Biotechnology letters

Enrichment of cardiac differentiation by a large starting number of embryonic stem cells in embryoid bodies is mediated by the Wnt11-JNK pathway.

PMID 25312921


Embryoid bodies (EBs) with large starting numbers of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have a greater degree of cardiac differentiation than from low numbers of EBs. However, the biological roles of signaling molecules in these effects are not well understood. Here, we show that groups of EBs with different starting numbers of ESCs had differential gene expression patterns for Wnt5a and Wnt11. Wnt11 significantly increased the percentage of beating EBs by up-regulating the expression of the cardiac-specific genes. Wnt5a did not show these effects. Moreover, Wnt11 significantly increased the level of phosphorylated Jun N-terminal kinase. The inhibition of the JNK pathway by SP600125 blocked the effects of Wnt11. Thus, enrichment of cardiac differentiation in groups of EBs with a larger starting number of ESCs is mediated by the Wnt11-JNK pathway.