The Chromatin Regulator ZMYM2 Restricts Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Growth and Is Essential for Teratoma Formation

Chromatin regulators play fundamental roles in controlling pluripotency and differentiation. We examined the effect of mutations in 703 genes from nearly 70 chromatin-modifying complexes on human embryonic stem cell (ESC) growth. While the vast majority of chromatin-associated complexes are essential for ESC growth, the only complexes that conferred growth advantage upon mutation of their members, were the repressive complexes LSD-CoREST and BHC. Both complexes include the most potent growth-restricting chromatin-related protein, ZMYM2. Interestingly, while ZMYM2 expression is rather low in human blastocysts, its expression peaks in primed ESCs and is again downregulated upon differentiation. ZMYM2-null ESCs overexpress pluripotency genes and show genome-wide promotor-localized histone H3 hyper-acetylation. These mutant cells were also refractory to differentiate in vitro and failed to produce teratomas upon injection into immunodeficient mice. Our results suggest a central role for ZMYM2 in the transcriptional regulation of the undifferentiated state and in the exit-from-pluripotency of human ESCs.

Authors: Lezmi E, Weissbein U, Golan-Lev T, Nissim-Rafinia M, Meshorer E, Benvenisty N.
Year of publication: 2020
Journal: Stem Cell Reports 2020;S2213-6711(20)30186-7.

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