The mTORC1-eIF4F axis controls paused pluripotency
ABSTRACT: Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) can self-renew indefinitely and maintain pluripotency. Inhibition of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) by the kinase inhibitor INK128 is known to induce paused pluripotency in mESCs cultured with traditional serum/LIF medium (SL), but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we demonstrate that mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) but not complex 2 (mTORC2) mediates mTOR-inhibition induced paused pluripotency in cells grown in both SL and 2iL medium (GSK3- and MEK-inhibitors and LIF). We also show that mTORC1 regulates self-renewal in both conditions mainly through eIF4F-mediated translation initiation that targets mRNAs of both cytosolic and mitochondrial ribosome subunits. Moreover, inhibition of mitochondrial translation is sufficient to induce paused pluripotency. Interestingly, eIF4F also regulates maintenance of pluripotency in an mTORC1-independent but MEK/ERK-dependent manner in SL, indicating that translation of pluripotency genes is controlled differently in SL and 2iL. Our study reveals a detailed picture of how mTOR governs self-renewal in mESCs and uncovers a context-dependent function of eIF4F in pluripotency regulation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Enhancers are distal regulators of gene expression that shape cell identity and control cell fate transitions. In mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), the pluripotency network is maintained by the function of a complex network of enhancers, that are drastically altered upon differentiation. Genome-wide chromatin accessibility and histone modification assays are commonly used as a proxy for identifying putative enhancers and for describing their activity levels and dynamics. RESULTS:Here, we applied STARR-seq, a genome-wide plasmid-based assay, as a read-out for the enhancer landscape in "ground-state" (2i+LIF; 2iL) and "metastable" (serum+LIF; SL) mESCs. This analysis reveals that active STARR-seq loci show modest overlap with enhancer locations derived from peak calling of ChIP-seq libraries for common enhancer marks. We unveil ZIC3-bound loci with significant STARR-seq activity in SL-ESCs. Knock-out of Zic3 removes STARR-seq activity only in SL-ESCs and increases their propensity to differentiate towards the endodermal fate. STARR-seq also reveals enhancers that are not accessible, masked by a repressive chromatin signature. We describe a class of dormant, p53 bound enhancers that gain H3K27ac under specific conditions, such as after treatment with Nocodazol, or transiently during reprogramming from fibroblasts to pluripotency. CONCLUSIONS:In conclusion, loci identified as active by STARR-seq often overlap with those identified by chromatin accessibility and active epigenetic marking, yet a significant fraction is epigenetically repressed or display condition-specific enhancer activity.
Project description:Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), derived from pre-implantation blastocyst cells, can be maintained in vitro in defined N2B27 medium supplemented with two chemical inhibitors for GSK3 and MEK (2i) and the cytokine leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), which act synergistically to promote self-renewal and pluripotency. Many efforts have been devoted to identify genes that promote exit from the pluripotent state and the transition to a primed state of differentiation. One of the first identified players in this process was the Wnt/b-catenin effector TCF7L1 (previously referred to as TCF3), belonging to the family of four TCF/LEF transcription factors, which acts as pro-differentiation factor by repressing pluripotency genes. Of note, there is little evidence that the genetic abrogation of the mechanisms required for the exit from the pluripotent state is sufficient to enable self-renewal in the absence of 2iL. Here, we found that complete loss-of-function of Tcf7, Lef1, Tcf7l1 and Tcf7l2, the genes encoding for the four TCF/LEF transcription factors, (refered to as qKO) allows mESCs to become fully 2iL-independent and to propagate in basal N2B27. To understand the genetic program that allows qKO cells to achieve 2iL-independent self-renewal, we performed RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) of qKO and wild type mESCs.
Project description:Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), derived from pre-implantation blastocyst cells, can be maintained in vitro in defined N2B27 medium supplemented with two chemical inhibitors for GSK3 and MEK (2i) and the cytokine leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), which act synergistically to promote self-renewal and pluripotency. Many efforts have been devoted to identify genes that promote exit from the pluripotent state and the transition to a primed state of differentiation. One of the first identified players in this process was the Wnt/b-catenin effector TCF7L1 (previously referred to as TCF3), belonging to the family of four TCF/LEF transcription factors, which acts as pro-differentiation factor by repressing pluripotency genes. Of note, there is little evidence that the genetic abrogation of the mechanisms required for the exit from the pluripotent state is sufficient to enable self-renewal in the absence of 2iL. Here, we found that complete loss-of-function of Tcf7, Lef1, Tcf7l1 and Tcf7l2, the genes encoding for the four TCF/LEF transcription factors, (refered to as qKO) allows mESCs to become fully 2iL-independent and to propagate in basal N2B27. In addition to RNA-seq data deposited under accession number E-MTAB-10564, chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by deep DNA sequencing (ChIP-seq) has been performed in CHIR-stimulated mESCs. Here, the DNA binding landscape of β-catenin has been analyzed to assess its possible connection to TCF/LEF-mediated pluripotency.
Project description:Ternary complex (TC) and eIF4F complex assembly are the two major rate-limiting steps in translation initiation regulated by eIF2? phosphorylation and the mTOR/4E-BP pathway, respectively. How TC and eIF4F assembly are coordinated, however, remains largely unknown. We show that mTOR suppresses translation of mRNAs activated under short-term stress wherein TC recycling is attenuated by eIF2? phosphorylation. During acute nutrient or growth factor stimulation, mTORC1 induces eIF2? phosphorylation and recruitment of NCK1 to eIF2, decreases eIF2? phosphorylation and bolsters TC recycling. Accordingly, eIF2? mediates the effect of mTORC1 on protein synthesis and proliferation. In addition, we demonstrate a formerly undocumented role for CK2 in regulation of translation initiation, whereby CK2 stimulates phosphorylation of eIF2? and simultaneously bolsters eIF4F complex assembly via the mTORC1/4E-BP pathway. These findings imply a previously unrecognized mode of translation regulation, whereby mTORC1 and CK2 coordinate TC and eIF4F complex assembly to stimulate cell proliferation.
Project description:Mouse embryonic stem cells cultured with MEK (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase) and GSK3 (glycogen synthase kinase 3) inhibitors (2i) more closely resemble the inner cell mass of preimplantation blastocysts than those cultured with SL [serum/leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF)]. The transcriptional mechanisms governing this pluripotent ground state are unresolved. Release of promoter-proximal paused RNA polymerase II (Pol2) is a multistep process necessary for pluripotency and cell cycle gene transcription in SL. We show that ?-catenin, stabilized by GSK3 inhibition in medium with 2i, supplies transcriptional coregulators at pluripotency loci. This selectively strengthens pluripotency loci and renders them addicted to transcription initiation for productive gene body elongation in detriment to Pol2 pause release. By contrast, cell cycle genes are not bound by ?-catenin, and proliferation/self-renewal remains tightly controlled by Pol2 pause release under 2i conditions. Our findings explain how pluripotency is reinforced in the ground state and also provide a general model for transcriptional resilience/adaptation upon network perturbation in other contexts.
Project description:Translational control plays a central role in regulation of gene expression and can lead to significant divergence between mRNA- and protein-abundance. Here, we used genome-wide approaches combined with time-course analysis to measure the mRNA-abundance, mRNA-translation rate and protein expression during the transition of naïve-to-primed mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs). We find that the ground state ESCs cultured with GSK3-, MEK-inhibitors and LIF (2iL) display higher ribosome density on a selective set of mRNAs. This set of mRNAs undergo strong translational buffering to maintain stable protein expression levels in 2iL-ESCs. Importantly, we show that the global alteration of cellular proteome during the transition of naïve-to-primed pluripotency is largely accompanied by transcriptional rewiring. Thus, we provide a comprehensive and detailed overview of the global changes in gene expression in different states of ESCs and dissect the relative contributions of mRNA-transcription, translation and regulation of protein stability in controlling protein abundance.
Project description:It has been well established that leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) is essential for maintaining naïve pluripotency of embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Oncostatin M (OSM) is a member of the IL-6 family of cytokines which share gp130 as a receptor subunit, and the OSM-gp130 complex can recruit either LIF receptor β or OSM receptor β. Here we show that OSM can completely replace LIF to maintain naïve pluripotency of ESCs. Mouse ESCs (mESCs) cultured in the presence of LIF or OSM not only express pluripotency genes at similar levels but also exhibit the same developmental pluripotency as evidenced by the generation of germline competent chimeras, supporting previous findings. Moreover, we demonstrate by tetraploid embryo complementation assay, the most stringent functional test of authentic pluripotency that mESCs cultured in OSM produce viable all-ESC pups. Furthermore, telomere length and telomerase activity, which are also crucial for unlimited self-renewal and genomic stability of mESCs, do not differ in mESCs cultured under OSM or LIF. The transcriptome of mESCs cultured in OSM overall is very similar to that of LIF, and OSM activates Stat3 signaling pathway, like LIF. Additionally, OSM upregulates pentose and glucuronate interconversion, ascorbate and aldarate metabolism, and steroid and retinol metabolic pathways. Although the significance of these pathways remains to be determined, our data shows that OSM can maintain naïve pluripotent stem cells in the absence of LIF.
Project description:The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a kinase whose activation is associated with poor prognosis in pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). These and other findings have prompted diverse strategies for targeting mTOR signaling in B-ALL and other B-cell malignancies. In cellular models of Philadelphia Chromosome-positive (Ph+) B-ALL, mTOR kinase inhibitors (TOR-KIs) that inhibit both mTOR-complex-1 (mTORC1) and mTOR-complex-2 (mTORC2) enhance the cytotoxicity of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) such as dasatinib. However, TOR-KIs have not shown substantial efficacy at tolerated doses in blood cancer clinical trials. Selective inhibition of mTORC1 or downstream effectors provides alternative strategies that may improve selectivity towards leukemia cells. Of particular interest is the eukaryotic initiation factor 4F (eIF4F) complex that mediates cap-dependent translation. Here we use novel chemical and genetic approaches to show that selective targeting of either mTORC1 kinase activity or components of the eIF4F complex sensitizes murine BCR-ABL-dependent pre-B leukemia cells to dasatinib. SBI-756, a small molecule inhibitor of eIF4F assembly, sensitizes human Ph+ and Ph-like B-ALL cells to dasatinib cytotoxicity without affecting survival of T lymphocytes or natural killer cells. These findings support the further evaluation of eIF4F-targeted molecules in combination therapies with TKIs in B-ALL and other blood cancers.
Project description:Activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) by leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) is required for maintaining self-renewal and pluripotency of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). Here, we have confirmed transcription factor Forkhead Box m1 (Foxm1) as a LIF/Stat3 downstream target that mediates LIF/Stat3-dependent mESC self-renewal. The expression of Foxm1 relies on LIF signaling and is stimulated by Stat3 directly in mESCs. The knockdown of Foxm1 results in the loss of mESC pluripotency in the presence of LIF, and the overexpression of Foxm1 alone maintains mESC pluripotency in the absence of LIF and feeder layers, indicating that Foxm1 is a mediator of LIF/Stat3-dependent maintenance of pluripotency in mESCs. Furthermore, the inhibition of Foxm1 expression prevents the reprogramming of mouse embryonic fibroblasts to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), suggesting that Foxm1 is essential for the reprogramming of somatic cells into iPSCs. Our results reveal an essential function of Foxm1 in the LIF/Stat3-mediated mESC self-renewal and the generation of iPSCs.
Project description:The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a central regulator of cellular proliferation and metabolism. Depending on its binding partners, mTOR is at the core of 2 complexes that either promote protein biosynthesis (mTOR complex 1; mTORC1) or provide survival and proliferation signals (mTORC2). Protein biosynthesis downstream of mTORC1 plays an important role in MYC-driven oncogenesis with translation inhibitors garnering increasing therapeutic attention. The germinal center B-cell oncogene <i>UCHL1</i> encodes a deubiquitinating enzyme that regulates the balance between mTOR complexes by disrupting mTORC1 and promoting mTORC2 assembly. While supporting mTORC2-dependent growth and survival signals may contribute to its role in cancer, the suppression of mTORC1 activity is enigmatic, as its phosphorylation of its substrate 4EBP1 promotes protein biosynthesis. To address this, we used proximity-based proteomics to identify molecular complexes with which UCH-L1 associates in malignant B cells. We identified a novel association of UCH-L1 with the translation initiation complex eIF4F, the target of 4EBP1. UCH-L1 associates with and promotes the assembly of eIF4F and stimulates protein synthesis through a mechanism that requires its catalytic activity. Because of the importance of mTOR in MYC-driven oncogenesis, we used novel mutant <i>Uchl1</i> transgenic mice and found that catalytic activity is required for its acceleration of lymphoma in the Eμ-myc model. Further, we demonstrate that mice lacking UCH-L1 are resistant to MYC-induced lymphomas. We conclude that UCH-L1 bypasses the need for mTORC1-dependent protein synthesis by directly promoting translation initiation, and that this mechanism may be essential for MYC in B-cell malignancy.