SCL/TAL1-mediated transcriptional network enhances megakaryocytic specification of human embryonic stem cells.Mol. Ther. 8 Oct 2014, . Epub 8 Oct 2014
Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are a unique in vitro model for studying human developmental biology and represent a potential source for cell replacement strategies. Platelets can be generated from cord blood progenitors and hESCs; however, the molecular mechanisms and determinants controlling the in vitro megakaryocytic specification of hESCs remain elusive. We have recently shown that SCL overexpression accelerates the emergence of hemato-endothelial progenitors from hESCs and promotes their subsequent differentiation into blood cells with higher clonogenic potential. Given that SCL participates in megakaryocytic commitment, we hypothesized that it may potentiate megakaryopoiesis from hESCs. We show that ectopic SCL expression enhances the emergence of megakaryocytic precursors, mature megakaryocytes and platelets in vitro. SCL-overexpressing megakaryocytes and platelets respond to different activating stimuli similarly to their control counterparts. Gene expression profiling of megakaryocytic precursors shows that SCL-overexpression renders a megakaryopoietic molecular signature. Connectivity Map analysis reveals that trichostatin A (TSA) and suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), both histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, functionally mimic SCL-induced effects. Finally, we confirm that both TSA and SAHA treatment promote the emergence of CD34+ progenitors, whereas valproic acid, another HDAC inhibitor, potentiates megakaryocyte and platelet production. We demonstrate that SCL and HDAC inhibitors are megakaryopoiesis regulators in hESCs.Molecular Therapy (2014); doi:10.1038/mt.2014.196.More information
H3K4me1 marks DNA regions hypomethylated during aging in human stem and differentiated cells.Genome Res. 30 Sep 2014, . Epub 30 Sep 2014
In differentiated cells, aging is associated with hypermethylation of DNA regions enriched in repressive histone posttranslational modifications. However, the chromatin marks associated with changes in DNA methylation in adult stem cells during lifetime are still largely unknown. Here, DNA methylation profiling of mesenchymal stem cells obtained from individuals aged 2 to 92 identified 18735 hypermethylated and 45407 hypomethylated CpG sites associated with aging. As in differentiated cells, hypermethylated sequences were enriched in chromatin repressive marks. Most importantly, hypomethylated CpG sites were strongly enriched in the active chromatin mark H3K4me1 in stem and differentiated cells, suggesting this is a cell type-independent chromatin signature of DNA hypomethylation during aging. Analysis of scedasticity showed that interindividual variability of DNA methylation increased during aging in MSCs and differentiated cells, providing a new avenue for the identification of DNA methylation changes over time. DNA methylation profiling of genetically identical individuals showed that both the tendency of DNA methylation changes and scedasticity depended on non-genetic as well as genetic factors. Our results indicate that the dynamics of DNA methylation during aging depend on a complex mixture of factors that include the DNA sequence, cell type and chromatin context involved, and that, depending on the locus, the changes can be modulated by genetic and/or external factors.More information
Role of Casein Kinase 1A1 in the Biology and Targeted Therapy of del(5q) MDS.Cancer Cell 17 Sep 2014, . Epub 17 Sep 2014
The casein kinase 1A1 gene (CSNK1A1) is a putative tumor suppressor gene located in the common deleted region for del(5q) myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). We generated a murine model with conditional inactivation of Csnk1a1 and found that Csnk1a1 haploinsufficiency induces hematopoietic stem cell expansion and a competitive repopulation advantage, whereas homozygous deletion induces hematopoietic stem cell failure. Based on this finding, we found that heterozygous inactivation of Csnk1a1 sensitizes cells to a CSNK1 inhibitor relative to cells with two intact alleles. In addition, we identified recurrent somatic mutations in CSNK1A1 on the nondeleted allele of patients with del(5q) MDS. These studies demonstrate that CSNK1A1 plays a central role in the biology of del(5q) MDS and is a promising therapeutic target.More information
EMT and EGFR in CTCs cytokeratin negative non-metastatic breast cancer.Oncotarget 15 Sep 2014, 5 (17) 7486-97.
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are frequently associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT).The objective of this study was to detect EMT phenotype through Vimentin (VIM) and Slug expression in cytokeratin (CK)-negative CTCs in non-metastatic breast cancer patients and to determine the importance of EGFR in the EMT phenomenon. In CK-negative CTCs samples, both VIM and Slug markers were co-expressed in the most of patients. Among patients EGFR+, half of them were positive for these EMT markers. Furthermore, after a systemic treatment 68% of patients switched from CK- to CK+ CTCs. In our experimental model we found that activation of EGFR signaling by its ligand on MCF-7 cells is sufficient to increase EMT phenotypes, to inhibit apoptotic events and to induce the loss of CK expression. The simultaneous detection of both EGFR and EMT markers in CTCs may improve prognostic or predictive information in patients with operable breast cancer.More information