Publications by authors named "Sabine Loewer"

10 Publications

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Human endogenous retrovirus K (HML-2) RNA and protein expression is a marker for human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells.

Retrovirology 2013 Oct 24;10:115. Epub 2013 Oct 24.

Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines, Paul-Ehrlich-Str, 51-59, D- 63225 Langen, Germany.

Background: Malignant human embryonal carcinoma cells (ECCs) rely on similar transcriptional networks as non-malignant embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to control selfrenewal, maintain pluripotency, and inhibit differentiation. Because re-activation of silenced HERV-K(HML-2) loci is a hallmark of ECCs, we asked if this HERV group was also reactivated in ESCs and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

Findings: Using RT-PCR and Western Blot, we demonstrate HERV-K(HML-2) RNA and protein expression in undifferentiated human ESCs and iPSCs. Induction of differentiation by embryoid body formation resulted in rapid silencing of HERV-K(HML-2) provirus expression. Sequencing analysis of a conserved region of the gag gene showed that proviral expression in ESCs and iPSCs represents at least 11 of the 66 nearly full length HERV-K(HML-2) loci, with slightly varying patterns in individual cell lines. These proviruses are human specific integrations and harbor promoter competent long terminal repeats (LTR5hs subgroup). We observed high mRNA levels of the NP9 and Gag encoding proviruses K101(22q11.21) in all and K10(5q33.3) in most of the ECC, ESC, and iPSC lines tested, while K37(11q23.3) mRNA was detected only in ESCs and iPSCs. In addition, we detected expression of proviral mRNA encoding the RNA export adaptor Rec in all cell lines studied. Proviral mRNA originating from the K108(7p22.1) locus, which inter alia codes for functional Rec and Env proteins, was only reactivated in malignant ECC lines, not in benign ESCs or iPSCs.

Conclusions: HERV-K(HML-2) RNA and protein expression is a marker for pluripotent human stem cells. Initiation of differentiation results in rapid down-regulation. Further studies are needed to explore a putative functional role of HERV-K(HML-2) RNA and proteins in pluripotent stem cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1742-4690-10-115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819666PMC
October 2013

Signaling axis involving Hedgehog, Notch, and Scl promotes the embryonic endothelial-to-hematopoietic transition.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2013 Jan 12;110(2):E141-50. Epub 2012 Dec 12.

Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Manton Center for Orphan Disease Research, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston Children's Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

During development, the hematopoietic lineage transits through hemogenic endothelium, but the signaling pathways effecting this transition are incompletely characterized. Although the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway is hypothesized to play a role in patterning blood formation, early embryonic lethality of mice lacking Hh signaling precludes such analysis. To determine a role for Hh signaling in patterning of hemogenic endothelium, we assessed the effect of altered Hh signaling in differentiating mouse ES cells, cultured mouse embryos, and developing zebrafish embryos. In differentiating mouse ES cells and mouse yolk sac cultures, addition of Indian Hh ligand increased hematopoietic progenitors, whereas chemical inhibition of Hh signaling reduced hematopoietic progenitors without affecting primitive streak mesoderm formation. In the setting of Hh inhibition, induction of either Notch signaling or overexpression of Stem cell leukemia (Scl)/T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia protein 1 rescued hemogenic vascular-endothelial cadherin(+) cells and hematopoietic progenitor formation. Together, our results reveal that Scl overexpression is sufficient to rescue the developmental defects caused by blocking the Hh and Notch pathways, and inform our understanding of the embryonic endothelial-to-hematopoietic transition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1214361110DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3545793PMC
January 2013

The transcriptional landscape of hematopoietic stem cell ontogeny.

Cell Stem Cell 2012 Nov;11(5):701-14

Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Transcriptome analysis of adult hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and their progeny has revealed mechanisms of blood differentiation and leukemogenesis, but a similar analysis of HSC development is lacking. Here, we acquired the transcriptomes of developing HSCs purified from >2,500 murine embryos and adult mice. We found that embryonic hematopoietic elements clustered into three distinct transcriptional states characteristic of the definitive yolk sac, HSCs undergoing specification, and definitive HSCs. We applied a network-biology-based analysis to reconstruct the gene regulatory networks of sequential stages of HSC development and functionally validated candidate transcriptional regulators of HSC ontogeny by morpholino-mediated knockdown in zebrafish embryos. Moreover, we found that HSCs from in vitro differentiated embryonic stem cells closely resemble definitive HSCs, yet lack a Notch-signaling signature, likely accounting for their defective lymphopoiesis. Our analysis and web resource will enhance efforts to identify regulators of HSC ontogeny and facilitate the engineering of hematopoietic specification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2012.07.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3545475PMC
November 2012

Live-cell immunofluorescence staining of human pluripotent stem cells.

Curr Protoc Stem Cell Biol 2011 Dec;Chapter 1:Unit 1C.12

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

Antibodies are instrumental tools in stem cell identification, purification, and analysis. Most commonly, cell samples are either dissociated to obtain a single-cell suspension suitable for FACS analysis or cell sorting, or fixed in situ for immunostaining and fluorescence microscopy imaging. This unit describes an alternative method in which live adherent cells are stained and imaged in situ without the need for cell dissociation, fixation, or fluorescent reporter genes. This minimally invasive method is particularly useful for identification and distinction of fully and partially reprogrammed induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The unit also describes the use of mCD49e and hCD29 antibodies in live-cell (vital) imaging. mCD49e strongly stains mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) feeder cells in human pluripotent stem cell cultures, whereas hCD29 recognizes an antigen expressed on undifferentiated and many differentiated cells. A distinguishing feature of hCD29 in live-cell staining is that its antigen is precluded from detection wherever cells have formed tight epithelial junctions (e.g., in the center but not the periphery of pluripotent stem cell colonies) due to basolateral location. A non-fluorescent fixed-cell staining protocol is also provided for medium- to high-throughput quantification of stem cell experiments without an automated microscope. The discussion addresses technical limitations, pitfalls, troubleshooting, and potential applications, such as identification of emerging bona fide human iPSC colonies in reprogramming experiments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470151808.sc01c12s19DOI Listing
December 2011

Midbody accumulation through evasion of autophagy contributes to cellular reprogramming and tumorigenicity.

Nat Cell Biol 2011 Sep 11;13(10):1214-23. Epub 2011 Sep 11.

Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605, USA.

The midbody is a singular organelle formed between daughter cells during cytokinesis and required for their final separation. Midbodies persist in cells long after division as midbody derivatives (MB(d)s), but their fate is unclear. Here we show that MB(d)s are inherited asymmetrically by the daughter cell with the older centrosome. They selectively accumulate in stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells and potential cancer 'stem cells' in vivo and in vitro. MB(d) loss accompanies stem-cell differentiation, and involves autophagic degradation mediated by binding of the autophagic receptor NBR1 to the midbody protein CEP55. Differentiating cells and normal dividing cells do not accumulate MB(d)s and possess high autophagic activity. Stem cells and cancer cells accumulate MB(d)s by evading autophagosome encapsulation and exhibit low autophagic activity. MB(d) enrichment enhances reprogramming to induced pluripotent stem cells and increases the in vitro tumorigenicity of cancer cells. These results indicate unexpected roles for MB(d)s in stem cells and cancer 'stem cells'.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncb2332DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4208311PMC
September 2011

Large intergenic non-coding RNA-RoR modulates reprogramming of human induced pluripotent stem cells.

Nat Genet 2010 Dec 7;42(12):1113-7. Epub 2010 Nov 7.

Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Manton Center for Orphan Disease Research, Children's Hospital Boston and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

The conversion of lineage-committed cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by reprogramming is accompanied by a global remodeling of the epigenome, resulting in altered patterns of gene expression. Here we characterize the transcriptional reorganization of large intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) that occurs upon derivation of human iPSCs and identify numerous lincRNAs whose expression is linked to pluripotency. Among these, we defined ten lincRNAs whose expression was elevated in iPSCs compared with embryonic stem cells, suggesting that their activation may promote the emergence of iPSCs. Supporting this, our results indicate that these lincRNAs are direct targets of key pluripotency transcription factors. Using loss-of-function and gain-of-function approaches, we found that one such lincRNA (lincRNA-RoR) modulates reprogramming, thus providing a first demonstration for critical functions of lincRNAs in the derivation of pluripotent stem cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.710DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3040650PMC
December 2010

Telomere elongation in induced pluripotent stem cells from dyskeratosis congenita patients.

Nature 2010 Mar 17;464(7286):292-6. Epub 2010 Feb 17.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Patients with dyskeratosis congenita (DC), a disorder of telomere maintenance, suffer degeneration of multiple tissues. Patient-specific induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells represent invaluable in vitro models for human degenerative disorders like DC. A cardinal feature of iPS cells is acquisition of indefinite self-renewal capacity, which is accompanied by induction of the telomerase reverse transcriptase gene (TERT). We investigated whether defects in telomerase function would limit derivation and maintenance of iPS cells from patients with DC. Here we show that reprogrammed DC cells overcome a critical limitation in telomerase RNA component (TERC) levels to restore telomere maintenance and self-renewal. We discovered that TERC upregulation is a feature of the pluripotent state, that several telomerase components are targeted by pluripotency-associated transcription factors, and that in autosomal dominant DC, transcriptional silencing accompanies a 3' deletion at the TERC locus. Our results demonstrate that reprogramming restores telomere elongation in DC cells despite genetic lesions affecting telomerase, and show that strategies to increase TERC expression may be therapeutically beneficial in DC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature08792DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3058620PMC
March 2010

Differential methylation of tissue- and cancer-specific CpG island shores distinguishes human induced pluripotent stem cells, embryonic stem cells and fibroblasts.

Nat Genet 2009 Dec 1;41(12):1350-3. Epub 2009 Nov 1.

Center for Epigenetics and Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are derived by epigenetic reprogramming, but their DNA methylation patterns have not yet been analyzed on a genome-wide scale. Here, we find substantial hypermethylation and hypomethylation of cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) island shores in nine human iPS cell lines as compared to their parental fibroblasts. The differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in the reprogrammed cells (denoted R-DMRs) were significantly enriched in tissue-specific (T-DMRs; 2.6-fold, P < 10(-4)) and cancer-specific DMRs (C-DMRs; 3.6-fold, P < 10(-4)). Notably, even though the iPS cells are derived from fibroblasts, their R-DMRs can distinguish between normal brain, liver and spleen cells and between colon cancer and normal colon cells. Thus, many DMRs are broadly involved in tissue differentiation, epigenetic reprogramming and cancer. We observed colocalization of hypomethylated R-DMRs with hypermethylated C-DMRs and bivalent chromatin marks, and colocalization of hypermethylated R-DMRs with hypomethylated C-DMRs and the absence of bivalent marks, suggesting two mechanisms for epigenetic reprogramming in iPS cells and cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.471DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2958040PMC
December 2009

Surface antigen phenotypes of hematopoietic stem cells from embryos and murine embryonic stem cells.

Blood 2009 Jul 6;114(2):268-78. Epub 2009 May 6.

Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Manton Center for Orphan Diseases, Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Surface antigens on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) enable prospective isolation and characterization. Here, we compare the cell-surface phenotype of hematopoietic repopulating cells from murine yolk sac, aorta-gonad-mesonephros, placenta, fetal liver, and bone marrow with that of HSCs derived from the in vitro differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells (ESC-HSCs). Whereas c-Kit marks all HSC populations, CD41, CD45, CD34, and CD150 were developmentally regulated: the earliest embryonic HSCs express CD41 and CD34 and lack CD45 and CD150, whereas more mature HSCs lack CD41 and CD34 and express CD45 and CD150. ESC-HSCs express CD41 and CD150, lack CD34, and are heterogeneous for CD45. Finally, although CD48 was absent from all in vivo HSCs examined, ESC-HSCs were heterogeneous for the expression of this molecule. This unique phenotype signifies a developmentally immature population of cells with features of both primitive and mature HSC. The prospective fractionation of ESC-HSCs will facilitate studies of HSC maturation essential for normal functional engraftment in irradiated adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2008-12-193888DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2714203PMC
July 2009

Genetic interaction of PGE2 and Wnt signaling regulates developmental specification of stem cells and regeneration.

Cell 2009 Mar;136(6):1136-47

Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.

Interactions between developmental signaling pathways govern the formation and function of stem cells. Prostaglandin (PG) E2 regulates vertebrate hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Similarly, the Wnt signaling pathway controls HSC self-renewal and bone marrow repopulation. Here, we show that wnt reporter activity in zebrafish HSCs is responsive to PGE2 modulation, demonstrating a direct interaction in vivo. Inhibition of PGE2 synthesis blocked wnt-induced alterations in HSC formation. PGE2 modified the wnt signaling cascade at the level of beta-catenin degradation through cAMP/PKA-mediated stabilizing phosphorylation events. The PGE2/Wnt interaction regulated murine stem and progenitor populations in vitro in hematopoietic ES cell assays and in vivo following transplantation. The relationship between PGE2 and Wnt was also conserved during regeneration of other organ systems. Our work provides in vivo evidence that Wnt activation in stem cells requires PGE2, and suggests the PGE2/Wnt interaction is a master regulator of vertebrate regeneration and recovery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2009.01.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2692708PMC
March 2009