Publications by authors named "Odelya Hartung"

10 Publications

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Zebrafish vasa is required for germ-cell differentiation and maintenance.

Mol Reprod Dev 2014 Oct 25;81(10):946-61. Epub 2014 Sep 25.

Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, Bronx, New York.

Vasa is a universal marker of the germ line in animals, yet mutations disrupting vasa cause sexually dimorphic infertility, with impaired development of the ovary in some animals and the testis in others. The basis for this sexually dimorphic requirement for Vasa is not clear; in most animals examined, both the male and female gonad express vasa throughout the life of the germ line. Here we characterized a loss-of-function mutation disrupting zebrafish vasa. We show that maternally provided Vasa is stable through the first ten days of development in zebrafish, and thus likely fulfills any early roles for Vasa during germ-line specification, migration, survival, and maintenance. Although zygotic Vasa is not essential for the development of juvenile gonads, vasa mutants develop exclusively as sterile males. Furthermore, phenotypes of vasa;p53 compound mutants are indistinguishable from those of vasa mutants, therefore the failure of vasa mutants to differentiate as females and to support germ-cell development in the testis is not due to p53-mediated apoptosis. Instead, we found that failure to progress beyond the pachytene stage of meiosis causes the loss of germ-line stem cells, leaving empty somatic tubules. Our studies provide insight into the function of zebrafish vasa during female meiosis, differentiation, and maintenance of germ-line stem cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mrd.22414DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4198436PMC
October 2014

Oocyte polarity requires a Bucky ball-dependent feedback amplification loop.

Development 2014 Feb;141(4):842-54

Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.

In vertebrates, the first asymmetries are established along the animal-vegetal axis during oogenesis, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Bucky ball (Buc) was identified in zebrafish as a novel vertebrate-specific regulator of oocyte polarity, acting through unknown molecular interactions. Here we show that endogenous Buc protein localizes to the Balbiani body, a conserved, asymmetric structure in oocytes that requires Buc for its formation. Asymmetric distribution of Buc in oocytes precedes Balbiani body formation, defining Buc as the earliest marker of oocyte polarity in zebrafish. Through a transgenic strategy, we determined that excess Buc disrupts polarity and results in supernumerary Balbiani bodies in a 3'UTR-dependent manner, and we identified roles for the buc introns in regulating Buc activity. Analyses of mosaic ovaries indicate that oocyte pattern determines the number of animal pole-specific micropylar cells that are associated with an egg via a close-range signal or direct cell contact. We demonstrate interactions between Buc protein and buc mRNA with two conserved RNA-binding proteins (RNAbps) that are localized to the Balbiani body: RNA binding protein with multiple splice isoforms 2 (Rbpms2) and Deleted in azoospermia-like (Dazl). Buc protein and buc mRNA interact with Rbpms2; buc and dazl mRNAs interact with Dazl protein. Cumulatively, these studies indicate that oocyte polarization depends on tight regulation of buc: Buc establishes oocyte polarity through interactions with RNAbps, initiating a feedback amplification mechanism in which Buc protein recruits RNAbps that in turn recruit buc and other RNAs to the Balbiani body.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.090449DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3912829PMC
February 2014

Pluripotent stem cell models of Shwachman-Diamond syndrome reveal a common mechanism for pancreatic and hematopoietic dysfunction.

Cell Stem Cell 2013 Jun 18;12(6):727-36. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Boston Children's Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), a rare autosomal-recessive disorder characterized by exocrine pancreatic insufficiency and hematopoietic dysfunction, is caused by mutations in the Shwachman-Bodian-Diamond syndrome (SBDS) gene. We created human pluripotent stem cell models of SDS through knockdown of SBDS in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and generation of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from two patients with SDS. SBDS-deficient hESCs and iPSCs manifest deficits in exocrine pancreatic and hematopoietic differentiation in vitro, enhanced apoptosis, and elevated protease levels in culture supernatants, which could be reversed by restoring SBDS protein expression through transgene rescue or by supplementing culture media with protease inhibitors. Protease-mediated autodigestion provides a mechanistic link between the pancreatic and hematopoietic phenotypes in SDS, highlighting the utility of hESCs and iPSCs in obtaining novel insights into human disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2013.04.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3755012PMC
June 2013

Induced pluripotent stem cells with a mitochondrial DNA deletion.

Stem Cells 2013 Jul;31(7):1287-97

Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

In congenital mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) disorders, a mixture of normal and mutated mtDNA (termed heteroplasmy) exists at varying levels in different tissues, which determines the severity and phenotypic expression of disease. Pearson marrow pancreas syndrome (PS) is a congenital bone marrow failure disorder caused by heteroplasmic deletions in mtDNA. The cause of the hematopoietic failure in PS is unknown, and adequate cellular and animal models are lacking. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are particularly amenable for studying mtDNA disorders, as cytoplasmic genetic material is retained during direct reprogramming. Here, we derive and characterize iPS cells from a patient with PS. Taking advantage of the tendency for heteroplasmy to change with cell passage, we isolated isogenic PS-iPS cells without detectable levels of deleted mtDNA. We found that PS-iPS cells carrying a high burden of deleted mtDNA displayed differences in growth, mitochondrial function, and hematopoietic phenotype when differentiated in vitro, compared to isogenic iPS cells without deleted mtDNA. Our results demonstrate that reprogramming somatic cells from patients with mtDNA disorders can yield pluripotent stem cells with varying burdens of heteroplasmy that might be useful in the study and treatment of mitochondrial diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/stem.1354DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3692613PMC
July 2013

Dynamic instability of genomic methylation patterns in pluripotent stem cells.

Epigenetics Chromatin 2010 Sep 24;3(1):17. Epub 2010 Sep 24.

Department of Genetics and Development, Columbia University, New York, USA.

Background: Genomic methylation patterns are established during gametogenesis, and perpetuated in somatic cells by faithful maintenance methylation. There have been previous indications that genomic methylation patterns may be less stable in embryonic stem (ES) cells than in differentiated somatic cells, but it is not known whether different mechanisms of de novo and maintenance methylation operate in pluripotent stem cells compared with differentiating somatic cells.

Results: In this paper, we show that ablation of the DNA methyltransferase regulator DNMT3L (DNA methyltransferase 3-like) in mouse ES cells renders them essentially incapable of de novo methylation of newly integrated retroviral DNA. We also show that ES cells lacking DNMT3L lose DNA methylation over time in culture, suggesting that DNA methylation in ES cells is the result of dynamic loss and gain of DNA methylation. We found that wild-type female ES cells lose DNA methylation at a much faster rate than do male ES cells; this defect could not be attributed to sex-specific differences in expression of DNMT3L or of any DNA methyltransferase. We also found that human ES and induced pluripotent stem cell lines showed marked but variable loss of methylation that could not be attributed to sex chromosome constitution or time in culture.

Conclusions: These data indicate that DNA methylation in pluripotent stem cells is much more dynamic and error-prone than is maintenance methylation in differentiated cells. DNA methylation requires DNMT3L in stem cells, but DNMT3L is not expressed in differentiating somatic cells. Error-prone maintenance methylation will introduce unpredictable phenotypic variation into clonal populations of pluripotent stem cells, and this variation is likely to be much more pronounced in cultured female cells. This epigenetic variability has obvious negative implications for the clinical applications of stem cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-8935-3-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2954997PMC
September 2010

Clump passaging and expansion of human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells on mouse embryonic fibroblast feeder cells.

Curr Protoc Stem Cell Biol 2010 Aug;Chapter 1:Unit 1C.10

Stem Cell Program, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

The ability of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to differentiate into essentially all somatic cell types has made them a valuable tool for studying human development and has positioned them for broad applications in toxicology, regenerative medicine, and drug discovery. This unit describes a protocol for the large-scale expansion and maintenance of hESCs in vitro. hESC cultures must maintain a balance between the cellular states of pluripotency and differentiation; thus, researchers must use care when growing these technically demanding cells. The culture system is based largely on the use of a proprietary serum-replacement product and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), with mouse embryonic fibroblasts as a feeder layer. These conditions provide the basis for relatively inexpensive maintenance and expansion of hESCs, as well as their engineered counterparts, human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470151808.sc01c10s14DOI Listing
August 2010

Reprogramming of T cells from human peripheral blood.

Cell Stem Cell 2010 Jul;7(1):15-9

Division of Pediatric Hematology Oncology, Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Children's Hospital Boston and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2010.06.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2913590PMC
July 2010

Heat shock memory in preimplantation mouse embryos.

Fertil Steril 2010 May 7;93(8):2760-3. Epub 2010 Apr 7.

Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454, USA.

To investigate the consequences of possible physiologic stress to embryos caused by in vitro fertilization procedures, we used heat shock response in preimplantation mouse embryos as a model. A heat shock "memory" was discovered that renders cleavage-stage embryos more responsive at the transcriptional level to secondary perturbation with very low doses of heat, even several cell cycles after the initial stress has occurred.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.02.031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2873134PMC
May 2010

Live cell imaging distinguishes bona fide human iPS cells from partially reprogrammed cells.

Nat Biotechnol 2009 Nov 11;27(11):1033-7. Epub 2009 Oct 11.

Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital Boston and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Somatic cells can be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells by enforced expression of transcription factors. Using serial live imaging of human fibroblasts undergoing reprogramming, we identified distinct colony types that morphologically resemble embryonic stem (ES) cells yet differ in molecular phenotype and differentiation potential. By analyzing expression of pluripotency markers, methylation at the OCT4 and NANOG promoters and differentiation into teratomas, we determined that only one colony type represents true iPS cells, whereas the others represent reprogramming intermediates. Proviral silencing and expression of TRA-1-60, DNMT3B and REX1 can be used to distinguish the fully reprogrammed state, whereas alkaline phosphatase, SSEA-4, GDF3, hTERT and NANOG are insufficient as markers. We also show that reprogramming using chemically defined medium favors formation of fully reprogrammed over partially reprogrammed colonies. Our data define molecular markers of the fully reprogrammed state and highlight the need for rigorous characterization and standardization of putative iPS cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt.1580DOI Listing
November 2009

Single-cell duplex RT-LATE-PCR reveals Oct4 and Xist RNA gradients in 8-cell embryos.

BMC Biotechnol 2007 Dec 7;7:87. Epub 2007 Dec 7.

Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454-9110, USA.

Background: The formation of two distinctive cell lineages in preimplantation mouse embryos is characterized by differential gene expression. The cells of the inner cell mass are pluripotent and express high levels of Oct4 mRNA, which is down-regulated in the surrounding trophectoderm. In contrast, the trophectoderm of female embryos contains Xist mRNA, which is absent from cells of the inner mass. Prior to blastocyst formation, all blastomeres of female embryos still express both of these RNAs. We, thus, postulated that simultaneous quantification of Oct4 and Xist transcripts in individual blastomeres at the 8-cell stage could be informative as to their subsequent fate. Testing this hypothesis, however, presented numerous technical challenges. We overcame these difficulties by combining PurAmp, a single-tube method for RNA preparation and quantification, with LATE-PCR, an advanced form of asymmetric PCR.

Results: We constructed a duplex RT-LATE-PCR assay for real-time measurement of Oct4 and Xist templates and confirmed its specificity and quantitative accuracy with different methods. We then undertook analysis of sets of blastomeres isolated from embryos at the 8-cell stage. At this stage, all cells in the embryo are still pluripotent and morphologically equivalent. Our results demonstrate, however, that both Oct4 and Xist RNA levels vary in individual blastomeres comprising the same embryo, with some cells having particularly elevated levels of either transcript. Analysis of multiple embryos also shows that Xist and Oct4 expression levels are not correlated at the 8-cell stage, although transcription of both genes is up-regulated at this time in development. In addition, comparison of data from males and females allowed us to determine that the efficiency of the Oct4/Xist assay is unaffected by sex-related differences in gene expression.

Conclusion: This paper describes the first example of multiplex RT-LATE-PCR and its utility, when combined with PurAmp sample preparation, for quantitative analysis of transcript levels in single cells. With this technique, copy numbers of different RNAs can be accurately measured independently from their relative abundance in a cell, a goal that cannot be achieved using symmetric PCR. The technique illustrated in this work is relevant to a wide array of applications, such as stem cell and cancer cell analysis and preimplantation genetic diagnostics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6750-7-87DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2246118PMC
December 2007