Background: Pluripotent stem cells produce tissue-specific lineages through programmed acquisition of sequential gene expression patterns that function as a blueprint for organ formation. As embryonic stem cells respond concomitantly to diverse signaling pathways during differentiation, extraction of a pro-cardiogenic network would offer a roadmap to streamline cardiac progenitor output. Methods and Results: To resolve gene ontology priorities within precursor transcriptomes, cardiogenic subpopulations were here generated according to either growth factor guidance or stage-specific biomarker sorting. Innate expression profiles were independently delineated through unbiased systems biology mapping, and cross-referenced to filter transcriptional noise unmasking a conserved progenitor motif (55 up- and 233 down-regulated genes). The streamlined pool of 288 genes organized into a core biological network that prioritized the "Cardiovascular Development" function. Recursive in silico deconvolution of the cardiogenic neighborhood and associated canonical signaling pathways identified a combination of integrated axes, CXCR4/SDF-1, Flk-1/VEGF and BMP2r/BMP2, predicted to synchronize cardiac specification. In vitro targeting of the resolved triad in embryoid bodies accelerated expression of Nkx2.5, Mef2C and cardiac-MHC, enhanced beating activity, and augmented cardiogenic yield. Conclusions: Transcriptome-wide dissection of a conserved progenitor profile thus revealed functional highways that coordinate cardiogenic maturation from a pluripotent ground state. Validating the bioinformatics algorithm established a strategy to rationally modulate cell fate, and optimize stem cell-derived cardiogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)