Project description:DNA methylation patterns change dynamically during mammalian development and lineage specification, yet scarce information is available about how DNA methylation affects gene expression profiles upon differentiation. Here we determine genome-wide transcription profiles during undirected differentiation of severely hypomethylated (Dnmt1?/?) embryonic stem cells (ESCs) as well as ESCs completely devoid of DNA methylation (Dnmt1?/?;Dnmt3a?/?;Dnmt3b?/? or TKO) and assay their potential to transit in and out of the ESC state. We find that the expression of only few genes mainly associated with germ line function and the X chromosome is affected in undifferentiated TKO ESCs. Upon initial differentiation as embryoid bodies (EBs) wild type, Dnmt1?/? and TKO cells downregulate pluripotency associated genes and upregulate lineage specific genes, but their transcription profiles progressively diverge upon prolonged EB culture. While Oct4 protein levels are completely and homogeneously suppressed, transcription of Oct4 and Nanog is not completely silenced even at late stages in both Dnmt1?/? and TKO EBs. Despite late wild type and Dnmt1?/? EBs showing a much higher degree of concordant expression, after EB dissociation and replating under pluripotency promoting conditions both Dnmt1?/? and TKO cells, but not wild type cells rapidly revert to expression profiles typical of undifferentiated ESCs. Thus, while DNA methylation seems not to be critical for initial activation of differentiation programs, it is crucial for permanent restriction of developmental fate during differentiation.
Project description:DNA methylation is known to regulate cell differentiation and neuronal function in vivo. Here we examined whether deficiency of a de novo DNA methyltransferase, Dnmt3a, affects in vitro differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) to neuronal and glial cell lineages. Early-passage neural stem cells (NSCs) derived from Dnmt3a-deficient ESCs exhibited a moderate phenotype in precocious glial differentiation compared with wild-type counterparts. However, successive passaging to passage 6 (P6), when wild-type NSCs become gliogenic, revealed a robust phenotype of precocious astrocyte and oligodendrocyte differentiation in Dnmt3a(-/-) NSCs, consistent with our previous findings in the more severely hypomethylated Dnmt1(-/-) NSCs. Mass spectrometric analysis revealed that total levels of methylcytosine in Dnmt3a(-/-) NSCs at P6 were globally hypomethylated. Moreover, the Dnmt3a(-/-) NSC proliferation rate was significantly increased compared with control from P6 onward. Thus, our work revealed a novel role for Dnmt3a in regulating both the timing of neural cell differentiation and the cell proliferation in the paradigm of mESC-derived-NSCs.
Project description:The role of striatin interacting protein 2 (Strip2) in differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) is still under debate. Strip2-silenced murine (KD) ESCs were differentiated for 4, 8, 12, and 16 days. We show that Strip2 is distributed in the perinucleus or nuclei of wild-type (WT) undifferentiated ESCs, but is localized in high-density nuclear bodies in differentiated cells. CellNet analysis of microarray gene expression data for the KD and scrambled control (SCR) embryoid bodies (EBs), as well as immunostainings of key pluripotent factors, demonstrated that differentiation of KD ESCs is repressed. This occurs even in 16-day-old EBs, which possessed a high tumorigenic potential. Correlated with very high expression levels of epigenetic regulator genes, Hat1 and Dnmt3, enzymatic activities of the histone acetyltransferase type B (Hat1) and DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase 3 beta (Dnmt3b) were higher in differentiated 16-day-old KD EBs than in SCR or WT EBs. The expression levels of let-7, 290, and 302 microRNA families were opposed in KD ESCs, while KD EBs had levels comparable to WT and SCR ESCs during differentiation. Strip2 is critical for the regular differentiation of ESCs. Moreover, Strip2 deficient ESCs showed a dysregulation of epigenetic regulators and microRNAs regulating pluripotency.
Project description:The cytoskeletal filament vimentin is inherent to the endothelial phenotype and is critical for the proper function of endothelial cells in adult mice. It is unclear, however, if the presence of vimentin is necessary during differentiation to the endothelial phenotype. Here we evaluated gene and protein expression of differentiating wild type embryonic stem cells (WT ESCs) and vimentin knockout embryonic stem cells (VIM -/- ESCs) using embryoid bodies (EBs) formed from both cell types. Over seven days of differentiation VIM -/- EBs had altered morphology compared to WT EBs, with a rippled outer surface and a smaller size due to decreased proliferation. Gene expression of pluripotency markers decreased similarly for EBs of both cell types; however, VIM -/- EBs had impaired differentiation towards the endothelial phenotype. This was quantified with decreased expression of markers along the specification pathway, specifically the early mesodermal marker Brachy-T, the lateral plate mesodermal marker FLK1, and the endothelial-specific markers TIE2, PECAM, and VE-CADHERIN. Taken together, these results indicate that the absence of vimentin impairs spontaneous differentiation of ESCs to the endothelial phenotype in vitro.
Project description:Pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are known to possess a relatively open chromatin structure; yet, despite efforts to characterize the chromatin signatures of ESCs, the role of chromatin compaction in stem cell fate and function remains elusive. Linker histone H1 is important for higher-order chromatin folding and is essential for mammalian embryogenesis. To investigate the role of H1 and chromatin compaction in stem cell pluripotency and differentiation, we examine the differentiation of embryonic stem cells that are depleted of multiple H1 subtypes. H1c/H1d/H1e triple null ESCs are more resistant to spontaneous differentiation in adherent monolayer culture upon removal of leukemia inhibitory factor. Similarly, the majority of the triple-H1 null embryoid bodies (EBs) lack morphological structures representing the three germ layers and retain gene expression signatures characteristic of undifferentiated ESCs. Furthermore, upon neural differentiation of EBs, triple-H1 null cell cultures are deficient in neurite outgrowth and lack efficient activation of neural markers. Finally, we discover that triple-H1 null embryos and EBs fail to fully repress the expression of the pluripotency genes in comparison with wild-type controls and that H1 depletion impairs DNA methylation and changes of histone marks at promoter regions necessary for efficiently silencing pluripotency gene Oct4 during stem cell differentiation and embryogenesis. In summary, we demonstrate that H1 plays a critical role in pluripotent stem cell differentiation, and our results suggest that H1 and chromatin compaction may mediate pluripotent stem cell differentiation through epigenetic repression of the pluripotency genes.
Project description:Calreticulin, a multifunctional endoplasmic reticulum resident protein, is required for TGF-?-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and subsequent cardiomyogenesis. Using embryoid bodies (EBs) derived from calreticulin-null and wild-type (WT) embryonic stem cells (ESCs), we show that expression of EMT and cardiac differentiation markers is induced during differentiation of WT EBs. This induction is inhibited in the absence of calreticulin and can be mimicked by inhibiting TGF-? signaling in WT cells. The presence of calreticulin in WT cells permits TGF-?-mediated signaling via AKT/GSK3? and promotes repression of E-cadherin by SNAIL2/SLUG. This is paralleled by induction of N-cadherin in a process known as the cadherin switch. We show that regulated Ca2+ signaling between calreticulin and calcineurin is critical for the unabated TGF-? signaling that is necessary for the exit from pluripotency and the cadherin switch during EMT. Calreticulin is thus a key mediator of TGF-?-induced commencement of cardiomyogenesis in mouse ESCs.
Project description:The pluripotency gene Oct4 encodes a key transcription factor that maintains self-renewal of embryonic stem cell (ESC) and is downregulated upon differentiation of ESCs and silenced in somatic cells. A combination of cis elements, transcription factors, and epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation, mediates Oct4 gene expression. Here, we show that the orphan nuclear receptor germ cell nuclear factor (GCNF) initiates Oct4 repression and DNA methylation by the differential recruitment of methyl-CpG binding domain (MBD) and DNA methyltransferases (Dnmts) to the Oct4 promoter. When compared with wild-type ESCs and gastrulating embryos, Oct4 repression is lost and its proximal promoter is significantly hypomethylated in retinoic acid (RA)-differentiated GCNF(-/-) ESCs and GCNF(-/-) embryos. Efforts to characterize mediators of GCNF's repressive function and DNA methylation of the Oct4 promoter identified MBD3, MBD2, and de novo Dnmts as GCNF interacting factors. Upon differentiation, endogenous GCNF binds to the Oct4 proximal promoter and differentially recruits MBD3 and MBD2 as well as Dnmt3A. In differentiated GCNF(-/-) ESCs, recruitment of MBD3 and MBD2 as well as Dnmt3A to Oct4 promoter is lost and subsequently Oct4 repression and DNA methylation failed to occur. Hypomethylation of the Oct4 promoter is also observed in RA-differentiated MBD3(-/-) and Dnmt3A(-/-) ESCs, but not in MBD2(-/-) and Dnmt3B(-/-) ESCs. Thus, recruitment of MBD3, MBD2, and Dnmt3A by GCNF links two events: gene-specific repression and DNA methylation, which occur differentially at the Oct4 promoter. GCNF initiates the repression and epigenetic modification of Oct4 gene during ESC differentiation.
Project description:The nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex plays an important role in gene expression regulation, stem cell self-renewal, and lineage commitment. However, little is known about the dynamics of NuRD during cellular differentiation. Here, we study these dynamics using genome-wide profiling and quantitative interaction proteomics in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and neural progenitor cells (NPCs). We find that the genomic targets of NuRD are highly dynamic during differentiation, with most binding occurring at cell-type specific promoters and enhancers. We identify ZFP296 as an ESC-specific NuRD interactor that also interacts with the SIN3A complex. ChIP-sequencing in Zfp296 knockout (KO) ESCs reveals decreased NuRD binding both genome-wide and at ZFP296 binding sites, although this has little effect on the transcriptome. Nevertheless, Zfp296 KO ESCs exhibit delayed induction of lineage-specific markers upon differentiation to embryoid bodies. In summary, we identify an ESC-specific NuRD-interacting protein which regulates genome-wide NuRD binding and cellular differentiation.
Project description:DNA methylation is an important epigenetic mechanism, affecting normal development and playing a key role in reprogramming epigenomes during stem cell derivation. Here we report on DNA methylation patterns in native monkey embryonic stem cells (ESCs), fibroblasts, and ESCs generated through somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), identifying and comparing epigenome programming and reprogramming. We characterize hundreds of regions that are hyper- or hypomethylated in fibroblasts compared to native ESCs and show that these are conserved in human cells and tissues. Remarkably, the vast majority of these regions are reprogrammed in SCNT ESCs, leading to almost perfect correlation between the epigenomic profiles of the native and reprogrammed lines. At least 58% of these changes are correlated in cis to transcription changes, Polycomb Repressive Complex-2 occupancy, or binding by the CTCF insulator. We also show that while epigenomic reprogramming is extensive and globally accurate, the efficiency of adding and stripping DNA methylation during reprogramming is regionally variable. In several cases, this variability results in regions that remain methylated in a fibroblast-like pattern even after reprogramming.
Project description:Mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and they exist in different states of pluripotency-naïve and primed states. Pten is a well-known tumor suppressor. Here, we generated Pten-/- mouse ESCs with the CRISPR-Cas9 system and verified that Pten-/- ESCs maintained naïve pluripotency by blocking Gsk3? activity. Serum/LIF and 2i (MAPK and GSK3 inhibitors) conditions are commonly used for ESC maintenance. We show that the Pten-inhibitor SF1670 contributed to sustaining mouse ESCs and that Pten activation by the S380A, T382A, and T383A mutations (Pten-A3) suppressed the pluripotency of ESCs. The in vivo teratoma formation ability of SF1670-treated ESCs increased, while the Pten-A3 mutations suppressed teratoma formation. Furthermore, the embryoid bodies derived from Pten-deficient ESCs or SF1670-treated wild-type ESCs showed greater expression of ectoderm and pluripotency markers. These results suggest that Pten-mediated Gsk3? modulates the naïve pluripotency of ESCs and that Pten ablation regulates the lineage-specific differentiation.