Publications by authors named "Georg Weitzer"

17 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

HDAC1 and HDAC3 underlie dynamic H3K9 acetylation during embryonic neurogenesis and in schizophrenia-like animals.

J Cell Physiol 2018 Jan 3;233(1):530-548. Epub 2017 May 3.

Faculty of Science, Department of Experimental Biology, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.

Although histone acetylation is one of the most widely studied epigenetic modifications, there is still a lack of information regarding how the acetylome is regulated during brain development and pathophysiological processes. We demonstrate that the embryonic brain (E15) is characterized by an increase in H3K9 acetylation as well as decreases in the levels of HDAC1 and HDAC3. Moreover, experimental induction of H3K9 hyperacetylation led to the overexpression of NCAM in the embryonic cortex and depletion of Sox2 in the subventricular ependyma, which mimicked the differentiation processes. Inducing differentiation in HDAC1-deficient mouse ESCs resulted in early H3K9 deacetylation, Sox2 downregulation, and enhanced astrogliogenesis, whereas neuro-differentiation was almost suppressed. Neuro-differentiation of (wt) ESCs was characterized by H3K9 hyperacetylation that was associated with HDAC1 and HDAC3 depletion. Conversely, the hippocampi of schizophrenia-like animals showed H3K9 deacetylation that was regulated by an increase in both HDAC1 and HDAC3. The hippocampi of schizophrenia-like brains that were treated with the cannabinoid receptor-1 inverse antagonist AM251 expressed H3K9ac at the level observed in normal brains. Together, the results indicate that co-regulation of H3K9ac by HDAC1 and HDAC3 is important to both embryonic brain development and neuro-differentiation as well as the pathophysiology of a schizophrenia-like phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.25914DOI Listing
January 2018

Desmin enters the nucleus of cardiac stem cells and modulates Nkx2.5 expression by participating in transcription factor complexes that interact with the nkx2.5 gene.

Biol Open 2016 Jan 19;5(2):140-53. Epub 2016 Jan 19.

Department of Medical Biochemistry, Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna Biocenter, Vienna A1030, Austria

The transcription factor Nkx2.5 and the intermediate filament protein desmin are simultaneously expressed in cardiac progenitor cells during commitment of primitive mesoderm to the cardiomyogenic lineage. Up-regulation of Nkx2.5 expression by desmin suggests that desmin may contribute to cardiogenic commitment and myocardial differentiation by directly influencing the transcription of the nkx2.5 gene in cardiac progenitor cells. Here, we demonstrate that desmin activates transcription of nkx2.5 reporter genes, rescues nkx2.5 haploinsufficiency in cardiac progenitor cells, and is responsible for the proper expression of Nkx2.5 in adult cardiac side population stem cells. These effects are consistent with the temporary presence of desmin in the nuclei of differentiating cardiac progenitor cells and its physical interaction with transcription factor complexes bound to the enhancer and promoter elements of the nkx2.5 gene. These findings introduce desmin as a newly discovered and unexpected player in the regulatory network guiding cardiomyogenesis in cardiac stem cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/bio.014993DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4823984PMC
January 2016

VUT-MK142 : a new cardiomyogenic small molecule promoting the differentiation of pre-cardiac mesoderm into cardiomyocytes.

Medchemcomm 2013 Aug;4(8):1189-1195

Institute of Applied Synthetic Chemistry, Vienna University of Technology, Getreidemarkt 9/163-OC, A-1060 Vienna, Austria.

Intra-cardiac cell transplantation is a new therapy after myocardial infarction. Its success, however, is impeded by the limited capacity of donor cells to differentiate into functional cardiomyocytes in the heart. A strategy to overcome this problem is the induction of cardiomyogenic function in cells prior to transplantation. Among other approaches, recently, synthetic small molecules were identified, which promote differentiation of stem cells of various origins into cardiac-like cells or cardiomyocytes. The aim of this study was to develop and characterise new promising cardiomyogenic synthetic low-molecular weight compounds. Therefore, the structure of the known cardiomyogenic molecule cardiogenol C was selectively modified, and the effects of the resulting compounds were tested on various cell types. From this study, VUT-MK142 was identified as the most promising candidate with respect to cardiomyogenic activity. Treatment using this novel agent induced the strongest up-regulation of expression of the cardiac marker ANF in both P19 embryonic carcinoma cells and C2C12 skeletal myoblasts. The activity of VUT-MK142 on this marker superseded CgC; moreover, the novel compound significantly up-regulated the expression of other cardiac markers, and promoted the development of beating cardiomyocytes from cardiovascular progenitor cells. We conclude that VUT-MK142 is a potent new cardiomyogenic synthetic agent promoting the differentiation of pre-cardiac mesoderm into cardiomyocytes, which may be useful to differentiate stem cells into cardiomyocytes for cardiac repair. Additionally, an efficient synthesis of VUT-MK142 is reported taking advantage of continuous flow techniques superior to classical batch reactions both in yield and reaction time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C3MD00101FDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4101245PMC
August 2013

Small molecule cardiogenol C upregulates cardiac markers and induces cardiac functional properties in lineage-committed progenitor cells.

Cell Physiol Biochem 2014 24;33(1):205-21. Epub 2014 Jan 24.

Center for Physiology and Pharmacology, Department of Neurophysiology and -Pharmacology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background/aims: Cell transplantation into the heart is a new therapy after myocardial infarction. Its success, however, is impeded by poor donor cell survival and by limited transdifferentiation of the transplanted cells into functional cardiomyocytes. A promising strategy to overcome these problems is the induction of cardiomyogenic properties in donor cells by small molecules.

Methods: Here we studied cardiomyogenic effects of the small molecule compound cardiogenol C (CgC), and structural derivatives thereof, on lineage-committed progenitor cells by various molecular biological, biochemical, and functional assays.

Results: Treatment with CgC up-regulated cardiac marker expression in skeletal myoblasts. Importantly, the compound also induced cardiac functional properties: first, cardiac-like sodium currents in skeletal myoblasts, and secondly, spontaneous contractions in cardiovascular progenitor cell-derived cardiac bodies.

Conclusion: CgC induces cardiomyogenic function in lineage-committed progenitor cells, and can thus be considered a promising tool to improve cardiac repair by cell therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000356663DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4389081PMC
July 2016

Reconsidering pluripotency tests: do we still need teratoma assays?

Stem Cell Res 2013 Jul 26;11(1):552-62. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

SET Foundation, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

The induction of teratoma in mice by the transplantation of stem cells into extra-uterine sites has been used as a read-out for cellular pluripotency since the initial description of this phenomenon in 1954. Since then, the teratoma assay has remained the assay of choice to demonstrate pluripotency, gaining prominence during the recent hype surrounding human stem cell research. However, the scientific significance of the teratoma assay has been debated due to the fact that transplanted cells are exposed to a non-physiological environment. Since many mice are used for a result that is heavily questioned, it is time to reconsider the teratoma assay from an ethical point of view. Candidate alternatives to the teratoma assay comprise the directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into organotypic cells, differentiation of cells in embryoid bodies, the analysis of pluripotency-associated biomarkers with high correlation to the teratoma forming potential of stem cells, predictive epigenetic footprints, or a combination of these technologies. Each of these assays is capable of addressing one or more aspects of pluripotency, however it is essential that these assays are validated to provide an accepted robust, reproducible alternative. In particular, the rapidly expanding number of human induced pluripotent stem cell lines, requires the development of simple, affordable standardized in vitro and in silico assays to reduce the number of animal experiments performed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scr.2013.03.001DOI Listing
July 2013

Embryonic stem cells facilitate the isolation of persistent clonal cardiovascular progenitor cell lines and leukemia inhibitor factor maintains their self-renewal and myocardial differentiation potential in vitro.

Cells Tissues Organs 2013 22;197(4):249-68. Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Department of Medical Biochemistry, Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Medical University of Vienna, AT-1030 Vienna, Austria.

Compelling evidence for the existence of somatic stem cells in the heart of different mammalian species has been provided by numerous groups; however, so far it has not been possible to maintain these cells as self-renewing and phenotypically stable clonal cell lines in vitro. Thus, we sought to identify a surrogate stem cell niche for the isolation and persistent maintenance of stable clonal cardiovascular progenitor cell lines, enabling us to study the mechanism of self-renewal and differentiation in these cells. Using postnatal murine hearts with a selectable marker as the stem cell source and embryonic stem cells and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF)-secreting fibroblasts as a surrogate niche, we succeeded in the isolation of stable clonal cardiovascular progenitor cell lines. These cell lines self-renew in an LIF-dependent manner. They express both stemness transcription factors Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog and early myocardial transcription factors Nkx2.5, GATA4, and Isl-1 at the same time. Upon LIF deprivation, they exclusively differentiate to functional cardiomyocytes and endothelial and smooth muscle cells, suggesting that these cells are mesodermal intermediates already committed to the cardiogenic lineage. Cardiovascular progenitor cell lines can be maintained for at least 149 passages over 7 years without phenotypic changes, in the presence of LIF-secreting fibroblasts. Isolation of wild-type cardiovascular progenitor cell lines from adolescent and old mice has finally demonstrated the general feasibility of this strategy for the isolation of phenotypically stable somatic stem cell lines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000345804DOI Listing
September 2013

Mechanisms of cardiogenesis in cardiovascular progenitor cells.

Int Rev Cell Mol Biol 2012 ;293:195-267

Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Self-renewing cells of the vertebrate heart have become a major subject of interest in the past decade. However, many researchers had a hard time to argue against the orthodox textbook view that defines the heart as a postmitotic organ. Once the scientific community agreed on the existence of self-renewing cells in the vertebrate heart, their origin was again put on trial when transdifferentiation, dedifferentiation, and reprogramming could no longer be excluded as potential sources of self-renewal in the adult organ. Additionally, the presence of self-renewing pluripotent cells in the peripheral blood challenges the concept of tissue-specific stem and progenitor cells. Leaving these unsolved problems aside, it seems very desirable to learn about the basic biology of this unique cell type. Thus, we shall here paint a picture of cardiovascular progenitor cells including the current knowledge about their origin, basic nature, and the molecular mechanisms guiding proliferation and differentiation into somatic cells of the heart.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-394304-0.00012-9DOI Listing
May 2012

Self-organization phenomena in embryonic stem cell-derived embryoid bodies: axis formation and breaking of symmetry during cardiomyogenesis.

Cells Tissues Organs 2012 19;195(5):377-91. Epub 2011 Aug 19.

Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Division of Molecular Biology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Aggregation of embryonic stem cells gives rise to embryoid bodies (EBs) which undergo developmental processes reminiscent of early eutherian embryonic development. Development of the three germ layers suggests that gastrulation takes place. In vivo, gastrulation is a highly ordered process but in EBs only few data support the hypothesis that self-organization of differentiating cells leads to morphology, reminiscent of the early gastrula. Here we demonstrate that a timely implantation-like process is a prerequisite for the breaking of the radial symmetry of suspended EBs. Attached to a surface, EBs develop a bilateral symmetry and presumptive mesodermal cells emerge between the center of the EBs and a horseshoe-shaped ridge of cells. The development of an epithelial sheet of cells on one side of the EBs allows us to define an 'anterior' and a 'posterior' end of the EBs. In the mesodermal area, first cardiomyocytes (CMCs) develop mainly next to this epithelial sheet of cells. Development of twice as many CMCs at the 'left' side of the EBs breaks the bilateral symmetry and suggests that cardiomyogenesis reflects a local or temporal asymmetry in EBs. The asymmetric appearance of CMCs but not the development of mesoderm can be disturbed by ectopic expression of the muscle-specific protein Desmin. Later, the bilateral morphology becomes blurred by an apparently chaotic differentiation of many cell types. The absence of comparable structures in aggregates of cardiovascular progenitor cells isolated from the heart demonstrates that the self-organization of cells during a gastrulation-like process is a unique feature of embryonic stem cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000328712DOI Listing
September 2012

Crucial function of histone deacetylase 1 for differentiation of teratomas in mice and humans.

EMBO J 2010 Dec 22;29(23):3992-4007. Epub 2010 Oct 22.

Department of Medical Biochemistry, Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna Biocenter, Vienna, Austria.

Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors induce cell cycle arrest, differentiation or apoptosis in tumour cells and are, therefore, promising anti-cancer reagents. However, the specific HDAC isoforms that mediate these effects are not yet identified. To explore the role of HDAC1 in tumourigenesis and tumour proliferation, we established an experimental teratoma model using wild-type and HDAC1-deficient embryonic stem cells. HDAC1-deficient teratomas showed no significant difference in size compared with wild-type teratomas. Surprisingly, loss of HDAC1 was not only linked to increased apoptosis, but also to significantly enhanced proliferation. Epithelial structures showed reduced differentiation as monitored by Oct3/4 expression and changed E-cadherin localization and displayed up-regulated expression of SNAIL1, a regulator of epithelial cell plasticity. Increased levels of the transcriptional regulator SNAIL1 are crucial for enhanced proliferation and reduced differentiation of HDAC1-deficient teratoma. Importantly, the analysis of human teratomas revealed a similar link between loss of HDAC1 and enhanced tumour malignancy. These findings reveal a novel role for HDAC1 in the control of tumour proliferation and identify HDAC1 as potential marker for benign teratomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/emboj.2010.264DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3020644PMC
December 2010

The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21 is a crucial target for histone deacetylase 1 as a regulator of cellular proliferation.

Mol Cell Biol 2010 Mar 22;30(5):1171-81. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna Biocenter, Dr. Bohr-Gasse 9/2, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.

Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are chromatin-modifying enzymes that are involved in the regulation of proliferation, differentiation and development. HDAC inhibitors induce cell cycle arrest, differentiation, or apoptosis in tumor cells and are therefore promising antitumor agents. Numerous genes were found to be deregulated upon HDAC inhibitor treatment; however, the relevant target enzymes are still unidentified. HDAC1 is required for mouse development and unrestricted proliferation of embryonic stem cells. We show here that HDAC1 reversibly regulates cellular proliferation and represses the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21 in embryonic stem cells. Disruption of the p21 gene rescues the proliferation phenotype of HDAC1(-/-) embryonic stem cells but not the embryonic lethality of HDAC1(-/-) mice. In the absence of HDAC1, mouse embryonic fibroblasts scarcely undergo spontaneous immortalization and display increased p21 expression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrate a direct regulation of the p21 gene by HDAC1 in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Transformation with simian virus 40 large T antigen or ablation of p21 restores normal immortalization of primary HDAC1(-/-) fibroblasts. Our data demonstrate that repression of the p21 gene is crucial for HDAC1-mediated control of proliferation and immortalization. HDAC1 might therefore be one of the relevant targets for HDAC inhibitors as anticancer drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.01500-09DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2820891PMC
March 2010

Desmin stimulates differentiation of cardiomyocytes and up-regulation of brachyury and nkx2.5.

Differentiation 2007 Sep 23;75(7):605-15. Epub 2007 Mar 23.

Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Medical University of Vienna, Dr. Bohrgasse 9, A1030 Vienna, Austria.

Desmin contributes to structural integrity and function of the myocardium but its function seems to be redundant in early cardiomyogenesis in the desmin null mouse model. To test the hypothesis that desmin also plays a supportive role in cardiomyogenic commitment and early differentiation of cardiomyocytes we investigated cardiomyogenesis in embryoid bodies expressing different desmin alleles. Constitutive expression of desmin and increased synthesis during mesoderm formation led to the up-regulation of brachyury and nkx2.5 genes, accelerated early cardiomyogenesis and resulted in the development of large, proliferating, highly interconnected, and synchronously beating cardiomyocyte clusters, whereas desmin null cardiomyocytes featured an opposite phenotype. In contrast, constitutive expression of amino-terminally truncated desmin(Delta1-48) interfered with the beginning of cardiomyogenesis, caused down-regulation of mesodermal and myocardial transcription factors, and hampered myofibrillogenesis and survival of cardiomyocytes. These results provide first evidence that a type III intermediate filament protein takes part in regulating the differentiation of mesoderm to cardiomyocytes at the very beginning of cardiomyogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1432-0436.2007.00162.xDOI Listing
September 2007

Differentiation of cardiomyocytes requires functional serine residues within the amino-terminal domain of desmin.

Differentiation 2007 Sep 23;75(7):616-26. Epub 2007 Mar 23.

Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Medical University of Vienna, Dr. Bohrgasse 9, A1030 Vienna, Austria.

Desmin contributes to the stability of the myocardium and its amino-terminal domain influences intermediate filament formation and interacts with a variety of proteins and DNAs. Specific serine residues located in this domain are reversibly phosphorylated in a cell cycle and developmental stage-dependent manner as has been demonstrated also for other cytoplasmic type III intermediate filament proteins. Although absence of desmin apparently does not affect cardiomyogenesis, homozygous deletion of the amino-terminal domain of desmin severely inhibited in vitro cardiomyogenesis. To demonstrate the significance of phosphorylation of this domain in cardiomyogenic commitment and differentiation, we inhibited phosphorylation of serine residues 6, 7, and 8 by mutation to alanine, and investigated early cardiomyogenesis in heterozygous embryoid bodies. As control, serine residues 31 and 32, which are not phosphorylated by kinases mutating serine residues 6, 7, and 8, were mutated to alanine in a second set. Desmin(S6,7,8A) interfered with cardiomyogenesis and myofibrillogenesis in a dominant negative fashion, whereas desmin(S31,32A) produced only a mild phenotype. Desmin(S6,7,8A) led to the down-regulation of the transcription factor genes brachyury, goosecoid, nkx2.5, and mef2C and increased apoptosis of presumptive mesoderm and differentiating cardiomyocytes. Surviving cardiomyocytes which were few in number had no myofibrils. Demonstration that some but not any mutant desmin interfered with the very beginning of cardiomyogenesis suggests an important function of temporarily phosphorylated serine residues 6, 7, and 8 in the amino-terminal domain of desmin in cardiomyogenic commitment and differentiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1432-0436.2007.00163.xDOI Listing
September 2007

Parietal endoderm secreted S100A4 promotes early cardiomyogenesis in embryoid bodies.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2006 May 9;343(2):555-63. Epub 2006 Mar 9.

Max F. Perutz Laboratories, University Institutes at the Vienna Biocenter, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Division of Molecular Cell Biology, Medical University of Vienna, Dr. Bohrgasse 9, A1030 Vienna, Austria.

Cardiomyogenesis is influenced by factors secreted by anterior-lateral and extra-embryonic endoderm. Differentiation of embryonic stem cells in embryoid bodies allows to study the influence of growth factors on cardiomyogenesis. By these means SPARC was identified as a new factor enhancing cardiomyogenesis [M. Stary, W. Pasteiner, A. Summer, A. Hrdina, A. Eger, G. Weitzer, Parietal endoderm secreted SPARC promotes early cardiomyogenesis in vitro, Exp. Cell Res. 310 (2005) 331-341]. Here we report a similar and new function for S100A4, a calcium-binding protein of the EF-hand type. S100A4 is secreted by parietal endoderm and promotes early differentiation and proliferation of cardiomyocytes. Oligomeric S100A4 supports cardiomyogenesis in a concentration-dependent manner, whereas inhibition of autocrine S100A4 severely attenuates cardiomyogenesis. S100A4 specifically influences transcription in differentiating cardiomyocytes, as evident from increased expression of cardiac transcription factor genes nkx2.5 and mef2C. These data suggest that S100A4, like SPARC, plays a supportive role in early in vitro cardiomyogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.02.161DOI Listing
May 2006

Parietal endoderm secreted SPARC promotes early cardiomyogenesis in vitro.

Exp Cell Res 2005 Nov 13;310(2):331-43. Epub 2005 Sep 13.

Max F. Perutz Laboratories, University Institutes at the Vienna Biocenter, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Division of Molecular Cell Biology, Medical University of Vienna, Dr. Bohrgasse 9, A1030 Vienna, Austria.

Cardiomyogenesis proceeds in the presence of signals emanating from extra-embryonic lineages emerging before and during early eutherian gastrulation. In embryonic stem cell derived embryoid bodies, primitive endoderm gives rise to visceral and parietal endoderm. Parietal endoderm undergoes an epithelial to mesenchymal transition shortly before first cardiomyocytes start to contract rhythmically. Here, we demonstrate that Secreted Protein, Acidic, Rich in Cysteine, SPARC, predominantly secreted by mesenchymal parietal endoderm specifically promotes early myocardial cell differentiation in embryoid bodies. SPARC enhanced the expression of bmp2 and nkx2.5 in embryoid bodies and fetal cardiomyocytes. Inhibition of either SPARC or Bmp2 attenuated in both cases cardiomyogenesis and downregulated nkx2.5 expression. Thus, SPARC directly affects cardiomyogenesis, modulates Bmp2 signaling, and contributes to a positive autoregulatory loop of Bmp2 and Nkx2.5 in cardiomyocytes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yexcr.2005.07.013DOI Listing
November 2005

Single inner cell masses yield embryonic stem cell lines differing in lifr expression and their developmental potential.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2005 Jun;331(4):1577-86

Max F. Perutz Laboratories, University Institutes at the Vienna Biocenter, Department of Medical Biochemistry, Division of Molecular Cell Biology, Medical University of Vienna, Dr. Bohrgasse 9, A1030 Vienna, Austria.

The unique differentiation potential of inner cell mass derived embryonic stem cells together with their outstanding self-renewal capacity makes them a desirable source for somatic cell therapy of human diseases. Somatic cells are gained by in vitro differentiation of embryonic stem cells, however, the differentiation potential of embryonic stem cells varied even between isogenic cell lines. Variable differentiation potentials may either be a consequence of an inherent inhomogeneity of gene expression in the inner cell mass or may have technical reasons. To understand variations in the differentiation potential, we generated pairs of isogenic, monozygotic twin, and single inner cell mass derived clonal embryonic stem cell lines, and demonstrate that they differentially express the leukaemia inhibitory factor receptor gene. Variations of leukaemia inhibitory factor receptor protein levels are already evident in the inner cell mass and predispose the cardiomyogenic potential of embryonic stem cell lines in a Janus activated kinase dependent manner. Thus, a single inner cell mass may give rise to embryonic stem cell lines with different developmental potentials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2005.04.068DOI Listing
June 2005

Amino-terminally truncated desmin rescues fusion of des(-/-) myoblasts but negatively affects cardiomyogenesis and smooth muscle development.

FEBS Lett 2002 Jul;523(1-3):229-33

Institute of Medical Biochemistry, Vienna Bio Center, University of Vienna, Dr. Bohrgasse 9, A-1030, Vienna, Austria.

Desmin fulfils important functions in maintenance of muscle cells and mutations in the desmin gene have been linked to a variety of myopathies. To ascertain the role of desmin's amino-terminal domain in muscle cells we generated embryonic stem cells constitutively expressing desmin(Delta1-48) in a null background and investigated muscle cell development in vitro. Desmin(Delta1-48) lacking the first 48 amino acid residues promotes fusion of myoblasts, rescues myogenesis and down-regulates vimentin expression in embryoid bodies, but hampers cardiomyogenesis and blocks smooth muscle development. These results demonstrate that desmin's amino-terminus has different roles in skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle cell development and function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0014-5793(02)02995-2DOI Listing
July 2002

Essential function of histone deacetylase 1 in proliferation control and CDK inhibitor repression.

EMBO J 2002 Jun;21(11):2672-81

Institute of Medical Biochemistry, Division of Molecular Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna Biocenter, Dr Bohr-Gasse 9/2, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.

Histone deacetylases (HDACs) modulate chromatin structure and transcription, but little is known about their function in mammalian development. HDAC1 was implicated previously in the repression of genes required for cell proliferation and differentiation. Here we show that targeted disruption of both HDAC1 alleles results in embryonic lethality before E10.5 due to severe proliferation defects and retardation in development. HDAC1-deficient embryonic stem cells show reduced proliferation rates, which correlate with decreased cyclin-associated kinase activities and elevated levels of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21(WAF1/CIP1) and p27(KIP1). Similarly, expression of p21 and p27 is up-regulated in HDAC1-null embryos. In addition, loss of HDAC1 leads to significantly reduced overall deacetylase activity, hyperacetylation of a subset of histones H3 and H4 and concomitant changes in other histone modifications. The expression of HDAC2 and HDAC3 is induced in HDAC1-deficient cells, but cannot compensate for loss of the enzyme, suggesting a unique function for HDAC1. Our study provides the first evidence that a histone deacetylase is essential for unrestricted cell proliferation by repressing the expression of selective cell cycle inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/emboj/21.11.2672DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC126040PMC
June 2002