Canonical Wnt Pathway Controls mESC Self-Renewal Through Inhibition of Spontaneous Differentiation via ?-Catenin/TCF/LEF Functions.
ABSTRACT: The Wnt/?-catenin signaling pathway is a key regulator of embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal and differentiation. Constitutive activation of this pathway has been shown to increase mouse ESC (mESC) self-renewal and pluripotency gene expression. In this study, we generated a novel ?-catenin knockout model in mESCs to delete putatively functional N-terminally truncated isoforms observed in previous knockout models. We showed that aberrant N-terminally truncated isoforms are not functional in mESCs. In the generated knockout line, we observed that canonical Wnt signaling is not active, as ?-catenin ablation does not alter mESC transcriptional profile in serum/LIF culture conditions. In addition, we observed that Wnt signaling activation represses mESC spontaneous differentiation in a ?-catenin-dependent manner. Finally, ?-catenin (?C) isoforms can rescue ?-catenin knockout self-renewal defects in mESCs cultured in serum-free medium and, albeit transcriptionally silent, cooperate with TCF1 and LEF1 to inhibit mESC spontaneous differentiation in a GSK3-dependent manner.
Project description:Canonical Wnt signalling has been implicated in mouse and human embryonic stem cell (ESC) maintenance; however, its requirement is controversial. ?-catenin is the key component in this highly conserved Wnt pathway, acting as a transcriptional transactivator. However, ?-catenin has additional roles at the plasma membrane regulating cell-cell adhesion, complicating the analyses of cells/tissues lacking ?-catenin. We report here the generation of a Ctnnb1 (?-catenin)-deficient mouse ESC (mESC) line and show that self-renewal is maintained in the absence of ?-catenin. Cell adhesion is partially rescued by plakoglobin upregulation, but fails to be maintained during differentiation. When differentiated as aggregates, wild-type mESCs form descendants of all three germ layers, whereas mesendodermal germ layer formation and neuronal differentiation are defective in Ctnnb1-deficient mESCs. A Tcf/Lef-signalling-defective ?-catenin variant, which re-establishes cadherin-mediated cell adhesion, rescues definitive endoderm and neuroepithelial formation, indicating that the ?-catenin cell-adhesion function is more important than its signalling function for these processes.
Project description:The Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway is a key regulator of embryonic stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. Constitutive activation of this pathway has been shown to significantly increase mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) self-renewal and pluripotency marker expression. In this study, we generated a novel β-catenin knock-out model in mESCs by using CRISPR/Cas9 technology to delete putatively functional N-terminally truncated isoforms observed in previous knock-out models. While we showed that aberrant N-terminally truncated isoforms are not functional in mESCS, we observed that canonical Wnt signalling is not active in mESCs, as β-catenin ablation does not alter mESC transcriptional profile in LIF-enriched culture conditions; on the other hand, Wnt signalling activation represses mESC spontaneous differentiation. We also showed that transcriptionally silent β-catenin (ΔC) isoforms can rescue β-catenin knock-out self-renewal defects in mESCs, cooperating with TCF1 and LEF1 in the inhibition of mESC spontaneous differentiation in a Gsk3 dependent manner.
Project description:Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are pluripotent cells and have the capability for differentiation into any of the three embryonic germ layers. The Wnt/β-Catenin pathway has been shown to play an essential role in ESC differentiation regulation. Activation of β-Catenin by post-translational modification has been extensively studied. However, mechanism(s) of post-transcriptional regulation of β-Catenin are not well defined. In this study, we report an RNA recognition motif-containing protein (RNA binding motif protein 46, RBM46) which regulates the degradation of β-Catenin mRNA. Our results show that Rbm46 is distributed primarily in the cytoplasm of mouse ESCs (mESCs) and is elevated during the process of ESC differentiation. In addition, overexpression of Rbm46 results in differentiation of mESCs into trophectoderm, while knock-down of Rbm46 leads to mESC differentiation into endoderm. β-Catenin, a key effector in the Wnt pathway which has been reported to play a significant role in the regulation of ESC differentiation, is post-transcriptionally regulated by Rbm46. Our study reveals Rbm46 plays a novel role in the regulation of ESC differentiation.
Project description:Self-renewal of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) is essential for maintenance of pluripotency, which is defined as the ability to differentiate into any specialised cell type comprising the adult organism. Understanding the mechanisms that regulate ESC self-renewal and proliferation is required before ESCs can fulfil their potential in regenerative therapies, and murine ESCs (mESCs) have been widely used as a model. Members of the class-IA phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) family of lipid kinases regulate a variety of physiological responses, including cell migration, proliferation and survival. PI3Ks have been reported to regulate both proliferation and self-renewal of mESCs. Here we investigate the contribution of specific class-IA PI3K isoforms to the regulation of mESC fate using small-molecule inhibitors with selectivity for particular class-IA PI3K catalytic isoforms, and siRNA-mediated knockdown. Pharmacological inhibition or knockdown of p110beta promoted mESC differentiation, accompanied by a decrease in expression of Nanog. By comparison, pharmacological inhibition or siRNA-mediated knockdown of p110alpha had no effect on mESC self-renewal per se, but instead appeared to reduce proliferation, which was accompanied by inhibition of leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and insulin-induced PI3K signalling. Our results suggest that PI3Ks contribute to the regulation of both mESC pluripotency and proliferation by differential coupling to selected p110 catalytic isoforms.
Project description:Activation of leukemia inhibitor factor (LIF)-Stat3 or Wnt/?-catenin signaling promotes mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) self-renewal. A myriad of downstream targets have been identified in the individual signal pathways, but their common targets remain largely elusive. In this study, we found that the LIF-Stat3 and Wnt/?-catenin signaling pathways converge on Sp5 to promote mESC self-renewal. Forced Sp5 expression can reproduce partial effects of Wnt/?-catenin signaling but mimics most features of LIF-Stat3 signaling to maintain undifferentiated mESCs. Moreover, Sp5 is able to convert mouse epiblast stem cells into a naïve pluripotent state. Thus, Sp5 is an important component of the regulatory network governing mESC naïve pluripotency.
Project description:Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) are pluripotent and can differentiate into cells belonging to the three germ layers of the embryo. However, mESC pluripotency and genome stability can be compromised in prolonged in vitro culture conditions. Several factors control mESC pluripotency, including Wnt/?-catenin signaling pathway, which is essential for mESC differentiation and proliferation. Here we show that the activity of the Wnt/?-catenin signaling pathway safeguards normal DNA methylation of mESCs. The activity of the pathway is progressively silenced during passages in culture and this results into a loss of the DNA methylation at many imprinting control regions (ICRs), loss of recruitment of chromatin repressors, and activation of retrotransposons, resulting into impaired mESC differentiation. Accordingly, sustained Wnt/?-catenin signaling maintains normal ICR methylation and mESC homeostasis and is a key regulator of genome stability.
Project description:Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) undergo self-renewal in the presence of the cytokine, leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF). Following LIF withdrawal, mESCs differentiate, and this is accompanied by an increase in cell-substratum adhesion and cell spreading. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between cell spreading and mESC differentiation. Using E14 and R1 mESC lines, we have restricted cell spreading in the absence of LIF by either culturing mESCs on chemically defined, weakly adhesive biomaterial substrates, or by manipulating the cytoskeleton. We demonstrate that by restricting the degree of spreading by either method, mESCs can be maintained in an undifferentiated and pluripotent state. Under these conditions, self-renewal occurs without the need for LIF and is independent of nuclear translocation of tyrosine-phosphorylated STAT3 or ?-catenin, which have previously been implicated in self-renewal. We also demonstrate that the effect of restricted cell spreading on mESC self-renewal is not mediated by increased intercellular adhesion, as evidenced by the observations that inhibition of mESC adhesion using a function blocking anti E-cadherin antibody or siRNA do not promote differentiation. These results show that mESC spreading and differentiation are regulated both by LIF and by cell-substratum adhesion, consistent with the hypothesis that cell spreading is the common intermediate step in the regulation of mESC differentiation by either LIF or cell-substratum adhesion.
Project description:The ability of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) to self-renew or differentiate into various cell lineages is regulated by signaling pathways and a core pluripotency transcriptional network (PTN) comprising Nanog, Oct4, and Sox2. The Wnt/?-catenin pathway promotes pluripotency by alleviating T cell factor TCF3-mediated repression of the PTN. However, it has remained unclear how ?-catenin's function as a transcriptional activator with TCF1 influences mESC fate. Here, we show that TCF1-mediated transcription is up-regulated in differentiating mESCs and that chemical inhibition of ?-catenin/TCF1 interaction improves long-term self-renewal and enhances functional pluripotency. Genetic loss of TCF1 inhibited differentiation by delaying exit from pluripotency and conferred a transcriptional profile strikingly reminiscent of self-renewing mESCs with high Nanog expression. Together, our data suggest that ?-catenin's function in regulating mESCs is highly context specific and that its interaction with TCF1 promotes differentiation, further highlighting the need for understanding how its individual protein-protein interactions drive stem cell fate.
Project description:The intricate molecular mechanisms that regulate ESC pluripotency are incompletely understood. Prior research indicated that activation of the Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT3) pathway or inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinase/glycogen synthase kinase 3 (ERK/GSK3) signaling maintains mouse ESC (mESC) pluripotency. Here, we demonstrate that inhibition of protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms maintains mESC pluripotency without the activation of STAT3 or inhibition of ERK/GSK3 signaling pathways. Our analyses revealed that the atypical PKC isoform, PKC? plays an important role in inducing lineage commitment in mESCs through a PKC?-nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells signaling axis. Furthermore, inhibition of PKC isoforms permits derivation of germline-competent ESCs from mouse blastocysts and also facilitates reprogramming of mouse embryonic fibroblasts toward induced pluripotent stem cells. Our results indicate that PKC signaling is critical to balancing ESC self-renewal and lineage commitment.
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.