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  • Rodriguez-Barrueco, Ruth; Latorre, Jessica; Devis-Jauregui, Laura; Lluch, Aina; Bonifaci, Nuria; Llobet, Francisco J.; Olivan, Mireia; Coll-Iglesias, Laura; Gassner, Katja; Davis, Meredith L.; Moreno-Navarrete, Jose M.; Castells-Nobau, Anna; Plata-Pena, Laura; Dalmau-Pastor, Miki; Horing, Marcus; Liebisch, Gerhard; Olkkonen, Vesa M.; Arnoriaga-Rodriguez, Maria; Ricart, Wifredo; Fernandez-Real, Jose M.; Silva, Jose M.; Ortega, Francisco J.; Llobet-Navas, David (2022)
    The H19X-encoded miR-424(322)/503 cluster regulates multiple cellular functions. Here, it is reported for the first time that it is also a critical linchpin of fat mass expansion. Deletion of this miRNA cluster in mice results in obesity, while increasing the pool of early adipocyte progenitors and hypertrophied adipocytes. Complementary loss and gain of function experiments and RNA sequencing demonstrate that miR-424(322)/503 regulates a conserved genetic program involved in the differentiation and commitment of white adipocytes. Mechanistically, it is demonstrated that miR-424(322)/503 targets gamma-Synuclein (SNCG), a factor that mediates this program rearrangement by controlling metabolic functions in fat cells, allowing adipocyte differentiation and adipose tissue enlargement. Accordingly, diminished miR-424(322) in mice and obese humans co-segregate with increased SNCG in fat and peripheral blood as mutually exclusive features of obesity, being normalized upon weight loss. The data unveil a previously unknown regulatory mechanism offat mass expansion tightly controlled by the miR-424(322)/503 through SNCG.
  • Kovalchuk, Andriy; Raffaello, Tommaso; Jaber, Emad; Keriö, Susanna; Ghimire, Rajendra; Lorenz, W. Walter; Dean, Jeffrey F. D.; Holopainen, Jarmo K.; Asiegbu, Fred O. (2015)
    Background: During their lifetime, conifer trees are exposed to numerous herbivorous insects. To protect themselves against pests, trees have developed a broad repertoire of protective mechanisms. Many of the plant's defence reactions are activated upon an insect attack, and the underlying regulatory mechanisms are not entirely understood yet, in particular in conifer trees. Here, we present the results of our studies on the transcriptional response and the volatile compounds production of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) upon the large pine weevil (Hylobius abietis) feeding. Results: Transcriptional response of Scots pine to the weevil attack was investigated using a novel customised 36.4 K Pinus taeda microarray. The weevil feeding caused large-scale changes in the pine transcriptome. In total, 774 genes were significantly up-regulated more than 4-fold (p = 0.05), whereas 64 genes were significantly down-regulated more than 4-fold. Among the up-regulated genes, we could identify genes involved in signal perception, signalling pathways, transcriptional regulation, plant hormone homeostasis, secondary metabolism and defence responses. The weevil feeding on stem bark of pine significantly increased the total emission of volatile organic compounds from the undamaged stem bark area. The emission levels of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes were also increased. Interestingly, we could not observe any correlation between the increased production of the terpenoid compounds and expression levels of the terpene synthase-encoding genes. Conclusions: The obtained data provide an important insight into the transcriptional response of conifer trees to insect herbivory and illustrate the massive changes in the host transcriptome upon insect attacks. Moreover, many of the induced pathways are common between conifers and angiosperms. The presented results are the first ones obtained by the use of a microarray platform with an extended coverage of pine transcriptome (36.4 K cDNA elements). The platform will further facilitate the identification of resistance markers with the direct relevance for conifer tree breeding.
  • Castillejo, Cristina; Waurich, Veronika; Wagner, Henning; Ramos, Ruben; Oiza, Nicolas; Munoz, Pilar; Trivino, Juan C.; Caruana, Julie; Liu, Zhongchi; Cobo, Nicolas; Hardigan, Michael A.; Knapp, Steven J.; Vallarino, Jose G.; Osorio, Sonia; Martin-Pizarro, Carmen; Pose, David; Toivainen, Tuomas; Hytonen, Timo; Oh, Youngjae; Barbey, Christopher R.; Whitaker, Vance M.; Lee, Seonghee; Olbricht, Klaus; Sanchez-Sevilla, Jose F.; Amaya, Iraida (2020)
    Independent mutations in the transcription factor MYB10 cause most of the anthocyanin variation observed in diploid woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca) and octoploid cultivated strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa). The fruits of diploid and octoploid strawberry (Fragaria spp) show substantial natural variation in color due to distinct anthocyanin accumulation and distribution patterns. Anthocyanin biosynthesis is controlled by a clade of R2R3 MYB transcription factors, among which MYB10 is the main activator in strawberry fruit. Here, we show that mutations in MYB10 cause most of the variation in anthocyanin accumulation and distribution observed in diploid woodland strawberry (F. vesca) and octoploid cultivated strawberry (F. xananassa). Using a mapping-by-sequencing approach, we identified a gypsy-transposon in MYB10 that truncates the protein and knocks out anthocyanin biosynthesis in a white-fruited F. vesca ecotype. Two additional loss-of-function mutations in MYB10 were identified among geographically diverse white-fruited F. vesca ecotypes. Genetic and transcriptomic analyses of octoploid Fragaria spp revealed that FaMYB10-2, one of three MYB10 homoeologs identified, regulates anthocyanin biosynthesis in developing fruit. Furthermore, independent mutations in MYB10-2 are the underlying cause of natural variation in fruit skin and flesh color in octoploid strawberry. We identified a CACTA-like transposon (FaEnSpm-2) insertion in the MYB10-2 promoter of red-fleshed accessions that was associated with enhanced expression. Our findings suggest that cis-regulatory elements in FaEnSpm-2 are responsible for enhanced MYB10-2 expression and anthocyanin biosynthesis in strawberry fruit flesh.
  • Raykhel, Irina; Moafi, Fazeh; Myllymaki, Satu M.; Greciano, Patricia G.; Matlin, Karl S.; Moyano, Jose V.; Manninen, Aki; Myllyharju, Johanna (2018)
    Hypoxia and loss of cell polarity are common features of malignant carcinomas. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF1) is the major regulator of cellular hypoxia response and mediates the activation of similar to 300 genes. Increased HIF1 signaling is known to be associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transformation. Here, we report that hypoxia disrupts polarized epithelial morphogenesis of MDCK cells in a HIF1 alpha-dependent manner by modulating the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF beta) signaling pathway. Analysis of potential HIF1 targets in the TGF beta pathway identified the bone morphogenetic protein and activin membrane-bound inhibitor (BAMBI), a transmembrane glycoprotein related to the type I receptors of the TGF beta family, whose expression was essentially lost in HIF1-depleted cells. Similar to what was observed in HIF1-deficient cells, BAMBI-depleted cells failed to efficiently activate TGF beta signaling and retained epithelial polarity during hypoxia. Taken together, we show that hypoxic conditions promote TGF beta signaling in a HIF1-dependent manner and BAMBI is identified in this pathway as a novel HIF1-regulated gene that contributes to hypoxia-induced loss of epithelial polarity.
  • Cui, Fuqiang; Wenwu, Wu; Wang, Kai; Zhang, Yuan; Zhubing, Hu; Brosche, Mikael; Liu, Shenkui; Overmyer, Kirk (2019)
    Prevailing evidence indicates that abscisic acid (ABA) negatively influences immunity to the fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea in most but not all cases. ABA is required for cuticle biosynthesis, and cuticle permeability enhances immunity to Botrytis via unknown mechanisms. This complex web of responses obscures the role of ABA in Botrytis immunity. Here, we addressed the relationships between ABA sensitivity, cuticle permeability, and Botrytis immunity in the Arabidopsis thaliana ABA-hypersensitive mutants protein phosphatase2c quadruple mutant (pp2c-q) and enhanced response to aba1 (era1-2). Neither pp2c-q nor era1-2 exhibited phenotypes predicted by the known roles of ABA; conversely, era1-2 had a permeable cuticle and was Botrytis resistant. We employed RNA-seq analysis in cuticle-permeable mutants of differing ABA sensitivities and identified a core set of constitutively activated genes involved in Botrytis immunity and susceptibility to biotrophs, independent of ABA signaling. Furthermore, botrytis susceptible1 (bos1), a mutant with deregulated cell death and enhanced ABA sensitivity, suppressed the Botrytis immunity of cuticle permeable mutants, and this effect was linearly correlated with the extent of spread of wound-induced cell death in bos1. Overall, our data demonstrate that Botrytis immunity conferred by cuticle permeability can be genetically uncoupled from PP2C-regulated ABA sensitivity, but requires negative regulation of a parallel ABA-dependent cell-death pathway.
  • Ruokolainen, Satu; Ng, Yan Peng; Broholm, Suvi K.; Albert, Victor A.; Elomaa, Paula; Teeri, Teemu H. (2010)
  • Balboa, Diego; Weltner, Jere; Eurola, Solja; Trokovic, Ras; Wartiovaara, Kirmo; Otonkoski, Timo (2015)
    CRISPR/Cas9 protein fused to transactivation domains can be used to control gene expression in human cells. In this study, we demonstrate that a dCas9 fusion with repeats of VP16 activator domains can efficiently activate human genes involved in pluripotency in various cell types. This activator in combination with guide RNAs targeted to the OCT4 promoter can be used to completely replace transgenic OCT4 in human cell reprogramming. Furthermore, we generated a chemically controllable dCas9 activator version by fusion with the dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) destabilization domain. Finally, we show that the destabilized dCas9 activator can be used to control human pluripotent stem cell differentiation into endodermal lineages.
  • Holm, Liisa (2022)
    Protein structure is key to understanding biological function. Structure comparison deciphers deep phylogenies, providing insight into functional conservation and functional shifts during evolution. Until recently, structural coverage of the protein universe was limited by the cost and labour involved in experimental structure determination. Recent breakthroughs in deep learning revolutionized structural bioinformatics by providing accurate structural models of numerous protein families for which no structural information existed. The Dali server for 3D protein structure comparison is widely used by crystal-lographers to relate new structures to pre-existing ones. Here, we report two most recent upgrades to the web server: (i) the foldomes of key organisms in the AlphaFold Database (version 1) are searchable by Dali, (ii) structural alignments are annotated with protein families. Using these new features, we discovered a novel functionally diverse subgroup within the WRKY/GCM1 clan. This was accomplished by linking the structurally characterized SWI/SNF and NAM families as well as the structural models of the CG-1 family and uncharacterized proteins to the structure of Gti1/Pac2, a previously known member of the WRKY/GCM1 clan. The Dali server is available at This website is free and open to all users and there is no login requirement. [GRAPHICS] .
  • Sanz-Navarro, Maria; Delgado, Irene; Torres, Miguel; Mustonen, Tuija; Michon, Frederic; Rice, David P. (2019)
    MEIS1 is a key developmental regulator of several organs and participates in stem cell maintenance in different niches. However, despite the murine continuously growing incisor being a well described model for the study of adult stem cells, Meis1 has not been investigated in a dental context. Here, we uncover that Meis1 expression in the tooth is confined to the epithelial compartment. Its expression arises during morphogenesis and becomes restricted to the mouse incisor epithelial stem cell niche, the labial cervical loop. Meis1 is specifically expressed by Sox2(+) stem cells, which give rise to all dental epithelial cell lineages. Also, we have found that Meis1 in the incisor is coexpressed with potential binding partner Pbx1 during both embryonic and adult stages. Interestingly, Meis2 is present in different areas of the forming tooth and it is not expressed by dental epithelial stem cells, suggesting different roles for these two largely homologous genes. Additionally, we have established the expression patterns of Meis1 and Meis2 during tongue, hair, salivary gland and palate formation. Finally, analysis of Meis1-null allele mice indicated that, similarly, to SOX2, MEIS1 is not essential for tooth initiation, but might have a role during adult incisor renewal.
  • Kuuluvainen, Emilia; Domenech-Moreno, Eva; Niemela, Elina H.; Makela, Tomi P. (2018)
    In cancer, oncogene activation is partly mediated by acquired superenhancers, which therefore represent potential targets for inhibition. Superenhancers are enriched for BRD4 and Mediator, and both BRD4 and the Mediator MED12 subunit are disproportionally required for expression of superenhancer-associated genes in stem cells. Here we show that depletion of Mediator kinase module subunit MED12 or MED13 together with MED13L can be used to reduce expression of cancer-acquired superenhancer genes, such as the MYC gene, in colon cancer cells, with a concomitant decrease in proliferation. Whereas depletion of MED12 or MED13/MED13L caused a disproportional decrease of superenhancer gene expression, this was not seen with depletion of the kinases cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK8) and CDK19. MED12-MED13/MED13L-dependent superenhancer genes were coregulated by beta-catenin, which has previously been shown to associate with MED12. Importantly, beta-catenin depletion caused reduced binding of MED12 at the MYC superenhancer. The effect of MED12 or MED13/MED13L depletion on cancer-acquired superenhancer gene expression was more specific than and partially distinct from that of BRD4 depletion, with the most efficient inhibition seen with combined targeting. These results identify a requirement of MED12 and MED13/MED13L for expression of acquired superenhancer genes in colon cancer, implicating these Mediator subunits as potential therapeutic targets for colon cancer, alone or together with BRD4.
  • Hashimoto, Kosuke; Jouhilahti, Eeva-Mari; Töhönen, Virpi; Carninci, Piero; Kere, Juha; Katayama, Shintaro (2021)
    Long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons are widely distributed across the human genome. They have accumulated through retroviral integration into germline DNA and are latent genetic modules. Active LTR promoters are observed in germline cells; however, little is known about the mechanisms underlying their active transcription in somatic tissues. Here, by integrating our previous transcriptome data set with publicly available data sets, we show that the LTR families MLT2A1 and MLT2A2 are primarily expressed in human four-cell and eight-cell embryos and are also activated in some adult somatic tissues, particularly pineal gland. Three MLT2A elements function as the promoters and first exons of the protein-coding genes ABCE1, COL5A1, and GALNT13 specifically in the pineal gland of humans but not in that of macaques, suggesting that the exaptation of these LTRs as promoters occurred during recent primate evolution. This analysis provides insight into the possible transition from germline insertion to somatic expression of LTR retrotransposons.
  • Mora-Martinez, Carlos (2021)
    Large amounts of effort have been invested in trying to understand how a single genome is able to specify the identity of hundreds of cell types. Inspired by some aspects of Caenorhabditis elegans biology, we implemented an in silico evolutionary strategy to produce gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that drive cell-specific gene expression patterns, mimicking the process of terminal cell differentiation. Dynamics of the gene regulatory networks are governed by a thermodynamic model of gene expression, which uses DNA sequences and transcription factor degenerate position weight matrixes as input. In a version of the model, we included chromatin accessibility. Experimentally, it has been determined that cell-specific and broadly expressed genes are regulated differently. In our in silico evolved GRNs, broadly expressed genes are regulated very redundantly and the architecture of their cis-regulatory modules is different, in accordance to what has been found in C. elegans and also in other systems. Finally, we found differences in topological positions in GRNs between these two classes of genes, which help to explain why broadly expressed genes are so resilient to mutations. Overall, our results offer an explanatory hypothesis on why broadly expressed genes are regulated so redundantly compared to cell-specific genes, which can be extrapolated to phenomena such as ChIP-seq HOT regions.
  • Kurokura, Takeshi; Samad, Samia; Koskela, Elli; Mouhu, Katriina; Hytonen, Timo (2017)
    According to the external coincidence model, photoperiodic flowering occurs when CONSTANS ( CO) mRNA expression coincides with light in the afternoon of long days (LDs), leading to the activation of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT). CO has evolved in Brassicaceae from other Group Ia CO-like (COL) proteins which do not control photoperiodic flowering in Arabidopsis. COLs in other species have evolved different functions as floral activators or even as repressors. To understand photoperiodic development in the perennial rosaceous model species woodland strawberry, we functionally characterized FvCO, the only Group Ia COL in its genome. We demonstrate that FvCO has a major role in the photoperiodic control of flowering and vegetative reproduction through runners. FvCO is needed to generate a bimodal rhythm of FvFT1 which encodes a floral activator in the LD accession Hawaii-4: a sharp FvCO expression peak at dawn is followed by the FvFT1 morning peak in LDs indicating possible direct regulation, but additional factors that may include FvGI and FvFKF1 are probably needed to schedule the second FvFT1 peak around dusk. These results demonstrate that although FvCO and FvFT1 play major roles in photoperiodic development, the CO-based external coincidence around dusk is not fully applicable to the woodland strawberry.
  • Verta, Jukka-Pekka; Barton, Henry Juho; Pritchard, Victoria; Primmer, Craig (2021)
    Whole-genome duplications (WGD) have been considered as springboards that potentiate lineage diversification through increasing functional redundancy. Divergence in gene regulatory elements is a central mechanism for evolutionary diversification, yet the patterns and processes governing regulatory divergence following events that lead to massive functional redundancy, such as WGD, remain largely unknown. We studied the patterns of divergence and strength of natural selection on regulatory elements in the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) genome, which has undergone WGD 100–80 Ma. Using ChIPmentation, we first show that H3K27ac, a histone modification typical to enhancers and promoters, is associated with genic regions, tissue-specific transcription factor binding motifs, and with gene transcription levels in immature testes. Divergence in transcription between duplicated genes from WGD (ohnologs) correlated with difference in the number of proximal regulatory elements, but not with promoter elements, suggesting that functional divergence between ohnologs after WGD is mainly driven by enhancers. By comparing H3K27ac regions between duplicated genome blocks, we further show that a longer polyploid state post-WGD has constrained regulatory divergence. Patterns of genetic diversity across natural populations inferred from resequencing indicate that recent evolutionary pressures on H3K27ac regions are dominated by largely neutral evolution. In sum, our results suggest that post-WGD functional redundancy in regulatory elements continues to have an impact on the evolution of the salmon genome, promoting largely neutral evolution of regulatory elements despite their association with transcription levels. These results highlight a case where genome-wide regulatory evolution following an ancient WGD is dominated by genetic drift.
  • Ramakrishnan, Muthusamy; Yrjälä, Kim; Vinod, Kunnummal Kurungara; Sharma, Anket; Cho, Jungnam; Satheesh, Viswanathan; Zhou, Mingbing (2020)
    Sustainable goals for contemporary world seek viable solutions for interconnected challenges, particularly in the fields of food and energy security and climate change. We present bamboo, one of the versatile plant species on earth, as an ideal candidate for bioeconomy for meeting some of these challenges. With its potential realized, particularly in the industrial sector, countries such as China are going extensive with bamboo development and cultivation to support a myriad of industrial uses. These include timber, fiber, biofuel, paper, food, and medicinal industries. Bamboo is an ecologically viable choice, having better adaptation to wider environments than do other grasses, and can help to restore degraded lands and mitigate climate change. Bamboo, as a crop species, has not become amenable to genetic improvement, due to its long breeding cycle, perennial nature, and monocarpic behavior. One of the commonly used species, moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) is a potential candidate that qualifies as industrial bamboo. With its whole-genome information released, genetic manipulations of moso bamboo offer tremendous potential to meet the industrial expectations either in quality or in quantity. Further, bamboo cultivation can expect several natural hindrances through biotic and abiotic stresses, which needs viable solutions such as genetic resistance. Taking a pragmatic view of these future requirements, we have compiled the present status of bamboo physiology, genetics, genomics, and biotechnology, particularly of moso bamboo, to drive various implications in meeting industrial and cultivation requirements. We also discuss challenges underway, caveats, and contextual opportunities concerning sustainable development.
  • Meng, Xiangxiang; Li, Lu; Pascual, Jesus; Rahikainen, Moona; Yi, Changyu; Jost, Ricarda; He, Cunman; Fournier-Level, Alexandre; Borevitz, Justin; Kangasjärvi, Saijaliisa; Whelan, James; Berkowitz, Oliver (2022)
    Mitochondrial ACONITASE3 is important for the acclimation to submergence stress by integrating carbon and nitrogen metabolism and impacting stress signaling pathways. Flooding causes severe crop losses in many parts of the world. Genetic variation in flooding tolerance exists in many species; however, there are few examples for the identification of tolerance genes and their underlying function. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 387 Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) accessions. Plants were subjected to prolonged submergence followed by desubmergence, and seven traits (score, water content, Fv/Fm, and concentrations of nitrate, chlorophyll, protein, and starch) were quantified to characterize their acclimation responses. These traits showed substantial variation across the range of accessions. A total of 35 highly significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified across the 20 GWA datasets, pointing to 22 candidate genes, with functions in TCA cycle, DNA modification, and cell division. Detailed functional characterization of one candidate gene, ACONITASE3 (ACO3), was performed. Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing showed that a single nucleotide polymorphism in the ACO3 promoter co-located with the binding site of the master regulator of retrograde signaling ANAC017, while subcellular localization of an ACO3-YFP fusion protein confirmed a mitochondrial localization during submergence. Analysis of mutant and overexpression lines determined changes in trait parameters that correlated with altered submergence tolerance and were consistent with the GWAS results. Subsequent RNA-seq experiments suggested that impairing ACO3 function increases the sensitivity to submergence by altering ethylene signaling, whereas ACO3 overexpression leads to tolerance by metabolic priming. These results indicate that ACO3 impacts submergence tolerance through integration of carbon and nitrogen metabolism via the mitochondrial TCA cycle and impacts stress signaling during acclimation to stress.
  • Arasu, Uma Thanigai; Deen, Ashik Jawahar; Pasonen-Seppänen, Sanna; Heikkinen, Sami; Lalowski, Maciej; Kärnä, Riikka; Härkönen, Kai; Mäkinen, Petri; Lazaro-Ibañez, Elisa; Siljander, Pia R-M; Oikari, Sanna; Levonen, Anna-Liisa; Rilla, Kirsi (2020)
    Intercellular communication is fundamental to the survival and maintenance of all multicellular systems, whereas dysregulation of communication pathways can drive cancer progression. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are mediators of cell-to-cell communication that regulate a variety of cellular processes involved in tumor progression. Overexpression of a specific plasma membrane enzyme, hyaluronan synthase 3 (HAS3), is one of the factors that can induce EV shedding. HAS3, and particularly its product hyaluronan (HA), are carried by EVs and are known to be associated with the tumorigenic properties of cancer cells. To elucidate the specific effects of cancerous, HAS3-induced EVs on target cells, normal human keratinocytes and melanoma cells were treated with EVs derived from GFP-HAS3 expressing metastatic melanoma cells. We found that the HA receptor CD44 participated in the regulation of EV binding to target cells. Furthermore, GFP-HAS3-positive EVs induced HA secretion, proliferation and invasion of target cells. Our results suggest that HAS3-EVs contains increased quantities of IHH, which activates the target cell hedgehog signaling cascade and leads to the activation of c-Myc and regulation of claspin expression. This signaling of IHH in HAS3-EVs resulted in increased cell proliferation. Claspin immunostaining correlated with HA content in human cutaneous melanocytic lesions, supporting our in vitro findings and suggesting a reciprocal regulation between claspin expression and HA synthesis. This study shows for the first time that EVs originating from HAS3 overexpressing cells carry mitogenic signals that induce proliferation and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in target cells. The study also identifies a novel feedback regulation between the hedgehog signaling pathway and HA metabolism in melanoma, mediated by EVs carrying HA and IHH.
  • Kanninen, Liisa K.; Porola, Pauliina; Niklander, Johanna; Malinen, Melina M.; Corlu, Anne; Guguen-Guillouzo, Christiane; Urtti, Arto; Yliperttula, Marjo L.; Lou, Yan-Ru (2016)
    Human hepatocytes are extensively needed in drug discovery and development. Stem cell-derived hepatocytes are expected to be an improved and continuous model of human liver to study drug candidates. Generation of endoderm-derived hepatocytes from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, is a complex, challenging process requiring specific signals from soluble factors and insoluble matrices at each developmental stage. In this study, we used human liver progenitor HepaRG-derived acellular matrix (ACM) as a hepatic progenitor-specific matrix to induce hepatic commitment of hPSC-derived definitive endoderm (DE) cells. The DE cells showed much better attachment to the HepaRG ACM than other matrices tested and then differentiated towards hepatic cells, which expressed hepatocyte-specific makers. We demonstrate that Matrigel overlay induced hepatocyte phenotype and inhibited biliary epithelial differentiation in two hPSC lines studied. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that the HepaRG ACM, a hepatic progenitor-specific matrix, plays an important role in the hepatic differentiation of hPSCs. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Maki, Koichiro; Nava, Michele M.; Villeneuve, Clementine; Chang, Minki; Furukawa, Katsuko S.; Ushida, Takashi; Wickström, Sara A. (2021)
    Articular cartilage protects and lubricates joints for smooth motion and transmission of loads. Owing to its high water content, chondrocytes within the cartilage are exposed to high levels of hydrostatic pressure, which has been shown to promote chondrocyte identity through unknown mechanisms. Here, we investigate the effects of hydrostatic pressure on chondrocyte state and behavior, and discover that application of hydrostatic pressure promotes chondrocyte quiescence and prevents maturation towards the hyperlrophic state. Mechanistically, hydrostatic pressure reduces the amount of trimethylated H3K9 (K3K9me3)-marked constitutive heterochromatin and concomitantly increases H3K27me3-marked facultative heterochromatin. Reduced levels of H3K9me3 attenuates expression of pre-hypertrophic genes, replication and transcription, thereby reducing replicative stress. Conversely, promoting replicative stress by inhibition of topoisomerase II decreases Sox9 expression, suggesting that it enhances chondrocyte maturation. Our results reveal how hydrostatic pressure triggers chromatin remodeling to impact cell fate and function. This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.
  • Asadi-Azarbaijani, Babak; Braber, Saskia; van Duursen, Majorie; Jahnukainen, Kirsi; Santos, Regiane; Oskam, Irma C. (2019)
    Chemotherapy may result in ovarian atrophy, a depletion of the primordial follicle pool, diminished ovarian weight, cortical and stromal fibrosis. Imatinib mesylate is an anticancer agent that inhibits competitively several receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). RTKs play important roles in cell metabolism, proliferation, and apoptosis. In clinic, imatinib mesylate is also known as an anti-fibrotic medicine. In the present study, the impact of imatinib on the ovarian tissue was investigated by assessing ovarian tissue fibrosis in postnatal rat administered with or without imatinib for three days. Fibrosis in the ovarian tissue was determined by histology (Picrosirius and Masson's trichrome staining) and the protein expression of vimentin and alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA). Furthermore, mRNA expression of Forkhead box transcription factor O1 and O3 (FOXO1 and FOXO3), which are markers of cell proliferation was quantified. A short-term exposure to imatinib showed to increase tissue fibrosis in ovaries. This was observed by Masson's trichrome staining. Exposure to imatinib led also to a down-regulation of vimentin protein expression and up-regulation mRNA expression of FOXO3. This may indicate a role of FOXO3 in ovarian tissue fibrosis in postnatal rat ovaries.