We wish to identify determinants of endothelial lineage. Murine embryonic stem cells (mESC) were fused with human endothelial cells in stable, non-dividing, heterokaryons. Using RNA-seq it is possible to discriminate between human and mouse transcripts in these chimeric heterokaryons. We observed a temporal pattern of gene expression in the ESCs of the heterokaryons that recapitulated ontogeny, with early mesodermal factors being expressed before mature endothelial genes. A set of transcriptional factors not known to be involved in endothelial development was upregulated, one of which was POU class 3 homeobox 2 (Pou3f2). We confirmed its importance in differentiation to endothelial lineage via loss- and gain-of-function (LOF and GOF). Its role in vascular development was validated in zebrafish embryos using morpholino oligonucleotides. These studies provide a systematic and mechanistic approach for identifying key regulators in directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells to somatic cell lineages.
Discovery of Novel Determinants of Endothelial Lineage: Insights from Chimeric HeterokaryonsPublicly available at the NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (accession no. GSE84558).
- John P Cooke
- Wing Tak Wong
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Zebrafish are kept according to the laboratory protocols described in Zebrafish: A Practical Approach (Oxford University Press, 2002). These protocols comply with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the American Association for the Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) standards, and the regulations set forth in the Animals Welfare Act (P.L. 89-544, as amended by P.L. 91-579 and P.L . 94-279). Veterinary care is provided on a 24 hours basis, including weekends and holidays, by a staff of veterinarians with specialties in laboratory animal medicine and anesthesiology, and licensed animal health technicians. Training classes are offered. All veterinary care is provided by Houston Methodist Research Institute, which is fully accredited by AAALAC (ID A4555-01) and holds an approved NIH Assurance and USDA License (start date 03/08/2013). Support includes quarantine rooms, sterile operating rooms, post-surgical recovery rooms, radiology and diagnostic laboratory services. All surgery procedures were performed under anesthesia with Tricaine 0.02 mg/ml.
- Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Columbia University, United States
© 2017, Wong et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Trans-differentiation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) to activated state potentiates liver fibrosis through release of extracellular matrix (ECM) components, distorting the liver architecture. Since limited antifibrotics are available, pharmacological intervention targeting activated HSCs may be considered for therapy. A-kinase anchoring protein 12 (AKAP12) is a scaffolding protein that directs protein kinases A/C (PKA/PKC) and cyclins to specific locations spatiotemporally controlling their biological effects. It has been shown that AKAP12’s scaffolding functions are altered by phosphorylation. In previously published work, observed an association between AKAP12 phosphorylation and HSC activation. In this work, we demonstrate that AKAP12’s scaffolding activity toward the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident collagen chaperone, heat-shock protein 47 (HSP47) is strongly inhibited by AKAP12’s site-specific phosphorylation in activated HSCs. CRISPR-directed gene editing of AKAP12’s phospho-sites restores its scaffolding toward HSP47, inhibiting HSP47’s collagen maturation functions, and HSC activation. AKAP12 phospho-editing dramatically inhibits fibrosis, ER stress response, HSC inflammatory signaling, and liver injury in mice. Our overall findings suggest a pro-fibrogenic role of AKAP12 phosphorylation that may be targeted for therapeutic intervention in liver fibrosis.
PCSK9 negatively regulates low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) abundance on the cell surface, leading to decreased hepatic clearance of LDL particles and increased levels of plasma cholesterol. We previously identified SURF4 as a cargo receptor that facilitates PCSK9 secretion in HEK293T cells (Emmer et al., 2018). Here, we generated hepatic SURF4-deficient mice (Surf4fl/fl Alb-Cre+) to investigate the physiologic role of SURF4 in vivo. Surf4fl/fl Alb-Cre+ mice exhibited normal viability, gross development, and fertility. Plasma PCSK9 levels were reduced by ~60% in Surf4fl/fl Alb-Cre+ mice, with a corresponding ~50% increase in steady state LDLR protein abundance in the liver, consistent with SURF4 functioning as a cargo receptor for PCSK9. Surprisingly, these mice exhibited a marked reduction in plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels out of proportion to the partial increase in hepatic LDLR abundance. Detailed characterization of lipoprotein metabolism in these mice instead revealed a severe defect in hepatic lipoprotein secretion, consistent with prior reports of SURF4 also promoting the secretion of apolipoprotein B. Despite a small increase in liver mass and lipid content, histologic evaluation revealed no evidence of steatohepatitis or fibrosis in Surf4fl/fl Alb-Cre+ mice. Acute depletion of hepatic SURF4 by CRISPR/Cas9 or liver-targeted siRNA in adult mice confirms these findings. Together, these data support the physiologic significance of SURF4 in the hepatic secretion of PCSK9 and APOB-containing lipoproteins and its potential as a therapeutic target in atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases.