Project description:The transcription of rRNA is critical to all living cells and is tightly controlled at the level of chromatin structure. Although the widespread adoption of genomic technologies including chromatin immunoprecipitation with massively parallel short-read sequencing (ChIP-seq) has allowed for the interrogation of chromatin structure on a genome-wide scale, until recently rDNA has not been analyzed by this technique. We extended genomic analysis of rDNA to mouse (Mus musculus), in which rDNA is similar in structure but highly divergent in sequence compared with human rDNA. Comparison of rDNA histone marks between mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) and more differentiated mouse cell types revealed differences between pluripotent and differentiated states. We also observed substantial divergence in rDNA histone modification patterns between mESCs and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Surprisingly, we found that the pluripotency factor OCT4 was bound to rDNA in similar patterns in mESCs and hESCs. Extending this analysis, we found that an additional 17 pluripotency-associated factors were bound to rDNA in mESCs, suggesting novel modes of rDNA regulation in pluripotent cells. Taken together, our results provide a detailed view of rDNA chromatin structure in an important model system and enable high-resolution comparison of rDNA regulation between mouse and human.
Project description:Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF)/Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling pathway maintains the stemness and pluripotency of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). Detailed knowledge on key intermediates in this pathway as well as any parallel pathways is largely missing. We initiated our study by investigating the effect of small molecule Curcumin on various signalling pathways essential for self-renewal. Curcumin sustained the LIF independent self-renewal of mESCs and induced pluripotent stem cells (miPSCs) in a STAT3 activity dependent manner. Gene expression analysis showed LIF/STAT3 and redox signaling components to be majorly modulated. Amongst ROS genes, expression of Manganese Superoxide Dismutase (MnSOD) specifically relied on STAT3 signaling as evidenced by STAT3 inhibition and reporter assay. The silencing of MnSOD, but not Cu-ZnSOD expression, resulted in the loss of mESC pluripotency in presence of LIF, and the overexpression of MnSOD is sufficient for maintaining the expression of pluripotent genes in the absence of STAT3 signaling. Finally, we demonstrate MnSOD to stabilize the turnover of pluripotent proteins at the post-translational level by modulating proteasomal activity. In conclusion, our findings unravel a novel role of STAT3 mediated MnSOD in the self-renewal of mESCs.
Project description:Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) poses potential risks to reproduction and development. Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) are ideal models for developmental toxicity testing of environmental contaminants in vitro. However, the mechanism by which PFOS affects early embryonic development is still unclear. In this study, mESCs were exposed to PFOS for 24 h, and then general cytotoxicity and pluripotency were evaluated. MTT assay showed that neither PFOS (0.2 µM, 2 µM, 20 µM, and 200 µM) nor control medium (0.1% DMSO) treatments affected cell viability. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in cell cycle and apoptosis between the PFOS treatment and control groups. However, we found that the mRNA and protein levels of pluripotency markers (Sox2, Nanog) in mESCs were significantly decreased following exposure to PFOS for 24 h, while there were no significant changes in the mRNA and protein levels of Oct4. Accordingly, the expression levels of miR-145 and miR-490-3p, which can regulate Sox2 and Nanog expressions were significantly increased. Chrm2, the host gene of miR-490-3p, was positively associated with miR-490-3p expression after PFOS exposure. Dual luciferase reporter assay suggests that miR-490-3p directly targets Nanog. These results suggest that PFOS can disturb the expression of pluripotency factors in mESCs, while miR-145 and miR-490-3p play key roles in modulating this effect.
Project description:Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) can differentiate into any given cell type and therefore represent a versatile model to study the link between gene regulation and differentiation. To quantitatively assess the dynamics of enhancer activity during the early stages of murine ESC differentiation, we analyzed accessible genomic regions using STARR-seq, a massively parallel reporter assay. This resulted in a genome-wide quantitative map of active mESC enhancers, in pluripotency and during the early stages of differentiation. We find that only a minority of accessible regions is active and that such regions are enriched near promoters, characterized by specific chromatin marks, enriched for distinct sequence motifs, and modeling shows that active regions can be predicted from sequence alone. Regions that change their activity upon retinoic acid-induced differentiation are more prevalent at distal intergenic regions when compared to constitutively active enhancers. Further, analysis of differentially active enhancers verified the contribution of individual TF motifs toward activity and inducibility as well as their role in regulating endogenous genes. Notably, the activity of retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARα) occupied regions can either increase or decrease upon the addition of its ligand, retinoic acid, with the direction of the change correlating with spacing and orientation of the RARα consensus motif and the co-occurrence of additional sequence motifs. Together, our genome-wide enhancer activity map elucidates features associated with enhancer activity levels, identifies regulatory regions disregarded by computational prediction tools, and provides a resource for future studies into regulatory elements in mESCs.
Project description:Background:Self-renewal and pluripotency are considered as unwavering features of embryonic stem cells (ESCs). How ESCs regulate the self-renewal and differentiation is a central question in development and regenerative medicine research. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was identified as a critical regulator in embryonic development, but its role in the maintenance of ESCs is poorly understood. Methods:Here, EGFR was disrupted by its specific inhibitor AG1478 in mouse ESCs (mESCs), and its self-renewal and pluripotency were characterized according to their proliferation, expression of pluripotency markers, embryoid body (EB) formation, and mRNA expression patterns. We also used another EGFR inhibitor (gefitinib) and RNA interference assay to rule out the possibility of non-specific effects of AG1478. Results:EGFR inhibition by AG1478 treatment in mESCs markedly reduced cell proliferation, caused cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase, and altered protein expressions of the cell cycle regulatory genes (CDK2 (decreased 11.3%) and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (decreased 25.2%)). The immunoreactivities and protein expression of pluripotency factors (OCT4 (decreased 26.9%)) also dramatically decreased, while the differentiation related genes (GATA4 (increased 1.6-fold)) were up-regulated in mESCs after EGFR inhibition. Meanwhile, EGFR inhibition in mESCs disrupted EB formation, indicating its impaired pluripotency. Additionally, the effects observed by EGFR inhibition with another inhibitor gefitinib and siRNA were consistent with those observed by AG1478 treatment in mESCs. These effects were manifested in the decreased expression of proliferative and pluripotency-related genes and the increased expression of genes involved in differentiation. Moreover, RNA-seq analysis displayed that transcript profiling was changed significantly after EGFR inhibition by AG1478. A large number of differentially expressed genes were involved in cell cycle, apoptotic process, epigenetic modification, and metabolic process, which were related to self-renewal and pluripotency, confirming that EGFR deficiency impaired self-renewal and pluripotency in mESCs. Conclusions:Taken together, our results demonstrated the importance of EGFR in guarding the stemness of mESCs.
Project description:Nanog expression is heterogeneous and dynamic in embryonic stem cells (ESCs). However, the mechanism for stabilizing pluripotency during the transitions between Nanog(high) and Nanog(low) states is not well understood. Here we report that Dax1 acts in parallel with Nanog to regulate mouse ESC (mESCs) identity. Dax1 stable knockdown mESCs are predisposed towards differentiation but do not lose pluripotency, whereas Dax1 overexpression supports LIF-independent self-renewal. Although partially complementary, Dax1 and Nanog function independently and cannot replace one another. They are both required for full reprogramming to induce pluripotency. Importantly, Dax1 is indispensable for self-renewal of Nanog(low) mESCs. Moreover, we report that Dax1 prevents extra-embryonic endoderm (ExEn) commitment by directly repressing Gata6 transcription. Dax1 may also mediate inhibition of trophectoderm differentiation independent or as a downstream effector of Oct4. These findings establish a basal role of Dax1 in maintaining pluripotency during the state transition of mESCs and somatic cell reprogramming.