R-spondin2 promotes hematopoietic differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells by activating TGF beta signaling.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) provide supplies of potential functional blood cells to suffice the clinical needs. However, the underlying mechanism of generating genuine hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and functional blood cells from hPSCs remains largely elusive. METHOD:In this study, we supplied R-spondin2 exogenously during hematopoietic differentiation of hPSCs under various culture conditions and analyzed the production of hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). We further added R-spondin2 at different temporal window to pin down the stage at which R-spondin2 conferred its effects. RNA-SEQ-based gene profiling was applied to analyze genes with significantly altered expression and altered signaling pathways. Finally, megakaryocytic differentiation and platelet generation were determined using HPCs with R-spondin2 treatment. RESULTS:We found that R-spondin2 generated by hematopoiesis-supporting stromal cells significantly enhances hematopoietic differentiation of hPSCs. Supply of R-spondin2 exogenously at the early stage of mesoderm differentiation elevates the generation of APLNR+ cells. Furthermore, early treatment of cells with R-spondin2 enables us to increase the output of hPSC-derived platelet-like particles (PLPs) with intact function. At the mechanistic level, R-spondin2 activates TGF-? signaling to promote the hematopoietic differentiation. CONCLUSIONS:Our results demonstrate that a transient supply of R-spondin2 can efficiently promote hematopoietic development by activating both WNT and TGF-? signaling. R-spondin2 can be therefore used as a powerful tool for large-scale generation of functional hematopoietic progenitors and platelets for translational medicine.
Project description:Advancements in human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) research have potential to revolutionize therapeutic transplantation. It has been demonstrated that transcription factors may play key roles in regulating maintenance, expansion, and differentiation of hPSCs. In addition to its regulatory functions in hematopoiesis and blood-related disorders, the transcription factor RUNX1 is also required for the formation of definitive blood stem cells. In this study, we demonstrated that expression of endogenous RUNX1a, an isoform of RUNX1, parallels with lineage commitment and hematopoietic emergence from hPSCs, including both human embryonic stem cells and inducible pluripotent stem cells. In a defined hematopoietic differentiation system, ectopic expression of RUNX1a facilitates emergence of hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) and positively regulates expression of mesoderm and hematopoietic differentiation-related factors, including Brachyury, KDR, SCL, GATA2, and PU.1. HPCs derived from RUNX1a hPSCs show enhanced expansion ability, and the ex vivo-expanded cells are capable of differentiating into multiple lineages. Expression of RUNX1a in embryoid bodies (EBs) promotes definitive hematopoiesis that generates erythrocytes with ?-globin production. Moreover, HPCs generated from RUNX1a EBs possess ?9-week repopulation ability and show multilineage hematopoietic reconstitution in vivo. Together, our results suggest that RUNX1a facilitates the process of producing therapeutic HPCs from hPSCs.
Project description:Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) generate hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) but fail to engraft xenograft models used to detect adult/somatic hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from donors. Recent progress to derive hPSC-derived HSCs has relied on cell-autonomous forced expression of transcription factors; however, the relationship of bone marrow to transplanted cells remains unknown. Here, we quantified a failure of hPSC-HPCs to survive even 24 hr post transplantation. Across several hPSC-HPC differentiation methodologies, we identified the lack of CXCR4 expression and function. Ectopic CXCR4 conferred CXCL12 ligand-dependent signaling of hPSC-HPCs in biochemical assays and increased migration/chemotaxis, hematopoietic progenitor capacity, and survival and proliferation following in vivo transplantation. This was accompanied by a transcriptional shift of hPSC-HPCs toward somatic/adult sources, but this approach failed to produce long-term HSC xenograft reconstitution. Our results reveal that networks involving CXCR4 should be targeted to generate putative HSCs with in vivo function from hPSCs.
Project description:R-spondin proteins are adult stem cell growth factors capable of stimulating gut development by activating LGR4, 5, and 6 receptors to promote Wnt signaling. Although multiple Wnt ligands and cognate Frizzled receptors are expressed in the ovary, their physiological roles are unclear. Based on bioinformatic and in situ hybridization analyses, we demonstrated the exclusive expression of R-spondin2 in oocytes of ovarian follicles. In cultured somatic cells from preantral follicles, R-spondin2 treatment (ED50: 3 ng/ml) synergized with Wnt3a to stimulate Wnt signaling. In cultured ovarian explants from prepubertal mice containing preantral follicles, treatment with R-spondin2, similar to follicle stimulating hormone, promoted the development of primary follicles to the secondary stage. In vivo administration of an R-spondin agonist stimulated the development of primary follicles to the antral stage in both immature mice and gonadotropin releasing hormone antagonist-treated adult mice. Subsequent treatment with gonadotropins allowed the generation of mature oocytes capable of undergoing early embryonic development and successful pregnancy. Furthermore, R-spondin agonist treatment of immune-deficient mice grafted with human cortical fragments stimulated the development of primary follicles to the secondary stage. Thus, oocyte-derived R-spondin2 is a paracrine factor essential for primary follicle development, and R-spondin agonists could provide a new treatment regimen for infertile women with low responses to the traditional gonadotropin therapy.
Project description:Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) or its reverse process mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) occurs in multiple physiological and pathological processes. However, whether an entire EMT-MET process exists and the potential function during human hematopoiesis remain largely elusive. Utilizing human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-based systems, it is discovered that while EMT occurs at the onset of human hematopoietic differentiation, MET is not detected subsequently during differentiation. Instead, a biphasic activation of mesenchymal genes during hematopoietic differentiation of hPSCs is observed. The expression of mesenchymal genes is upregulated during the fate switch from pluripotency to the mesoderm, sustained at the hemogenic endothelium (HE) stage, and attenuated during hemogenic endothelial cell (HEP) differentiation to hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). A similar expression pattern of mesenchymal genes is also observed during human and murine hematopoietic development in vivo. Wnt signaling and its downstream gene SNAI1 mediate the up-regulation of mesenchymal genes and initiation of mesoderm induction from pluripotency. Inhibition of transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?) signaling and downregulation of HAND1, a downstream gene of TGF-?, are required for the downregulation of mesenchymal genes and the capacity of HEPs to generate HPCs. These results suggest that the biphasic regulation of mesenchymal genes is an essential mechanism during human hematopoiesis.
Project description:In vivo hematopoietic generation occurs in waves of primitive and definitive cell emergence. Differentiation cultures of pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) offer an accessible source of hematopoietic cells for blood-related research and therapeutic strategies. However, despite many approaches, it remains a goal to robustly generate hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells (HP/SCs) in vitro from ESCs. This is partly due to the inability to efficiently promote, enrich, and/or molecularly direct hematopoietic emergence. Here, we use Gata2Venus (G2V) and Ly6a(SCA1)GFP (LG) reporter ESCs, derived from well-characterized mouse models of HP/SC emergence, to show that during in vitro differentiation they report emergent waves of primitive hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), definitive HPCs, and B-lymphoid cell potential. These results, facilitated by enrichment of single and double reporter cells with HPC properties, demonstrate that in vitro ESC differentiation approximates the waves of hematopoietic cell generation found in vivo, thus raising possibilities for enrichment of rare ESC-derived HP/SCs.
Project description:Embryonic hematopoiesis is a complex process. Elucidating the mechanism regulating hematopoietic differentiation from pluripotent stem cells would allow us to establish a strategy to efficiently generate hematopoietic cells. However, the mechanism governing the generation of hematopoietic progenitors from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) remains unknown. Here, on the basis of the emergence of CD43(+) hematopoietic cells from hemogenic endothelial (HE) cells, we demonstrated that VEGF was essential and sufficient, and that bFGF was synergistic with VEGF to specify the HE cells and the subsequent transition into CD43(+) hematopoietic cells. Significantly, we identified TGF? as a novel signal to regulate hematopoietic development, as the TGF? inhibitor SB 431542 significantly promoted the transition from HE cells into CD43(+) hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) during hESC differentiation. By defining these critical signaling factors during hematopoietic differentiation, we can efficiently generate HPCs from hESCs. Our strategy could offer an in vitro model to study early human hematopoietic development.
Project description:Although human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) can theoretically differentiate into any cell type, their ability to produce hematopoietic cells is highly variable from one cell line to another. The underlying mechanisms of this heterogeneity are not clearly understood. Here, using a whole miRNome analysis approach in hPSCs, we discovered that their hematopoietic competency was associated with the expression of several miRNAs and conversely correlated to that of miR-206 specifically. Lentiviral-based miR-206 ectopic expression in H1 hematopoietic competent embryonic stem (ES) cells markedly impaired their differentiation toward the blood lineage. Integrative bioinformatics identified a potential miR-206 target gene network which included hematopoietic master regulators RUNX1 and TAL1. This work sheds light on the critical role of miR-206 in the generation of blood cells off hPSCs. Our results pave the way for future genetic manipulation of hPSCs aimed at increasing their blood regenerative potential and designing better protocols for the generation of bona fide hPSC-derived hematopoietic stem cells.
Project description:Derived from mesoderm precursors, hemangioblasts are bipotential common progenitors of hematopoietic cells and endothelial cells. The regulatory events controlling hematopoietic and endothelial lineage specification are largely unknown, especially in humans. In this study, we establish a serum-free and feeder-free system with a high-efficient embryoid body (EB) generation to investigate the signals that direct differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). Consistent with previous studies, the CD34(+)CD31(+)VE-cadherin(+) (VEC(+)) cells derived from hPSCs contain hematopoietic and endothelial progenitors. In the presence of hematopoietic and endothelial growth factors, some of CD34(+)CD31(+)VEC(+) cells give rise to blast colony-forming cells (BL-CFCs), which have been used to characterize bipotential hemangioblasts. We found that the level of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-?) 1 protein is increased during hPSC differentiation, and that TGF-? signaling has the double-edged effect on hematopoietic and endothelial lineage differentiation in hPSCs. An addition of TGF-? to hPSC differentiation before mesoderm induction promotes the development of mesoderm and the generation of CD34(+)CD31(+)VEC(+) cells. An addition of TGF-? inhibitor, SB431542, before mesoderm induction downregulates the expression of mesodermal markers and reduces the number of CD34(+)CD31(+)VEC(+) progenitor cells. However, inhibition of TGF-? signaling after mesoderm induction increases CD34(+)CD31(+)VEC(+) progenitors and BL-CFCs. These data provide evidence that a balance of positive and negative effects of TGF-? signaling at the appropriate timing is critical, and potential means to improve hematopoiesis and vasculogenesis from hPSCs.
Project description:Cell therapy using T cells has revolutionized medical care in recent years but limitations are associated with the difficulty of genome editing of the cells, the production of a sufficient number of cells and standardization of the product. Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) can self-renew and differentiate into T cells to provide a standardized homogenous product of defined origin in indefinite quantity, therefore they are of great potential to alleviate limitations of therapeutic T cell production. The differentiation of hPSCs takes place in two steps: first the induction of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs), then the induction of lymphopoiesis by Notch signaling. However, the differentiation of T cells from hPSCs can be difficult and lack reproducibility. One parameter that needs to be better assessed is the potential of DLL1 vs. DLL4 ligands of the Notch pathway to induce T cells. In addition, culture of hPSCs is labor-intensive and not compatible with GMP production, especially when they are cultured on feeder cells. Thus, the definition of a robust GMP-compatible differentiation protocol from hPSCs cultured in feeder-free conditions would increase the accessibility to off-the-shelf hematopoietic and T cell progenitors derived from hPSCs. In this article, we describe an efficient, rapid and reproducible protocol for the generation of hematopoietic and T cell progenitors in two steps: (1) generation of HSPCs from embryoid bodies (EB) in serum free medium and GMP-compatible feeder-free systems, (2) directed differentiation of hPSC-derived HSPCs into T-cell progenitors in the presence of bone marrow stromal cells expressing Notch-ligands OP9-DLL1 vs. OP9-DLL4.
Project description:Current treatments that use hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) transplantation in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients substantially reduce the risk of relapse, but are limited by the availability of immune compatible healthy HPCs. Although cellular reprogramming has the potential to provide a novel autologous source of HPCs for transplantation, the applicability of this technology toward the derivation of healthy autologous hematopoietic cells devoid of patient-specific leukemic aberrations from AML patients must first be evaluated. Here, we report the generation of human AML patient-specific hematopoietic progenitors that are capable of normal in vitro differentiation to myeloid lineages and are devoid of leukemia-associated aberration found in matched patient bone marrow. Skin fibroblasts were obtained from AML patients whose leukemic cells possessed a distinct, leukemia-associated aberration, and used to create AML patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Through hematopoietic differentiation of AML patient iPSCs, coupled with cytogenetic interrogation, we reveal that AML patient-specific HPCs possess normal progenitor capacity and are devoid of leukemia-associated mutations. Importantly, in rare patient skin samples that give rise to mosaic fibroblast cultures that continue to carry leukemia-associated mutations; healthy hematopoietic progenitors can also be generated via reprogramming selection. Our findings provide the proof of principle that cellular reprogramming can be applied on a personalized basis to generate healthy HPCs from AML patients, and should further motivate advances toward creating transplantable hematopoietic stem cells for autologous AML therapy.