Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, STMRM-PHD (2021)
Master of Science, Stanford University, MED-MS (2019)
MS, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (2013)
BS, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Molecular Life Sciences (2011)
Irving Weissman, Postdoctoral Research Mentor
Reactivation of the pluripotency program precedes formation of the cranial neural crest.
Science (New York, N.Y.)
2021; 371 (6529)
During development, cells progress from a pluripotent state to a more restricted fate within a particular germ layer. However, cranial neural crest cells (CNCCs), a transient cell population that generates most of the craniofacial skeleton, have much broader differentiation potential than their ectodermal lineage of origin. Here, we identify a neuroepithelial precursor population characterized by expression of canonical pluripotency transcription factors that gives rise to CNCCs and is essential for craniofacial development. Pluripotency factor Oct4 is transiently reactivated in CNCCs and is required for the subsequent formation of ectomesenchyme. Furthermore, open chromatin landscapes of Oct4+ CNCC precursors resemble those of epiblast stem cells, with additional features suggestive of priming for mesenchymal programs. We propose that CNCCs expand their developmental potential through a transient reacquisition of molecular signatures of pluripotency.
View details for DOI 10.1126/science.abb4776
View details for PubMedID 33542111
Single-cell transcriptional diversity is a hallmark of developmental potential.
Science (New York, N.Y.)
2020; 367 (6476): 405–11
Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) is a powerful approach for reconstructing cellular differentiation trajectories. However, inferring both the state and direction of differentiation is challenging. Here, we demonstrate a simple, yet robust, determinant of developmental potential-the number of expressed genes per cell-and leverage this measure of transcriptional diversity to develop a computational framework (CytoTRACE) for predicting differentiation states from scRNA-seq data. When applied to diverse tissue types and organisms, CytoTRACE outperformed previous methods and nearly 19,000 annotated gene sets for resolving 52 experimentally determined developmental trajectories. Additionally, it facilitated the identification of quiescent stem cells and revealed genes that contribute to breast tumorigenesis. This study thus establishes a key RNA-based feature of developmental potential and a platform for delineation of cellular hierarchies.
View details for DOI 10.1126/science.aax0249
View details for PubMedID 31974247
Neogenin-1 distinguishes between myeloid-biased and balanced Hoxb5+ mouse long-term hematopoietic stem cells.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) self-renew and generate all blood cells. Recent studies with single cell transplants and lineage tracing suggest that adult HSCs are diverse in their reconstitution and lineage potentials. However, prospective isolation of these subpopulations has remained challenging. Here, we identify Neogenin-1 (NEO1) as a unique surface marker on a fraction of mouse HSCs labeled with Hoxb5, a specific reporter of long-term HSCs (LT-HSCs). We show that NEO1+ Hoxb5 + LT-HSCs expand with age and respond to myeloablative stress in young mice while NEO1- Hoxb5 + LT-HSCs exhibit no significant change in number. Furthermore, NEO1+ Hoxb5 + LT-HSCs are more often in the G2/S cell cycle phase compared to NEO1- Hoxb5 + LT-HSCs in both young and old bone marrow. Upon serial transplantation, NEO1+ Hoxb5 + LT-HSCs exhibit myeloid-biased differentiation and reduced reconstitution while NEO1- Hoxb5 + LT-HSCs are lineage-balanced and stably reconstitute recipients. Gene expression analysis reveals erythroid and myeloid priming in the NEO1+ fraction and association of quiescence and self-renewal-related transcription factors with NEO1- LT-HSCs. Finally, transplanted NEO1+ Hoxb5 + LT-HSCs rarely generate NEO1- Hoxb5 + LT-HSCs while NEO1- Hoxb5 + LT-HSCs repopulate both LT-HSC fractions. This supports a model in which dormant, balanced NEO1- Hoxb5 + LT-HSCs can hierarchically precede active, myeloid-biased NEO1+ Hoxb5 + LT-HSCs.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1911024116
View details for PubMedID 31754028
Single cell analysis of human foetal liver captures the transcriptional profile of hepatobiliary hybrid progenitors.
2019; 10 (1): 3350
The liver parenchyma is composed of hepatocytes and bile duct epithelial cells (BECs). Controversy exists regarding the cellular origin of human liver parenchymal tissue generation during embryonic development, homeostasis or repair. Here we report the existence of a hepatobiliary hybrid progenitor (HHyP) population in human foetal liver using single-cell RNA sequencing. HHyPs are anatomically restricted to the ductal plate of foetal liver and maintain a transcriptional profile distinct from foetal hepatocytes, mature hepatocytes and mature BECs. In addition, molecular heterogeneity within the EpCAM+ population of freshly isolated foetal and adult human liver identifies diverse gene expression signatures of hepatic and biliary lineage potential. Finally, we FACS isolate foetal HHyPs and confirm their hybrid progenitor phenotype in vivo. Our study suggests that hepatobiliary progenitor cells previously identified in mice also exist in humans, and can be distinguished from other parenchymal populations, including mature BECs, by distinct gene expression profiles.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-019-11266-x
View details for PubMedID 31350390
The histone chaperone CAF-1 safeguards somatic cell identity
2015; 528 (7581): 218-?
Cellular differentiation involves profound remodelling of chromatic landscapes, yet the mechanisms by which somatic cell identity is subsequently maintained remain incompletely understood. To further elucidate regulatory pathways that safeguard the somatic state, we performed two comprehensive RNA interference (RNAi) screens targeting chromatin factors during transcription-factor-mediated reprogramming of mouse fibroblasts to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). Subunits of the chromatin assembly factor-1 (CAF-1) complex, including Chaf1a and Chaf1b, emerged as the most prominent hits from both screens, followed by modulators of lysine sumoylation and heterochromatin maintenance. Optimal modulation of both CAF-1 and transcription factor levels increased reprogramming efficiency by several orders of magnitude and facilitated iPS cell formation in as little as 4 days. Mechanistically, CAF-1 suppression led to a more accessible chromatin structure at enhancer elements early during reprogramming. These changes were accompanied by a decrease in somatic heterochromatin domains, increased binding of Sox2 to pluripotency-specific targets and activation of associated genes. Notably, suppression of CAF-1 also enhanced the direct conversion of B cells into macrophages and fibroblasts into neurons. Together, our findings reveal the histone chaperone CAF-1 to be a novel regulator of somatic cell identity during transcription-factor-induced cell-fate transitions and provide a potential strategy to modulate cellular plasticity in a regenerative setting.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature15749
View details for PubMedID 26659182
Intrinsic retroviral reactivation in human preimplantation embryos and pluripotent cells.
2015; 522 (7555): 221-225
Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are remnants of ancient retroviral infections, and comprise nearly 8% of the human genome. The most recently acquired human ERV is HERVK(HML-2), which repeatedly infected the primate lineage both before and after the divergence of the human and chimpanzee common ancestor. Unlike most other human ERVs, HERVK retained multiple copies of intact open reading frames encoding retroviral proteins. However, HERVK is transcriptionally silenced by the host, with the exception of in certain pathological contexts such as germ-cell tumours, melanoma or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Here we demonstrate that DNA hypomethylation at long terminal repeat elements representing the most recent genomic integrations, together with transactivation by OCT4 (also known as POU5F1), synergistically facilitate HERVK expression. Consequently, HERVK is transcribed during normal human embryogenesis, beginning with embryonic genome activation at the eight-cell stage, continuing through the emergence of epiblast cells in preimplantation blastocysts, and ceasing during human embryonic stem cell derivation from blastocyst outgrowths. Remarkably, we detected HERVK viral-like particles and Gag proteins in human blastocysts, indicating that early human development proceeds in the presence of retroviral products. We further show that overexpression of one such product, the HERVK accessory protein Rec, in a pluripotent cell line is sufficient to increase IFITM1 levels on the cell surface and inhibit viral infection, suggesting at least one mechanism through which HERVK can induce viral restriction pathways in early embryonic cells. Moreover, Rec directly binds a subset of cellular RNAs and modulates their ribosome occupancy, indicating that complex interactions between retroviral proteins and host factors can fine-tune pathways of early human development.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature14308
View details for PubMedID 25896322
Congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus: the current state of affairs
2012; 27 (12): 2183-2204
The anti-diuretic hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP) is released from the pituitary upon hypovolemia or hypernatremia, and regulates water reabsorption in the renal collecting duct principal cells. Binding of AVP to the arginine vasopressin receptor type 2 (AVPR2) in the basolateral membrane leads to translocation of aquaporin 2 (AQP2) water channels to the apical membrane of the collecting duct principal cells, inducing water permeability of the membrane. This results in water reabsorption from the pro-urine into the medullary interstitium following an osmotic gradient. Congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) is a disorder associated with mutations in either the AVPR2 or AQP2 gene, causing the inability of patients to concentrate their pro-urine, which leads to a high risk of dehydration. This review focuses on the current knowledge regarding the cell biological aspects of congenital X-linked, autosomal-recessive and autosomal-dominant NDI while specifically addressing the latest developments in the field. Based on deepened mechanistic understanding, new therapeutic strategies are currently being explored, which we also discuss here.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00467-012-2118-8
View details for Web of Science ID 000310829700004
View details for PubMedID 22427315