Sustained intrinsic WNT and BMP4 activation impairs hESC differentiation to definitive endoderm and drives the cells towards extra-embryonic mesoderm

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Abstract

We identified a human embryonic stem cell subline that fails to respond to the differentiation cues needed to obtain endoderm derivatives, differentiating instead into extra-embryonic mesoderm. RNA-sequencing analysis showed that the subline has hyperactivation of the WNT and BMP4 signalling. Modulation of these pathways with small molecules confirmed them as the cause of the differentiation impairment. While activation of WNT and BMP4 in control cells resulted in a loss of endoderm differentiation and induction of extra-embryonic mesoderm markers, inhibition of these pathways in the subline restored its ability to differentiate. Karyotyping and exome sequencing analysis did not identify any changes in the genome that could account for the pathway deregulation. These findings add to the increasing evidence that different responses of stem cell lines to differentiation protocols are based on genetic and epigenetic factors, inherent to the line or acquired during cell culture.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8242
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports - Nature
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021

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