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A p38mapk-p53 cascade regulates mesodermal differentiation and neurogenesis of embryonic stem cells

Abstract : Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) differentiate in vivo and in vitro into all cell lineages, and they have been proposed as cellular therapy for human diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms controlling ESC commitment toward specific lineages need to be specified. We previously found that the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK) pathway inhibits neurogenesis and is necessary to mesodermal formation during the critical first 5 days of mouse ESC commitment. This period corresponds to the expression of specific master genes that direct ESC into each of the three embryonic layers. By both chemical and genetic approaches, we found now that, during this phase, the p38MAPK pathway stabilizes the p53 protein level and that interfering directly with p53 mimics the effects of p38MAPK inhibition on ESC differentiation. Anti-p53 siRNA transient transfections stimulate Bcl2 and Pax6 gene expressions, leading to increased ESC neurogenesis compared with control transfections. Conversely, p53 downregulation leads to a strong inhibition of the mesodermal master genes Brachyury and Mesp1 affecting cardiomyogenesis and skeletal myogenesis of ESCs. Similar results were found with p53 À / À ESCs compared with their wild-type counterparts. In addition, knockout p53 ESCs show impaired smooth muscle cell and adipocyte formation. Use of anti-Nanog siRNAs demonstrates that certain of these regulations result partially to p53-dependent repression of Nanog gene expression. In addition to its well-known role in DNA-damage response, apoptosis, cell cycle control and tumor suppression, p53 has also been involved in vivo in embryonic development; our results show now that p53 mediates, at least for a large part, the p38MAPK control of the early commitment of ESCs toward mesodermal and neural lineages.
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Yasmine Hadjal, Ola Hadadeh, Cel Yazidi, Emilie Barruet, Bernard Binétruy. A p38mapk-p53 cascade regulates mesodermal differentiation and neurogenesis of embryonic stem cells. Cell Death and Disease, Nature Publishing Group, 2013, 4 (7), pp.e737 - e737. ⟨10.1038/cddis.2013.246⟩. ⟨hal-01787351⟩

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