Isolated mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) retain the capacities to self-renew limitlessly and to give rise to all tissues of an adult mouse. A precise understanding of the relationships, mechanisms of action and functions of novel genes involved in mESCs differentiation is crucial to expand our knowledge of vertebrate development. The epithelial membrane protein 2 (EMP2) is a membrane-spanning protein found in epithelial and endothelial cell-cell junctions that has been implicated in the regulation of cell proliferation and migration in normal and tumor tissues. In this study, Emp2 was disrupted in mESCs using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology. We subsequently assessed Emp2 functions by using mouse embryoid bodies (EBs) capable of forming the three germ layers of an embryo in vitro and by further analyzing the emergence of the future cardiac tissue in these EB models. We found that when Emp2 is disrupted, expression of pluripotency markers was up-regulated and/or longer retained in EBs. Additionally, the formation of each germ layer was variously affected during gastrulation and in particular, the formation of mesoderm was delayed. Besides, we discovered that Emp2 was involved in the regulation of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process and in the differentiation of cells into functional cardiomyocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-178
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Volume511
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2019

    Research areas

  • CRISPR/Cas9, Cardiogenesis, Embryoid bodies, Emp2, Gastrulation, mESCs

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