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  • FGF/MAPK signaling sets the switching threshold of a bistable circuit controlling cell fate decisions in embryonic stem cells.

FGF/MAPK signaling sets the switching threshold of a bistable circuit controlling cell fate decisions in embryonic stem cells.

Development (Cambridge, England) (2015-10-30)
Christian Schröter, Pau Rué, Jonathan Peter Mackenzie, Alfonso Martinez Arias
ABSTRACT

Intracellular transcriptional regulators and extracellular signaling pathways together regulate the allocation of cell fates during development, but how their molecular activities are integrated to establish the correct proportions of cells with particular fates is not known. Here we study this question in the context of the decision between the epiblast (Epi) and the primitive endoderm (PrE) fate that occurs in the mammalian preimplantation embryo. Using an embryonic stem cell (ESC) model, we discover two successive functions of FGF/MAPK signaling in this decision. First, the pathway needs to be inhibited to make the PrE-like gene expression program accessible for activation by GATA transcription factors in ESCs. In a second step, MAPK signaling levels determine the threshold concentration of GATA factors required for PrE-like differentiation, and thereby control the proportion of cells differentiating along this lineage. Our findings can be explained by a simple mutual repression circuit modulated by FGF/MAPK signaling. This might be a general network architecture to integrate the activity of signal transduction pathways and transcriptional regulators, and serve to balance proportions of cell fates in several contexts.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Monoclonal ANTI-FLAG® M2 antibody produced in mouse, clone M2, purified immunoglobulin (Purified IgG1 subclass), buffered aqueous solution (10 mM sodium phosphate, 150 mM NaCl, pH 7.4, containing 0.02% sodium azide)
Sigma-Aldrich
Anti-MAP Kinase, Activated (Diphosphorylated ERK-1&2) antibody, Mouse monoclonal, clone MAPK-YT, purified from hybridoma cell culture