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Title: The expression and regulation of genes correlating with human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC) pluripotency and self-renewal
Author: Gaobotse, Goabaone
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 6806
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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Stem cell pluripotency and self-renewal are two important attributes of human embryonic stem cells which have led to enhanced interest in stem cell research. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie the regulation and maintenance of these properties is imperative to the clinical application of stem cells. Pluripotency and self-renewal are regulated by different genes, transcription factors and other co-factors such as FoxD3 and Klf4. Oct4, Nanog and Sox2 are central to the stem cell regulatory circuitry. They form interactions with co-factors to promote cell proliferation and inhibit differentiation by negatively regulating differentiation markers. However, there are other novel pluripotency associated factors yet to be studied. In this study, bioinformatics and functional analyses were employed to identify a potential pluripotency gene called YY1AP1 from our lab's pre-existing microarray data. YY1AP1, a transcription regulatory gene, showed consistent down-regulation with induced cell differentiation. It was further investigated. First, its co-localization with Oct4 in both hESCs and iPSCs was confirmed by immunofluorescence staining. Knockdown experiments were then performed on this gene to investigate effects of knocking it down on gene expression in hESCs. Knocked-down cells were characterized for markers of pluripotency and differentiation at the transcript level. Results showed a down-regulation of pluripotency genes with no specific promotion of any of the germ layer markers. Gene expression at the protein level in knocked down cells was then assessed for YY1AP1, and its binding partner YY1, and pluripotency markers. Results showed that proteins of YY1AP1, YY1, Oct4, Nanog and CTCF were down regulated while the tumour suppressor gene protein, p53, was up-regulated in YY1AP1 deficient stem cells. Protein to protein interaction studies showed that YY1AP1, YY1, Nanog and CTCF proteins directly interacted with each other. Differentiation of YY1AP1deficient cells into EBs led to an almost complete shutdown of all gene expression, an indication that the cells did not form 'real' EBs. Differentiation of YY1AP1 ablated cells did not support any lineage promotion either. These results suggest a potentially new role for YY1AP1 in proliferation and self-renewal of stem cells through its possible direct binding to CTCF or its indirect binding to CTCF in complex with YY1.
Supervisor: Boot-Handford, Raymond ; Kimber, Susan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Self-Renewal ; human Embryonic Stem Cells ; Pluripotency