1. Key Laboratory of Organ Regeneration and Transplantation of Ministry of Education, Stem Cell and Cancer Center, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin 130021, China
2. Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin 130021, China
3. Stanford University Medical School, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), derived from reprogramming of somatic cells by a cocktail of transcription factors, have the capacity for unlimited self-renewal and the ability to differentiate into all of cell types present in the body. iPSCs may have therapeutic potential in regenerative medicine, replacing injured tissues or even whole organs. In this study, we examine epigenetic factors embedded in the specific 3-dimensional intrachromosomal architecture required for the activation of endogenous pluripotency genes. Using chromatin RNA in situ reverse transcription sequencing (CRIST-seq), we identified an Oct4-Sox2 binding long noncoding RNA, referred as to Osblr8, that is present in association with pluripotency status. Osblr8 was highly expressed in iPSCs and E14 embryonic stem cells, but it was silenced in fibroblasts. By using shRNA to knock down Osblr8, we found that this lncRNA was required for the maintenance of pluripotency. Overexpression of Osblr8 activated endogenous stem cell core factor genes. Mechanistically, Osblr8 participated in the formation of an intrachromosomal looping structure that is required to activate stem cell core factors during reprogramming. In summary, we have demonstrated that lncRNA Osblr8 is a chromatin architecture modulator of pluripotency-associated master gene promoters, highlighting its critical epigenetic role in reprogramming.
Keywords: lncRNA, pluripotency, stem cell, intrachromosomal interaction, epigenetics