The Transcriptional Regulation of Stem Cell Differentiation Programs by Hedgehog Signalling

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Title: The Transcriptional Regulation of Stem Cell Differentiation Programs by Hedgehog Signalling
Authors: Voronova, Anastassia
Date: 2012
Abstract: The Hedgehog (Hh) signalling pathway is one of the key signalling pathways orchestrating intricate organogenesis, including the development of neural tube, heart and skeletal muscle. Yet, insufficient mechanistic understanding of its diverse roles is available. Here, we show the molecular mechanisms regulating the neurogenic, cardiogenic and myogenic properties of Hh signalling, via effector protein Gli2, in embryonic and adult stem cells. In Chapter 2, we show that Gli2 induces neurogenesis, whereas a dominant-negative form of Gli2 delays neurogenesis in P19 embryonal carcinoma (EC) cells, a mouse embryonic stem (ES) cell model. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Gli2 associates with Ascl1/Mash1 gene elements in differentiating P19 cells and activates the Ascl1/Mash1 promoter in vitro. Thus, Gli2 mediates neurogenesis in P19 cells at least in part by directly regulating Ascl1/Mash1 expression. In Chapter 3, we demonstrate that Gli2 and MEF2C bind each other’s regulatory elements and regulate each other’s expression while enhancing cardiomyogenesis in P19 cells. Furthermore, dominant-negative Gli2 and MEF2C proteins downregulate each other’s expression while imparing cardiomyogenesis. Lastly, we show that Gli2 and MEF2C form a protein complex, which synergistically activates cardiac muscle related promoters. In Chapter 4, we illustrate that Gli2 associates with MyoD gene elements while enhancing skeletal myogenesis in P19 cells and activates the MyoD promoter in vitro. Furthermore, inhibition of Hh signalling in muscle satellite cells and in proliferating myoblasts leads to reduction in MyoD and MEF2C expression. Finally, we demonstrate that endogenous Hh signalling is important for MyoD transcriptional activity and that Gli2, MEF2C and MyoD form a protein complex capable of inducing skeletal muscle-specific gene expression. Thus, Gli2, MEF2C and MyoD participate in a regulatory loop and form a protein complex capable of inducing skeletal muscle-specific gene expression. Our results provide a link between the regulation of tissue-restricted factors like Mash1, MEF2C and MyoD, and a general signal-regulated Gli2 transcription factor. We therefore provide novel mechanistic insights into the neurogenic, cardiogenic and myogenic properties of Gli2 in vitro, and offer novel plausible explanations for its in vivo functions. These results may also be important for the development of stem cell therapy strategies.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/23223
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-6475
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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