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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

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The WNT receptor FZD7 contributes to self-renewal signaling of human embryonic stem cells

Kai Melchior1 / Jonathan Weiß2 / Holm Zaehres3 / Yong-mi Kim4 / Carolyn Lutzko5 / Neda Roosta6 / Jürgen Hescheler7 / Markus Müschen8

1Leukemia Research Program, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

2Leukemia Research Program, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

3Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Biomedicine Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany

4Leukemia Research Program, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

5Division of Research Immunology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

6Leukemia Research Program, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

7Institute for Neurophysiology, University of Cologne, D-50931 Cologne, Germany

8Leukemia Research Program, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

Corresponding author

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 389, Issue 7, Pages 897–903, ISSN (Online) 1437-4315, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.2008.108, August 2008

Publication History

Received:
2008-04-13
Accepted:
2008-04-30
Published Online:
2008-08-05

Abstract

A number of recent studies identified nuclear factors that together have the unique ability to induce pluripotency in differentiated cell types. However, little is known about the factors that are needed to maintain human embryonic stem (ES) cells in an undifferentiated state. In a search for such requirements, we performed a comprehensive meta-analysis of publicly available SAGE and microarray data. The rationale for this analysis was to identify genes that are exclusively expressed in human ES cell lines compared to 30 differentiated tissue types. The WNT receptor FZD7 was found among the genes with an ES cell-specific expression profile in both SAGE and microarray analyses. Subsequent validation by quantitative RT-PCR and flow cytometry confirmed that FZD7 mRNA levels in human ES cells are up to 200-fold higher compared to differentiated cell types. ShRNA-mediated knockdown of FZD7 in human ES cells induced dramatic changes in the morphology of ES cell colonies, perturbation of expression levels of germ layer-specific marker genes, and a rapid loss of expression of the ES cell-specific transcription factor OCT4. These findings identify the WNT receptor FZD7 as a novel ES cell-specific surface antigen with a likely important role in the maintenance of ES cell self-renewal capacity.

Keywords: Frizzled receptors; germ layers; OCT4; SAGE; WNT signaling

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