A permissive chromatin environment coupled to hypertranscription drives the rapid proliferation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and peri-implantation embryos. We carried out a genome-wide screen to systematically dissect the regulation of the euchromatic state of ESCs. The results revealed that cellular growth pathways, most prominently translation, perpetuate the euchromatic state and hypertranscription of ESCs. Acute inhibition of translation rapidly depletes euchromatic marks in mouse ESCs and blastocysts, concurrent with delocalization of RNA polymerase II and reduction in nascent transcription. Translation inhibition promotes rewiring of chromatin accessibility, which decreases at a subset of active developmental enhancers and increases at histone genes and transposable elements. Proteome-scale analyses revealed that several euchromatin regulators are unstable proteins and continuously depend on a high translational output. We propose that this mechanistic interdependence of euchromatin, transcription, and translation sets the pace of proliferation at peri-implantation and may be employed by other stem/progenitor cells.
Ethanol causes fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) partly by inhibiting cell adhesion mediated by the L1 neural cell adhesion molecule. Ethanol interacts with an alcohol binding pocket in the L1 extracellular domain (ECD), and dephosphorylation of S1248 in the L1 cytoplasmic domain (CD) renders L1 adhesion insensitive to inhibition by ethanol (L1 insensitive). The mechanism underlying this inside-out signaling is unknown. Here we show that phosphorylation of the human L1-CD at S1152, Y1176, S1181, and S1248 renders L1 sensitive to ethanol by promoting L1 coupling with ankyrin-G and the spectrin-actin cytoskeleton. Knockdown of ankyrin-G or L1 mutations that uncouple L1 from ankyrin reduce L1 sensitivity to ethanol, but not methanol, consistent with a small conformational change in the extracellular alcohol binding pocket. Phosphorylation of Y1176 and ankyrin-G coupling with L1 are higher in NIH/3T3 clonal cell lines in which ethanol inhibits L1 adhesion than in ethanol-resistant NIH/3T3 clonal cell lines. Similarly, phosphorylation of Y1176 is higher in C57BL/6J mice that are sensitive to ethanol teratogenesis than in ethanol resistant C57BL/6N mice. Finally, polymorphisms in genes that encode ankyrin-G and p90rsk, a kinase that phosphorylates S1152, are linked to facial dysmorphology in children with heavy prenatal ethanol exposure. These findings indicate that genes that regulate L1 coupling to ankyrin may influence susceptibility to FASD.-Dou, X., Menkari, C., Mitsuyama, R., Foroud, T., Wetherill, L., Hammond, P., Suttie, M., Chen, X., Chen, S.-Y., Charness, M. E., Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. L1 coupling to ankyrin and the spectrin-actin cytoskeleton modulates ethanol inhibition of L1 adhesion and ethanol teratogenesis.
Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation is mediated by soluble and physical cues. In this study, we investigated differentiation-induced transformations in MSC cellular and nuclear biophysical properties and queried their role in mechanosensation. Our data show that nuclei in differentiated bovine and human MSCs stiffen and become resistant to deformation. This attenuated nuclear deformation was governed by restructuring of Lamin A/C and increased heterochromatin content. This change in nuclear stiffness sensitized MSCs to mechanical-loading-induced calcium signaling and differentiated marker expression. This sensitization was reversed when the 'stiff' differentiated nucleus was softened and was enhanced when the 'soft' undifferentiated nucleus was stiffened through pharmacologic treatment. Interestingly, dynamic loading of undifferentiated MSCs, in the absence of soluble differentiation factors, stiffened and condensed the nucleus, and increased mechanosensitivity more rapidly than soluble factors. These data suggest that the nucleus acts as a mechanostat to modulate cellular mechanosensation during differentiation.