The regulatory role of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been partially proved in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
In the current study, we investigated mouse ESC (mESC) self-renewal, differentiation, and proliferation in vitro by knocking down a lncRNA, growth arrest specific 5 (Gas5). A series of related indicators were examined by cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay, quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), Western blot, alkaline phosphatase staining, propidium iodide (PI) staining, Annexin V staining, competition growth assay, immunofluorescence, and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-qPCR. An in vivo teratoma formation assay was also performed to validate the in vitro results. qRT-PCR, fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), alkaline phosphatase staining, and immunofluorescence were used to evaluate the role of Gas5 during mouse iPSC reprogramming. The regulatory axis of Dicer-miR291a-cMyc-Gas5 and the relationship between Gas5 and Tet/5hmC in mESCs was examined by qRT-PCR, Dot blot, and Western blot.
We identified that Gas5 was required for self-renewal and pluripotency of mESCs and iPSCs. Gas5 formed a positive feedback network with a group of key pluripotent modulators (Sox2, Oct4, Nanog, Tcl1, Esrrb, and Tet1) in mESCs. Knockdown of Gas5 promoted endodermal differentiation of mESCs and impaired the efficiency of iPSC reprogramming. In addition, Gas5 was regulated by the Dicer-miR291a-cMyc axis and was involved in the DNA demethylation process in mESCs.
Taken together, our results suggest that the lncRNA Gas5 plays an important role in modulating self-renewal and pluripotency of mESCs as well as iPSC reprogramming.