FGF2 mediates hepatic progenitor cell formation during human pluripotent stem cell differentiation by inducing the WNT antagonist NKD1

Kirk Twaroski, Sunil K. Mallanna, Ran Jing, Francesca Difurio, Amanda Urick, Stephen A. Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are required to specify hepatic fate within the definitive endoderm through activation of the FGF receptors (FGFRs). While the signaling pathways involved in hepatic specification are well understood, the mechanisms through which FGFs induce hepatic character within the endoderm are ill defined. Here we report the identification of genes whose expression is directly regulated by FGFR activity during the transition from endoderm to hepatic progenitor cell. The FGFR immediate early genes that were identified include those encoding transcription factors, growth factors, and signaling molecules. One of these immediate early genes encodes naked cuticle homolog 1 (NKD1), which is a repressor of canonical WNT (wingless-type MMTV integration site) signaling. We show that loss of NKD1 suppresses the formation of hepatic progenitor cells from human induced pluripotent stem cells and that this phenotype can be rescued by using a pharmacological antagonist of canonical WNT signaling. We conclude that FGF specifies hepatic fate at least in large part by inducing expression of NKD1 to transiently suppress the canonical WNT pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2463-2474
Number of pages12
JournalGenes and Development
Volume29
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Keywords

  • FGF signaling
  • HNF4a
  • IPSC-derived hepatocytes
  • Liver development
  • WNT

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