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    Dynamically and epigenetically coordinated GATA/ETS/SOX transcription factor expression is indispensable for endothelial cell differentiation.
    Nucleic Acids Res 2017 May;45(8):4344-4358
    Division of Vascular Biology, RCAST, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 153-8904, Japan.
    Although studies of the differentiation from mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells to vascular endothelial cells (ECs) provide an excellent model for investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying vascular development, temporal dynamics of gene expression and chromatin modifications have not been well studied. Herein, using transcriptomic and epigenomic analyses based on H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 modifications at a genome-wide scale, we analysed the EC differentiation steps from ES cells and crucial epigenetic modifications unique to ECs. We determined that Gata2, Fli1, Sox7 and Sox18 are master regulators of EC that are induced following expression of the haemangioblast commitment pioneer factor, Etv2. These master regulator gene loci were repressed by H3K27me3 throughout the mesoderm period but rapidly transitioned to histone modification switching from H3K27me3 to H3K4me3 after treatment with vascular endothelial growth factor. SiRNA knockdown experiments indicated that these regulators are indispensable not only for proper EC differentiation but also for blocking the commitment to other closely aligned lineages. Collectively, our detailed epigenetic analysis may provide an advanced model for understanding temporal regulation of chromatin signatures and resulting gene expression profiles during EC commitment. These studies may inform the future development of methods to stimulate the vascular endothelium for regenerative medicine.

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    Genome Res 2014 Dec 15;24(12):1932-44. Epub 2014 Oct 15.
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    Combinatorial actions of relatively few transcription factors control hematopoietic differentiation. To investigate this process in erythro-megakaryopoiesis, we correlated the genome-wide chromatin occupancy signatures of four master hematopoietic transcription factors (GATA1, GATA2, TAL1, and FLI1) and three diagnostic histone modification marks with the gene expression changes that occur during development of primary cultured megakaryocytes (MEG) and primary erythroblasts (ERY) from murine fetal liver hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. We identified a robust, genome-wide mechanism of MEG-specific lineage priming by a previously described stem/progenitor cell-expressed transcription factor heptad (GATA2, LYL1, TAL1, FLI1, ERG, RUNX1, LMO2) binding to MEG-associated cis-regulatory modules (CRMs) in multipotential progenitors. Read More
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    Division of Hematology/Oncology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.
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    Profiling of transcriptional and epigenetic changes during directed endothelial differentiation of human embryonic stem cells identifies FOXA2 as a marker of early mesoderm commitment.
    Stem Cell Res Ther 2013 Apr 24;4(2):36. Epub 2013 Apr 24.
    Introduction: Differentiation of vascular endothelial cells (ECs) in clinically relevant numbers for injection into ischaemic areas could offer therapeutic potential in the treatment of cardiovascular conditions, including myocardial infarction, peripheral vascular disease and stroke. While we and others have demonstrated successful generation of functional endothelial-like cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), little is understood regarding the complex transcriptional and epigenetic changes that occur during differentiation, in particular during early commitment to a mesodermal lineage.

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    Cooperative interaction of Etv2 and Gata2 regulates the development of endothelial and hematopoietic lineages.
    Dev Biol 2014 May 26;389(2):208-18. Epub 2014 Feb 26.
    Lillehei Heart Institute, Medical School, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA. Electronic address:
    Regulatory mechanisms that govern lineage specification of the mesodermal progenitors to become endothelial and hematopoietic cells remain an area of intense interest. Both Ets and Gata factors have been shown to have important roles in the transcriptional regulation in endothelial and hematopoietic cells. We previously reported Etv2 as an essential regulator of vasculogenesis and hematopoiesis. Read More