Ethanol promotes differentiation of embryonic stem cells through retinoic acid receptor-?.
ABSTRACT: Ethanol (EtOH) is a teratogen, but its teratogenic mechanisms are not fully understood. The alcohol form of vitamin A (retinol/ROL) can be oxidized to all-trans-retinoic acid (RA), which plays a critical role in stem cell differentiation and development. Using an embryonic stem cell (ESC) model to analyze EtOH's effects on differentiation, we show here that EtOH and acetaldehyde, but not acetate, increase differentiation-associated mRNA levels, and that EtOH decreases pluripotency-related mRNAs. Using reporter assays, ChIP assays, and retinoic acid receptor-? (RAR?) knockout ESC lines generated by CRISPR/Cas9 and homologous recombination, we demonstrate that EtOH signals via RAR? binding to RA response elements (RAREs) in differentiation-associated gene promoters or enhancers. We also report that EtOH-mediated increases in homeobox A1 (Hoxa1) and cytochrome P450 family 26 subfamily A member 1 (Cyp26a1) transcripts, direct RA target genes, require the expression of the RA-synthesizing enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 family member A2 (Aldh1a2), suggesting that EtOH-mediated induction of Hoxa1 and Cyp26a1 requires ROL from the serum. As shown with CRISPR/Cas9 knockout lines, the retinol dehydrogenase gene Rdh10 and a functional RARE in the ROL transporter stimulated by retinoic acid 6 (Stra6) gene are required for EtOH induction of Hoxa1 and Cyp26a1 We conclude that EtOH stimulates stem cell differentiation by increasing the influx and metabolism of ROL for downstream RAR?-dependent transcription. In stem cells, EtOH may shift cell fate decisions to alter developmental outcomes by increasing endogenous ROL/RA signaling via increased Stra6 expression and ROL oxidation.
Project description:We have utilized retinoic acid receptor ? (gamma) knockout (RAR?(-/-)) embryonic stem (ES) cells as a model system to analyze RAR? mediated transcriptional regulation of stem cell differentiation. Most of the transcripts regulated by all-trans retinoic acid (RA) in ES cells are dependent upon functional RAR? signaling. Notably, many of these RA-RAR? target genes are implicated in retinoid uptake and metabolism. For instance, Lrat (lecithin:retinol acyltransferase), Stra6 (stimulated by retinoic acid 6), Crabp2 (cellular retinoic acid binding protein 2), and Cyp26a1 (cytochrome p450 26a1) transcripts are induced in wild type (WT), but not in RAR?(-/-) cells. Transcripts for the transcription factors Pbx1 (pre-B cell leukemia homeobox-1), Wt1 (Wilm's tumor gene-1), and Meis1 (myeloid ecotropic viral integration site-1) increase upon RA treatment of WT, but not RAR?(-/-) cells. In contrast, Stra8, Dleu7, Leftb, Pitx2, and Cdx1 mRNAs are induced by RA even in the absence of RAR?. Mapping of the epigenetic signature of Meis1 revealed that RA induces a rapid increase in the H3K9/K14ac epigenetic mark at the proximal promoter and at two sites downstream of the transcription start site in WT, but not in RAR?(-/-) cells. Thus, RA-associated increases in H3K9/K14ac epigenetic marks require RAR? and are associated with increased Meis1 transcript levels, whereas H3K4me3 is present at the Meis1 proximal promoter even in the absence of RAR?. In contrast, at the Lrat proximal promoter primarily the H3K4me3 mark, and not the H3K9/K14ac mark, increases in response to RA, independently of the presence of RAR?. Our data show major epigenetic changes associated with addition of the RAR? agonist RA in ES cells.
Project description:Retinoic acid (RA) regulates clustered Hox gene expression during embryogenesis and is required to establish the anterior-posterior body plan. Using mutant embryonic stem cell lines deficient in the RA receptor ? (RAR?) or Hoxa1 3'-RA-responsive element, we studied the kinetics of transcriptional and epigenomic patterning responses to RA. RAR? is essential for RA-induced Hox transcriptional activation, and deletion of its binding site in the Hoxa1 enhancer attenuates transcriptional and epigenomic activation of both Hoxa and Hoxb gene clusters. The kinetics of epigenomic reorganization demonstrate that complete erasure of the polycomb repressive mark H3K27me3 is not necessary to initiate Hox transcription. RAR? is not required to establish the bivalent character of Hox clusters, but RA/RAR? signaling is necessary to erase H3K27me3 from activated Hox genes during embryonic stem cell differentiation. Highly coordinated, long range epigenetic Hox cluster reorganization is closely linked to transcriptional activation and is triggered by RAR? located at the Hoxa1 3'-RA-responsive element.
Project description:Retinoic acid (RA) is present at sites of neurogenesis in both the embryonic and adult brain. While it is widely accepted that RA signaling is involved in the regulation of neural stem cell differentiation, little is known about vitamin A utilization and biosynthesis of active retinoids in the neurogenic niches, or about the details of retinoid metabolism in neural stem cells and differentiating progenies. Here we provide data on retinoid responsiveness and RA production of distinct neural stem cell/neural progenitor populations. In addition, we demonstrate differentiation-related changes in the expression of genes encoding proteins of the retinoid machinery, including components responsible for uptake (Stra6) and storage (Lrat) of vitamin A, transport of retinoids (Rbp4, CrbpI, CrabpI-II), synthesis (Rdh10, Raldh1-4), degradation of RA (Cyp26a1-c1) and RA signaling (Rar?,?,?, Rxr?,?,?). We show that both early embryonic neuroectodermal (NE-4C) stem cells and late embryonic or adult derived radial glia like progenitors (RGl cells) are capable to produce bioactive retinoids but respond differently to retinoid signals. However, while neuronal differentiation of RGl cells can not be induced by RA, neuron formation by NE-4C cells is initiated by both RA and RA-precursors (retinol or retinyl acetate). The data indicate that endogenous RA production, at least in some neural stem cell populations, may result in autocrine regulation of neuronal differentiation.
Project description:Polycomb proteins play key roles in mediating epigenetic modifications that occur during cell differentiation. The Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) mediates the tri-methylation of histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3). In this study, we identify a distinguishing feature of two classes of PRC2 target genes, represented by the Nr2F1 (Coup-TF1) and the Hoxa5 gene, respectively. Both genes are transcriptionally activated by all-trans retinoic acid (RA) and display increased levels of the permissive H3K9/K14ac and tri-methylated histone H3 lysine 4 epigenetic marks in response to RA. However, while in response to RA the PRC2 and H3K27me3 marks are greatly decreased at the Hoxa5 promoter, these marks are initially increased at the Nr2F1 promoter. Functional depletion of the essential PRC2 protein Suz12 by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) technology enhanced the RA-associated transcription of Nr2F1, Nr2F2, Meis1, Sox9 and BMP2, but had no effect on the Hoxa5, Hoxa1, Cyp26a1, Cyp26b1 and RAR?2 transcript levels in wild-type embryonic stem cells. We propose that PRC2 recruitment attenuates the RA-associated transcriptional activation of a subset of genes. Such a mechanism would permit the fine-tuning of transcriptional networks during differentiation.
Project description:Retinoic acid (RA) induces rapid differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs), partly by activating expression of the transcription factor Hoxa1, which regulates downstream target genes that promote ESCs differentiation. However, mechanisms of RA-induced Hoxa1 expression and ESCs early differentiation remain largely unknown. Here, we identify a distal enhancer interacting with the Hoxa1 locus through a long-range chromatin loop. Enhancer deletion significantly inhibited expression of RA-induced Hoxa1 and endoderm master control genes such as Gata4 and Gata6. Transcriptome analysis revealed that RA-induced early ESCs differentiation was blocked in Hoxa1 enhancer knockout cells, suggesting a requirement for the enhancer. Restoration of Hoxa1 expression partly rescued expression levels of ?40% of genes whose expression changed following enhancer deletion, and ?18% of promoters of those rescued genes were directly bound by Hoxa1. Our data show that a distal enhancer maintains Hoxa1 expression through long-range chromatin loop and that Hoxa1 directly regulates downstream target genes expression and then orchestrates RA-induced early differentiation of ESCs. This discovery reveals mechanisms of a novel enhancer regulating RA-induced Hoxa genes expression and early ESCs differentiation.
Project description:Retinoic acid (RA) is important during development, in neuronal plasticity, and also in peripheral nervous system regeneration. Here we use the frog visual system as a model to investigate the changes in RA signaling that take place after axonal injury to the central nervous system. Immunocytochemistry was used to localize different components of RA signaling within sections of the retina and optic tectum, namely, the synthetic enzyme retinaldehyde dehydrogenase (RALDH), the RA binding proteins CRABPI and II, the retinoic acid receptors RAR?, ? and ?, and finally the catabolic enzyme CYP26A1. The levels of these proteins were quantified in extracts of retina and tectum using Western blotting. Animals were studied at 1 week, 3 weeks and 6 weeks after optic nerve transection. At the latter time point the RGC axons were re-entering the optic tectum. All the components of RA signaling were present at low to moderate levels in retinas and tecta of control, unoperated animals. In retina, soon after optic nerve injury there was a large increase in RALDH, some increase in the CRABPs, and a large increase in RGC RAR? and (expression. These increases continued as the RGC axons were regenerating, with the addition of later RAR? expression at 6 weeks. At no stage did CYP26A1 expression significantly change. In the tectum the levels of RALDH increased after axotomy and during regrowth of axons (3 weeks), then decreased at 6 weeks, at which time the levels of CYP26A1 increased. Axotomy did not cause an immediate increase in tectal RAR levels but RAR? and RAR? increased after 3 weeks and RAR? only after 6 weeks. These results are consistent with RA signaling playing an important role in the survival and regeneration of frog RGCs.
Project description:Retinoic acid (RA) controls many aspects of embryonic development by binding to specific receptors (retinoic acid receptors [RARs]) that regulate complex transcriptional networks. Three different RAR subtypes are present in vertebrates and play both common and specific roles in transducing RA signaling. Specific activities of each receptor subtype can be correlated with its exclusive expression pattern, whereas shared activities between different subtypes are generally assimilated to functional redundancy. However, the question remains whether some subtype-specific activity still exists in regions or organs coexpressing multiple RAR subtypes. We tackled this issue at the transcriptional level using early zebrafish embryo as a model. Using morpholino knockdown, we specifically invalidated the zebrafish endogenous RAR subtypes in an in vivo context. After building up a list of RA-responsive genes in the zebrafish gastrula through a whole-transcriptome analysis, we compared this panel of genes with those that still respond to RA in embryos lacking one or another RAR subtype. Our work reveals that RAR subtypes do not have fully redundant functions at the transcriptional level but can transduce RA signal in a subtype-specific fashion. As a result, we define RAR subtype-specific transcriptotypes that correspond to repertoires of genes activated by different RAR subtypes. Finally, we found genes of the RA pathway (cyp26a1, raraa) the regulation of which by RA is highly robust and can even resist the knockdown of all RARs. This suggests that RA-responsive genes are differentially sensitive to alterations in the RA pathway and, in particular, cyp26a1 and raraa are under a high pressure to maintain signaling integrity.
Project description:All-trans-retinoic acid (RA), a potent inducer of cellular differentiation, functions as a ligand for retinoic acid receptors (RAR?, ?, and ?). RARs are activated by ligand binding, which induces transcription of direct genomic targets. However, whether embryonic stem cells respond to RA through routes that do not involve RARs is unknown. Here, we used CRISPR technology to introduce biallelic frameshift mutations in RAR?, RAR?, and RAR?, thereby abrogating all RAR functions in murine embryonic stem cells. We then evaluated RA-responsiveness of the RAR-null cells using RNA-Seq transcriptome analysis. We found that the RAR-null cells display no changes in transcripts in response to RA, demonstrating that the RARs are essential for the regulation of all transcripts in murine embryonic stem cells in response to RA. Our key finding, that in embryonic stem cells the transcriptional effects of RA all depend on RARs, addresses a long-standing topic of discussion in the field of retinoic acid signaling.
Project description:To investigate the mechanisms by which elevated retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) causes insulin resistance, we studied the role of the high-affinity receptor for RBP4, STRA6 (stimulated by retinoic acid), in insulin resistance and obesity. In high-fat-diet-fed and ob/ob mice, STRA6 expression was decreased 70 to 95% in perigonadal adipocytes and both perigonadal and subcutaneous adipose stromovascular cells. To determine whether downregulation of STRA6 in adipocytes contributes to insulin resistance, we generated adipose-Stra6(-/-) mice. Adipose-Stra6(-/-) mice fed chow had decreased body weight, fat mass, leptin levels, insulin levels, and adipocyte number and increased expression of brown fat-selective markers in white adipose tissue. When fed a high-fat diet, these mice had a mild improvement in insulin sensitivity at an age when adiposity was unchanged. STRA6 has been implicated in retinol uptake, but retinol uptake and the expression of retinoid homeostatic genes (encoding retinoic acid receptor ? [RAR?], CYP26A1, and lecithin retinol acyltransferase) were not altered in adipocytes from adipose-Stra6(-/-) mice, indicating that retinoid homeostasis was maintained with STRA6 knockdown. Thus, STRA6 reduction in adipocytes in adipose-Stra6(-/-) mice fed chow resulted in leanness, which may contribute to their increased insulin sensitivity. However, in wild-type mice with high-fat-diet-induced obesity and in ob/ob mice, the marked downregulation of STRA6 in adipocytes and adipose stromovascular cells does not compensate for obesity-associated insulin resistance.
Project description:Vitamin A (retinol) is an essential precursor for the production of retinoic acid (RA), which in turn is a major regulator of gene expression, affecting cell differentiation throughout the body. Understanding how vitamin A nutritional status, as well as therapeutic retinoid treatment, regulates the expression of retinoid homeostatic genes is important for improvement of dietary recommendations and therapeutic strategies using retinoids. This study investigated genes central to processes of retinoid uptake and storage, release to plasma, and oxidation in the liver of rats under steady-state conditions after different exposures to dietary vitamin A (deficient, marginal, adequate, and supplemented) and acutely after administration of a therapeutic dose of all-trans-RA. Over a very wide range of dietary vitamin A, lecithin:retinol acyltransferase (LRAT) as well as multiple cytochrome P-450s (CYP26A1, CYP26B1, and CYP2C22) differed by diet and were highly correlated with one another and with vitamin A status assessed by liver retinol concentration (all correlations, P < 0.05). After acute treatment with RA, the same genes were rapidly and concomitantly induced, preceding retinoic acid receptor (RAR)?, a classical direct target of RA. CYP26A1 mRNA exhibited the greatest dynamic range (change of log 2(6) in 3 h). Moreover, CYP26A1 increased more rapidly in the liver of RA-primed rats than naive rats, evidenced by increased CYP26A1 gene expression and increased conversion of [(3)H]RA to polar metabolites. By in situ hybridization, CYP26A1 mRNA was strongly regulated within hepatocytes, closely resembling retinol-binding protein (RBP)4 in location. Overall, whether RA is produced endogenously from retinol or administered exogenously, changes in retinoid homeostatic gene expression simultaneously favor both retinol esterification and RA oxidation, with CYP26A1 exhibiting the greatest dynamic change.