Identification of novel regulators of transcription in iPSC-derived cardiovascular progenitors
Keywords: 
Materias Investigacion::Ciencias de la vida::Citología, biología celular
Materias Investigacion::Ciencias de la Salud::Microbiología y biología molecular
Cultivo celular
Patología cardiovascular
Issue Date: 
16-Mar-2020
Defense Date: 
21-Jun-2019
Citation: 
LINARES ACOSTA, . “Identification of novel regulators of transcription in iPSC-derived cardiovascular progenitors”. Prosper, F y Carvajal, F. (dirs.). Tesis doctoral. Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, 2019.
Abstract
Stem cells allow to investigate about the basic mechanisms that regulate embryonic development, cellular plasticity, and organ maintenance and regeneration. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are a powerful source of cells for diverse applications such as developmental and disease modeling, drug discovery and regenerative medicine. Cardiac development is coordinated by complex interactions between cardiac progenitor cell populations, different molecular signaling pathways, and spatially and temporally regulated gene expression. Cardiovascular progenitors (CVPs), with similar potential to these present in early stages of embryonic development, can be obtained from iPSCs by mimicking signaling during cardiogenesis, creating an ideal cell source to treat the damaged heart. However, the mechanisms and conditions for long-term self-renewal and maintenance of CVPs remain elusive. The generation of new iPSC models for tracing CVP lineages permits to delve into the biology of CVPs and discover novel potential regulators of their fate. We have established three different Cre/LoxP mouse models for lineage tracing of CVPs and their cell progeny by the expression of ZsGreen (ZsG) protein: Ai6-Mesp1-Cre (Mesp1 tracer), Ai6-Isl1-Cre (Isl1 tracer) and Ai6-Mef2c-AHF-Cre (AHF tracer) mice. Multiple iPSC clones have been derived from Ai6-Isl1-Cre and Ai6-Mef2c-AHF-Cre reporter mice. Several generated iPSC lines have been fully characterized, demonstrating embryonic stem-like features. iPSCs encoded the expected genomic insertions, showed normal karyotypes, transgenes were silenced, and expressed endogenous pluripotency-associated markers. Moreover, iPSCs were capable to differentiate into the three germ layers both in vitro and in vivo. We have verified the utility of established AHFiPSCs to track CVPs and their differentiated progeny. Upon differentiation, ZsG+ cells derived from AHFiPSCs appeared from embryoid body (EB) day 6 onwards, expressed cardiovascular-related markers, and were able to differentiate into cardiomyocytes, endothelial and smooth muscle cells. Comparative gene expression analysis using four different AHFiPSC lines revealed distinct molecular signatures in three particular stages of differentiation: undifferentiated iPSCs (AHFiPS-D0), sorted ZsG+ cells at day 6 (AHFiPS-D6.ZsG+) and sorted ZsG+ cells at day 13 of differentiation (AHFiPS-D13.ZsG+), that expressed pluripotency-, CVP- and cardiac/vascular lineages-associated markers, respectively. Gapdh and Polr2a have been determined the most stable housekeeping genes along the differentiation of AHFiPSCs, being optimal for accurate normalization of gene expression in our samples. We have identified novel regulators of transcription specifically upregulated in CVPs: Lin28a (and its paralog Lin28b), Lhx1 and Nr6a1. The expression of these genes was also found increased in the corresponding CVP-enriched samples from two different public analyses using mouse and human pluripotent stem cells. Moreover, using bioinformatic analysis of biological pathways we have found p53 as an interconnecting molecule of all these selected regulators of transcription. In order to explore novel insights into the biological role of the selected regulators in CVP fate, we have generated an inducible vector (pTRE-CDS-IRES-Puro-REX1-Blast) to carry out gain-of-function (GOF) analyses. This Tet-On system worked properly in AHFiPSC clones, but unfortunately it failed to work in EBs of certain size along differentiation. In contrast, this GOF system correctly functioned in human iPSCs differentiated in monolayer cultures. We have established four CBiPS1sv-4F-5 cell lines carrying Tet-On systems for the inducible expression of LIN28A, LIN28B, NR6A1 and LHX1, and preliminary results indicated that these regulators of transcription might have a role in CVP fate determination.

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