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Positive feedback loop of regulating ERK phosphorylation in mESCs mediated by Etv5-Tet2-Fgfr2 axis

By Chen Fan, Kui Zhu, Yuan Liu, Mengyao Zhang, Hongxia Cao, Na Li, Yan Wang, Jinlian Hua, Huayan Wang, Shiqiang Zhang

Posted 25 Feb 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/560334

Dynamic equilibrium of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity is regulated elaborately by multiple feedback loops to ensure the normal self-renewal of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). Previous studies on mESCs have demonstrated that the negative feedback loops are engaged to prevent the overactivated ERK phosphorylation (pERK). It is not clear whether there is any positive feedback loop involved to maintain a minimum of pERK in mESCs. Here, we found that blocking fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-ERK pathway by chemical PD0325901 downregulated the transcription of E26 transformation-specific (ETS) family transcription factor Etv5 in mESCs. In turn, knockout (KO) of Etv5 by CRISPR/Cas9 decreased pERK. Moreover, Etv5 KO enhanced the DNA methylation at promoter of fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (Fgfr2) by downregulating DNA hydroxylase Tet2, which further decreased the expression of Fgfr2 in mESCs. Collectively, a positive feedback loop of regulating pERK was revealed in mESCs, which was mediated by Etv5-Tet2-Fgfr2 axis. Our findings provide a new paradigm for pERK regulation in mESCs and will be useful to understand the cell fate determination during early embryo development.

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