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1.  Human embryonic stem cells do not change their X-inactivation status during differentiation 
Cell reports  2016;18(1):54-67.
Applications of ESCs require faithful chromatin changes during differentiation but the fate of each X-chromosome-state in differentiating ESCs is unclear. Female human ESC-lines either carry two active X-chromosomes (XaXa), an Xa and inactive-X-chromosome with or without XIST-RNA-coating (XiXIST+Xa;XiXa), or an Xa and an eroded-Xi (XeXa) where the Xi no longer expresses XIST-RNA and has partially reactivated. Here, we established XiXa, XeXa, and XaXa ESC-lines and followed their X-chromosome-state during differentiation. Surprisingly, we found that the X-state pre-existing in primed ESCs is maintained in differentiated cells. Consequently, differentiated XeXa and XaXa cells lacked XIST, did not initiate X-inactivation, and displayed higher X-linked gene-expression than XiXa cells. These results demonstrate that X-chromosome-dosage-compensation is not required for ESC differentiation. Our data imply that XiXIST+Xa ESCs are most suited for downstream applications and show that all other X-states are abnormal byproducts of our ESC-derivation and propagation methods.
Graphical Abstract
PMCID: PMC5214931  PMID: 27989715
2.  Long-range chromatin contacts in embryonic stem cells reveal a role for pluripotency factors and Polycomb proteins in genome organization 
Cell stem cell  2013;13(5):10.1016/j.stem.2013.08.013.
The relationship between three-dimensional organization of the genome and gene-regulatory networks is poorly understood. Here, we examined long-range chromatin interactions genome-wide in embryonic stem cells (ESCs), iPSCs, and fibroblasts, and uncover a pluripotency-specific genome organization that is gradually re-established during reprogramming. Our data confirm that long-range chromatin interactions are primarily associated with the spatial segregation of open and closed chromatin, defining overall chromosome conformation. Additionally, we identified two further levels of genome organization in ESCs characterized by co-localization of regions with high pluripotency factor occupancy and strong enrichment for Polycomb proteins/H3K27me3, respectively. Underlining the independence of these networks and their functional relevance for genome organization, loss of the Polycomb protein Eed diminishes interactions between Polycomb-regulated regions without altering overarching chromosome conformation. Together, our data highlight a pluripotency-specific genome organization in which Nanog and H3K27me3 occupy distinct nuclear spaces and reveal a role for cell type-specific gene-regulatory networks in genome organization.
PMCID: PMC3825755  PMID: 24035354
3.  Proteomic and genomic approaches reveal critical functions of H3K9 methylation and Heterochromatin Protein-1γ in reprogramming to pluripotency 
Nature cell biology  2013;15(7):872-882.
Reprogramming of somatic cells into iPSCs involves a dramatic reorganization of chromatin. To identify posttranslational histone modifications that change in global abundance during this process, we have applied a quantitative mass-spectrometry-based approach. We found that iPSCs, compared to both the starting fibroblasts and a late reprogramming intermediate (pre-iPSCs), are enriched for histone modifications associated with active chromatin, and depleted for marks of transcriptional elongation and a subset of repressive modifications including H3K9me2/me3. Dissecting the contribution of H3K9methylation to reprogramming, we show that the H3K9methyltransferases Ehmt1, Ehmt2, and Setdb1 regulate global H3K9me2/me3 levels and that their depletion increases iPSC formation from both fibroblasts and pre-iPSCs. Similarly, inhibition of heterochromatin-protein-1γ (Cbx3), a protein known to recognize H3K9methylation, enhances reprogramming. Genome-wide location analysis revealed that Cbx3 predominantly binds active genes in both pre-iPSCs and pluripotent cells but with a strikingly different distribution: in pre-iPSCs, but not in ESCs, Cbx3 associates with active transcriptional start sites, suggesting a developmentally-regulated role for Cbx3 in transcriptional activation. Despite largely non-overlapping functions and the association of Cbx3 with active transcription, the H3K9methyltransferases and Cbx3 both inhibit reprogramming by repressing the pluripotency factor Nanog. Together, our findings demonstrate that Cbx3 and H3K9methylation restrict late reprogramming events, and suggest that a dramatic change in global chromatin character is an epigenetic roadblock for reprogramming.
PMCID: PMC3733997  PMID: 23748610
4.  Mechanistic Insights into Reprogramming to Induced Pluripotency 
Journal of cellular physiology  2011;226(4):868-878.
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be generated from various embryonic or adult cell types upon expression of a set of few transcription factors, most commonly consisting of Oct4, Sox2, c-Myc and Klf4, following a strategy originally published by Takahashi and Yamanaka in 2006 (Takahashi and Yamanaka, 2006). Since iPS cells are molecularly and functionally similar to embryonic stem (ES) cells, they provide a source of patient-specific pluripotent cells for regenerative medicine and disease modeling, and therefore have generated enormous scientific and public interest. The generation of iPS cells also presents a powerful tool for dissecting mechanisms that stabilize the differentiated state and are required for the establishment of pluripotency. In this review, we discuss our current view of the molecular mechanisms underlying transcription factor-mediated reprogramming to induced pluripotency.
PMCID: PMC3077549  PMID: 20945378
5.  Proteomic and protein interaction network analysis of human T lymphocytes during cell-cycle entry 
Proteomic analysis of T cells emerging from quiescence identifies dynamic network-level changes in key cellular processes. Disruption of two such processes, ribosome biogenesis and RNA splicing, reveals that the programs controlling cell growth and cell-cycle entry are separable.
The authors conduct a proteomic and protein interaction network analysis of human T lymphocytes during entry into the first cell cycle.Inhibiting the induction of eIF6 (60S ribosome biogenesis) causes T cells to enter the cell cycle without growing in size.Inhibiting the induction of SF3B2/SF3B4 (U2/U12-dependent RNA splicing) allows an increase in cell size without entering the cell cycle.These results provide proof of principle that blastogenesis and proliferation programs are separable in primary human T cells.
Regulating the transition of cells such as T lymphocytes from quiescence (G0) into an activated, proliferating state involves initiation of cellular programs resulting in entry into the cell cycle (proliferation), the growth cycle (blastogenesis, cell size) and effector (functional) activation. We show the first proteomic analysis of protein interaction networks activated during entry into the first cell cycle from G0. We also provide proof of principle that blastogenesis and proliferation programs are separable in primary human T cells. We employed a proteomic profiling method to identify large-scale changes in chromatin/nuclear matrix-bound and unbound proteins in human T lymphocytes during the transition from G0 into the first cell cycle and mapped them to form functionally annotated, dynamic protein interaction networks. Inhibiting the induction of two proteins involved in two of the most significantly upregulated cellular processes, ribosome biogenesis (eIF6) and hnRNA splicing (SF3B2/SF3B4), showed, respectively, that human T cells can enter the cell cycle without growing in size, or increase in size without entering the cell cycle.
PMCID: PMC3321526  PMID: 22415777
cell cycle; cell size; mass spectrometry; proteomics; T cells
6.  A functional assay for microRNA target identification and validation 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(10):e75.
MicroRNAs (miRNA) are a class of small RNA molecules that regulate numerous critical cellular processes and bind to partially complementary sequences resulting in down-regulation of their target genes. Due to the incomplete homology of the miRNA to its target site identification of miRNA target genes is difficult and currently based on computational algorithms predicting large numbers of potential targets for a given miRNA. To enable the identification of biologically relevant miRNA targets, we describe a novel functional assay based on a 3′-UTR-enriched library and a positive/negative selection strategy. As proof of principle we have used mir-130a and its validated target MAFB to test this strategy. Identification of MAFB and five additional targets and their subsequent confirmation as mir-130a targets by western blot analysis and knockdown experiments validates this strategy for the functional identification of miRNA targets.
PMCID: PMC3378903  PMID: 22323518

Results 1-6 (6)