Using embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in regenerative medicine or in disease modeling requires a complete understanding of these cells. Two main distinct developmental states of ESCs have been stabilized in vitro, a naïve pre-implantation stage and a primed post-implantation stage. Based on two recently published CRISPR-Cas9 knockout functional screens, we show here that the exit of the naïve state is impaired upon heme biosynthesis pathway blockade, linked in mESCs to the incapacity to activate MAPK- and TGFb-dependent signaling pathways after succinate accumulation. In addition, heme synthesis inhibition promotes the acquisition of 2 cell-like cells in a heme-independent manner caused by a mitochondrial succinate accumulation and leakage out of the cell. We further demonstrate that extracellular succinate acts as a paracrine/autocrine signal, able to trigger the 2C-like reprogramming through the activation of its plasma membrane receptor, SUCNR1. Overall, this study unveils a new mechanism underlying the maintenance of pluripotency under the control of heme synthesis.
Sequencing data have been deposited in GEO under the accession GSE178089Data files for the western blot images have been added as raw images of scans
The critical role of heme synthesis in the regulation of pluripotent states is succinate-dependentNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE178089.
- Marino Caruso
- Sébastien Meurant
- Patricia Renard
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Simón Méndez-Ferrer, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
© 2023, Detraux 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.
Imaging experiments reveal the complex and dynamic nature of the transcriptional hubs associated with Notch signaling.
Cylicins are testis-specific proteins, which are exclusively expressed during spermiogenesis. In mice and humans, two Cylicins, the gonosomal X-linked Cylicin 1 (Cylc1/CYLC1) and the autosomal Cylicin 2 (Cylc2/CYLC2) genes, have been identified. Cylicins are cytoskeletal proteins with an overall positive charge due to lysine-rich repeats. While Cylicins have been localized in the acrosomal region of round spermatids, they resemble a major component of the calyx within the perinuclear theca at the posterior part of mature sperm nuclei. However, the role of Cylicins during spermiogenesis has not yet been investigated. Here, we applied CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in zygotes to establish Cylc1- and Cylc2-deficient mouse lines as a model to study the function of these proteins. Cylc1 deficiency resulted in male subfertility, whereas Cylc2-/-, Cylc1-/yCylc2+/-, and Cylc1-/yCylc2-/- males were infertile. Phenotypical characterization revealed that loss of Cylicins prevents proper calyx assembly during spermiogenesis. This results in decreased epididymal sperm counts, impaired shedding of excess cytoplasm, and severe structural malformations, ultimately resulting in impaired sperm motility. Furthermore, exome sequencing identified an infertile man with a hemizygous variant in CYLC1 and a heterozygous variant in CYLC2, displaying morphological abnormalities of the sperm including the absence of the acrosome. Thus, our study highlights the relevance and importance of Cylicins for spermiogenic remodeling and male fertility in human and mouse, and provides the basis for further studies on unraveling the complex molecular interactions between perinuclear theca proteins required during spermiogenesis.