Esrrb Conveys Naïve Pluripotent Cells Through The Formative Transcriptional Program
47 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2020 Publication Status: Review CompleteMore...
Pluripotency is the potential of a single cell to give rise to all embryonic lineages and first emerges in the naïve epiblast of the preimplantation embryo. It has been proposed that upon implantation, epiblast cells transit to a formative phase, which is preparatory for their differentiation into all somatic lineages and primordial germ cells (PGCs). Murine naïve embryonic stem cells (ESCs) recapitulate the molecular and functional properties of the naïve epiblast, including the capacity to acquire a formative state and differentiate. However, the network of regulators and functional relevance of formative transition remain unresolved. Here we observe that differentiating ESCs transiently activate a distinct transcriptional program consistent with a formative state, after whose completion cells are irreversibly committed to differentiate. To our surprise, we observed that Esrrb, a pivotal naïve pluripotency factor, is both sufficient and required to activate the formative program. Mechanistically, in naïve cells ESRRB occupies both naïve and formative gene loci. During formative transition ESRRB binding at naïve genes is lost, while binding on formative genes is consolidated. Finally, when both naïve and formative transcriptional programs are inactivated, ESRRB occupancy is mostly lost and cells irreversibly commit to differentiate. Genetic inactivation of Esrrb leads to failure to induce the appropriate formative program, which functionally results in severely impaired PGC specification and accelerated spontaneous mesendoderm differentiation. Thus, Esrrb is critical for activating the formative transition and consequently for executing timely and unbiased multilineage differentiation of murine pluripotent cells. We propose that similar in-built differentiation circuits might be found in other species and stem cell types.
Keywords: pluripotency, Formative pluripotency, Esrrb, PGC specification, Cell fate, Gene regulatory network
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