News

OCT4 cooperates with distinct ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers in naïve and primed pluripotent states in human

Our paper mapping the interactomes of the master transcription factor OCT4 in naive and primed human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) was published today in Nature Communications. We report that OCT4 cooperates with cell state-specific chromatin modifiers in naive and primed hESCs to promote an open chromatin architecture at blastocyst-associated and pan-ectodermal genes, respectively. This work was a collaboration between our team at WashU, Xin Huang and Jianlong Wang at Columbia University, Cigall Kadoch at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Rudolf Jaenisch at the Whitehead Institute. The WashU team was spearheaded by Kyoung-mi Park in the Theunissen lab in collaboration with the labs of Bo Zhang, Sabine Dietmann, and Ting Wang.

Virtual Presentations at the ISSCR 2021 Annual Meeting

Chen Dong will present his work on a CRISPR-Cas9 knockout screen to identify essential and growth-restricting genes in human trophoblast stem cells in the concurrent session on Comparative Early Development. In addition, Rowan Karvas will present her work on 3D organoids generated from human trophoblast stem cells in the concurrent session on Complex 3D Systems for Therapy and Drug Discovery. Congrats Chen and Rowan!

Probing the signaling requirements for naive human pluripotency

Our paper investigating the signaling requirements for naive human pluripotency by high-throughput chemical screening was published today in Cell Reports. We report that naive hESCs can be maintained by blocking distinct nodes in the FGF signaling pathway and that dual MEK/ERK inhibition promotes efficient primed-to-naive resetting in combination with Activin A. This study was a collaboration between Washington University School of Medicine, the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Laura Fischer receives NSF GRFP honorable mention

Laura Fischer, a second-year Ph.D. student in the Theunissen lab, has received an honorable mention from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 2020 Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).

The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.

Kudos to Laura. We’re looking forward to your exciting studies!

Trophoblast stem cells derived from naive human stem cells

Our paper examining the trophoblast potential of distinct human stem cell states was published today in eLife. We report that naive, but not primed, human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) can directly differentiate into trophoblast stem cells (TSC). The derivation of TSCs from naïve hPSCs presents a new model system to elucidate early mechanisms  governing placental development and associated pathologies. This study was a collaboration with the Solnica-Krezel, Wang and Kommagani labs at Washington University.

Image of naive hPSC-derived human TSCs stained with a KRT7 antibody by Chen Dong (Theunissen Lab).