A Single TCF Transcription Factor, Regardless of Its Activation Capacity, Is Sufficient for Effective Trilineage Differentiation of ESCs Academic Article uri icon

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  • Co-expression and cross-regulation of the four TCF/LEFs render their redundant and unique functions ambiguous. Here, we describe quadruple-knockout (QKO) mouse ESCs lacking all full-length TCF/LEFs and cell lines rescued with TCF7 or TCF7L1. QKO cells self-renew, despite gene expression patterns that differ significantly from WT, and display delayed, neurectoderm-biased, embryoid body (EB) differentiation. QKO EBs have no contracting cardiomyocytes and differentiate poorly into mesendoderm but readily generate neuronal cells. QKO cells and TCF7L1-rescued cells cannot efficiently activate TCF reporters, whereas TCF7-rescued cells exhibit significant reporter responsiveness. Surprisingly, despite dramatically different transactivation capacities, re-expression of TCF7L1 or TCF7 in QKO cells restores their tri-lineage differentiation ability, with similar lineage marker expression patterns and beating cardiomyocyte frequencies observed in EBs. Both factors also similarly affect the transcriptome of QKO cells. Our data reveal that a single TCF, regardless of its activation capacity, is sufficient for effective trilineage differentiation of ESCs.


  • Moreira, Steven
  • Polena, Enio
  • Gordon, Victor
  • Abdulla, Solen
  • Mahendram, Sujeivan
  • Cao, Jiayi
  • Blais, Alexandre
  • Wood, Geoffrey A
  • Dvorkin-Gheva, Anna
  • Doble, Bradley

publication date

  • September 2017