have used microarray analysis both to identify miRNAs up- or down-regulated upon endoderm formation, and also miRNAs differentially expressed between ESCs and iPSCs. Several miRNAs fulfilling both these criteria were identified, suggesting that differences in the expression of these miRNAs may affect the ability of pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into definitive endoderm. The expression of these miRNAs was validated by qRT-PCR, and the relationship between one of these miRNAs, miR-151a-5p, and its predicted target gene, SOX17, was investigated by luciferase assay, and suggested an interaction between miR-151a-5p and this key transcription factor. In conclusion, these findings demonstrate a unique miRNA expression pattern for definitive endoderm derived from both embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Reprogrammed cells, including induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and nuclear transfer embryonic stem cells (NT-ESCs), are similar in many respects to natural embryonic stem cells (ESCs). However, previous studies have demonstrated that iPSCs retain a gene expression signature that is unique from that of ESCs, including differences in microRNA (miRNA) expression, while NT-ESCs are more faithfully reprogrammed cells and have better developmental potential compared with iPSCs. RESULTS: We focused on miRNA expression and explored the difference between ESCs and reprogrammed cells, especially ESCs and NT-ESCs. We also compared the distinct expression patterns among iPSCs, NT-ESCs and NT-iPSCs. The results demonstrated that reprogrammed cells (iPSCs and NT-ESCs) have unique miRNA expression patterns compared with ESCs. The comparison of differently reprogrammed cells (NT-ESCs, NT-iPSCs and iPSCs) suggests that several miRNAs have key roles in the distinct developmental potential of reprogrammed cells. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that miRNAs play a part in the difference between ESCs and reprogrammed cells, as well as between MEFs and pluripotent cells. The variation of miRNA expression in reprogrammed cells derived using different reprogramming strategies suggests different characteristics induced by nuclear transfer and iPSC generation, as well as different developmental potential among NT-ESCs, iPSCs and NT-iPSCs.
Project description:The establishment of methods for directive differentiation from human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is important for regenerative medicine. Although Sry-related HMG box 17 (SOX17) overexpression in ESCs leads to differentiation of either extraembryonic or definitive endoderm cells, respectively, the mechanism of these distinct results remains unknown. Therefore, we utilized a transient adenovirus vector-mediated overexpression system to mimic the SOX17 expression pattern of embryogenesis. The number of alpha-fetoprotein-positive extraembryonic endoderm (ExEn) cells was increased by transient SOX17 transduction in human ESC- and iPSC-derived primitive endoderm cells. In contrast, the number of hematopoietically expressed homeobox (HEX)-positive definitive endoderm (DE) cells, which correspond to the anterior DE in vivo, was increased by transient adenovirus vector-mediated SOX17 expression in human ESC- and iPSC-derived mesendoderm cells. Moreover, hepatocyte-like cells were efficiently generated by sequential transduction of SOX17 and HEX. Our findings show that a stage-specific transduction of SOX17 in the primitive endoderm or mesendoderm promotes directive ExEn or DE differentiation by SOX17 transduction, respectively.
Project description:Deriving lung progenitors from patient-specific pluripotent cells is a key step in producing differentiated lung epithelium for disease modeling and transplantation. By mimicking the signaling events that occur during mouse lung development, we generated murine lung progenitors in a series of discrete steps. Definitive endoderm derived from mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) was converted into foregut endoderm, then into replicating Nkx2.1+ lung endoderm, and finally into multipotent embryonic lung progenitor and airway progenitor cells. We demonstrated that precisely-timed BMP, FGF, and WNT signaling are required for NKX2.1 induction. Mouse ESC-derived Nkx2.1+ progenitor cells formed respiratory epithelium (tracheospheres) when transplanted subcutaneously into mice. We then adapted this strategy to produce disease-specific lung progenitor cells from human Cystic Fibrosis induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), creating a platform for dissecting human lung disease. These disease-specific human lung progenitors formed respiratory epithelium when subcutaneously engrafted into immunodeficient mice.
Project description:Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells can be obtained through in vitro differentiation of both embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). We have previously identified 87 signature genes relevant to RPE cell differentiation and function through transcriptome analysis of both human ESC- and iPSC-derived RPE as well as normal fetal RPE. Here, we profile miRNA expression through small RNA-seq in human ESCs and their RPE derivatives. Much like conclusions drawn from our previous transcriptome analysis, we find that the overall miRNA landscape in RPE is distinct from ESCs and other differentiated somatic tissues. We also profile miRNA expression during intermediate stages of RPE differentiation and identified unique subsets of miRNAs that are gradually up- or down-regulated, suggesting that dynamic regulation of these miRNAs is associated with the RPE differentiation process. Indeed, the down-regulation of a subset of miRNAs during RPE differentiation is associated with up-regulation of RPE-specific genes, such as RPE65, which is exclusively expressed in RPE. We conclude that miRNA signatures can be used to classify different degrees of in vitro differentiation of RPE from human pluripotent stem cells. We suggest that RPE-specific miRNAs likely contribute to the functional maturation of RPE in vitro, similar to the regulation of RPE-specific mRNA expression.
Project description:The generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provides a novel method to facilitate investigations into the mechanisms that control stem cell pluripotency and self-renewal. Myc has previously been shown to be critical for murine embryonic stem cell (mESC) maintenance, while also enhancing directed reprogramming of fibroblasts by effecting widespread changes in gene expression. Despite several studies identifying in vivo target genes, the precise mechanism by which Myc regulates pluripotency remains unknown. Here we report that codeletion of c- and N-MYC in iPSCs and ESCs results in their spontaneous differentiation to primitive endoderm. We show that Myc sustains pluripotency through repression of the primitive endoderm master regulator GATA6, while also contributing to cell cycle control by regulation of the mir-17-92 miRNA cluster. Our findings demonstrate the indispensable requirement for c- or N-myc in pluripotency beyond proliferative and metabolic control.
Project description:Stem cells are undifferentiated cells and have multi-lineage differentiation potential. Generally, stem cells are classified into adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Stem cells have great potential in clinical therapy due to their pluripotency and self-renewal ability. microRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs which are evolutionarily conserved and participate in the pathogenesis of many diseases, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, aging, cell fate decisions, and different signaling pathways. Different kinds of stem cells possess distinct miRNA expression profiles. Our review summarizes the critical roles of miRNAs in stem cell reprogramming, pluripotency maintenance, and differentiation. In the future, miRNAs may greatly contribute to stem cell clinical therapy and have potential applications in regenerative medicine.
Project description:Excessive accumulation of embryonic stem cell (ESC)-specific microRNAs occurs in both ESCs and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC); yet, the mechanism involved is unknown. In iPSCs, we for the first time found that novel glycylated sugar alcohols, particularly glycylglycerins, are tightly bound with ESC-specific microRNA precursors (pre-miRNA), such as pre-miR-302. Among these isolated glycylglycerins, we further identified that 1,3-diglycylglycerin and 1,2,3-triglycylglycerin are two major compounds bonded with negatively charged nucleic acids via electro-affinity and subsequently forming sugar-like coats in the hairpin-like double helix structures of pre-miRNAs. As a result, such glycylglycerin-formed coating serves as a protection layer against miRNA degradation. Moreover, we found that the pH value of iPSC cytosol determines the charges of these glycylglycerins. During iPSC differentiation, the cytosol pH is increased and hence neutralizes the charges of glycylglycerins, consequently leading to fast miRNA degradation. Therefore, the current findings not only explain how ESC-specific miRNAs are preserved and accumulated in iPSCs and ESCs but also demonstrate an important function of glycylglycerins in protecting the structural integrity of highly degradable miRNAs, providing a useful means for maintaining miRNA/siRNA function as well as developing the related RNA interference (RNAi) applications.
Project description:Pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) exert low-traction forces on their niche in vitro whereas specification to definitive endoderm in vivo coincides with force-mediated motility, suggesting a differentiation-mediated switch. However, the onset of contractility and extent to which force-mediated integrin signaling regulates fate choices is not understood. To address the requirement of tractions forces for differentiation, we examined mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC) specification towards definitive endoderm on fibrillar fibronectin containing a deformation-sensitive FRET probe. Inhibiting contractility resulted in an increase in the observed fibronectin FRET intensity ratio but also decreased the amount of phosphorylated nuclear SMAD2, leading to reduced expression of the definitive endoderm marker SOX17. By contrast ESCs maintained in pluripotency medium did not exert significant tractions against the fibronectin matrix. When laminin-111 was added to fibrillar matrices to improve the efficiency of definitive endoderm induction, ESCs decreased their fibronectin traction forces in a laminin-dependent manner; blocking the laminin-binding ?3-integrin restored fibronectin matrix deformation and reduced SOX17 expression and SMAD2 phosphorylation, probably because of compensation of inhibitory signaling from SMAD7 after 5 days in culture. These data imply that traction forces and integrin signaling are important regulators of early fate decisions in ESCs.
Project description:The development of functional cell populations such as hepatocytes and pancreatic beta cells from embryonic stem cell (ESC) is dependent on the efficient induction of definitive endoderm early in the differentiation process. To monitor definitive endoderm formation in mouse ESC differentiation cultures in a quantitative fashion, we generated a reporter cell line that expresses human CD25 from the Foxa3 locus and human CD4 from the Foxa2 locus. Induction of these reporter ESCs with high concentrations of activin A led to the development of a CD25-Foxa3+CD4-Foxa2+ population within 4-5 days of culture. Isolation and characterization of this population showed that it consists predominantly of definitive endoderm that is able to undergo hepatic specification under the appropriate conditions. To develop reagents that can be used for studies on endoderm development from unmanipulated ESCs, from induced pluripotent stem cells, and from the mouse embryo, we generated monoclonal antibodies against the CD25-Foxa3+CD4-Foxa2+ population. With this approach, we identified two antibodies that react specifically with endoderm from ESC cultures and from the early embryo. The specificity of these antibodies enables one to quantitatively monitor endoderm development in ESC differentiation cultures, to study endoderm formation in the embryo, and to isolate pure populations of culture- or embryo-derived endodermal cells.
Project description:Studies of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) reveal that these cell lines can be derived from differing stages of embryonic development. We analyzed common changes in the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) and mRNAs in 9 different human ESC (hESC) lines during early commitment and further examined the expression of key ESCenriched miRNAs in earlier developmental states in several species. We show that several previously defined hESC-enriched miRNA groups (the miR-302, -17, and -515 families, and the miR-371-373 cluster) and several other hESC-enriched miRNAs are down-regulated rapidly in response to differentiation. We further found that mRNAs up-regulated upon differentiation are enriched in potential target sites for these hESC-enriched miRNAs. Interestingly, we also observed that the expression of ESC-enriched miRNAs bearing identical seed sequences changed dynamically while the cells transitioned through early embryonic states. In human and monkey ESCs, as well as human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), the miR-371-373 cluster was consistently up-regulated, while the miR-302 family was mildly down-regulated when the cells were chemically treated to regress to an earlier developmental state. Similarly, miR-302b, but not mmu-miR-295, was expressed at higher levels in murine epiblast stem cells (mEpiSC) as compared with an earlier developmental state, mouse ESCs. These results raise the possibility that the relative expression of related miRNAs might serve as diagnostic indicators in defining the developmental state of embryonic cells and other stem cell lines, such as iPSCs. These data also raise the possibility that miRNAs bearing identical seed sequences could have specific functions during separable stages of early embryonic development.