Stable expression of FoxA1 promotes pluripotent P19 embryonal carcinoma cells to be neural stem-like cells

Difei Dong, Lei Meng, Qiqi Yu, Guixiang Tan, Miao Ding, Yongjun Tan
Gene Expression 2012, 15 (4): 153-62
FoxA1 belongs to the fork head/winged-helix transcription factor family and participates in stimulating neuronal differentiation of pluripotent stem cells at early stages. To explore the biological roles of FoxA1 during this process, the stable expression of a GFP-FoxA1 fusion protein was established in P19 pluripotent embryonal carcinoma cells. Although they still express pluripotency-related transcription factors such as Oct4, Nanog, and Sox2, the generated P19 GFPFoxA1 cells exhibited a decreased activity of alkaline phosphatase and an increased expression of SSEA-3 compared with P19 cells. Elevated levels of nestin expression and prominin-1+ populations were observed in P19 GFPFoxA1 cells, implicating that the stable expression of FoxA1 promoted P19 cells to gain partial characteristics of neural stem cells. Furthermore, the promoter of nestin was confirmed to be bound and activated by FoxA1 directly. The expression of neuron-specific marker tubulin betaIII also existed in P19 GFPFoxA1 cells. P19 GFPFoxA1 cells showed an earlier onset of differentiation during RA-induced neuronal differentiation, evidenced by a more rapid change on the Nanog decrease and the tubulin betaIII increase. Thus, overexpression of FoxA1 alone may promote pluripotent P19 cells to become neural stem-like cells.

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