Generation of Systemic Chimeras via Rabbit Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Reprogrammed with KLF2, ERAS, and PRMT6

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Little is known about the molecular underpinnings of pluripotent stem cells’ (PSCs) ability to colonize the epiblast of preimplantation embryos and generate chimeras. In our study, using rabbit PSCs as a model system, we conducted unbiased screening of a cDNA library that encodes a panel of 36 pluripotency factors. From this screening, we identified KLF2, ERAS and PRMT6, whose overexpression confers the ability for self-renewal in a KOSR/FGF2-free culture medium supplemented with LIF, activin A, PKC and WNT inhibitors. The reprogrammed cells acquired transcriptomic and epigenetic features of naive pluripotency, including the reactivation of the 2 nd X-chromosome. Leveraging these PSC lines, we determined the transcriptomic signature of embryonic colonization-competence, demonstrating transcriptional repression of genes involved in MAPK, WNT, HIPPO, and EPH signaling pathways, alongside the activation of genes involved in amino-acid metabolism, NF-kB signaling, and p53 pathway. Remarkably, a subset of reprogrammed cells, expressing CD75 at a high level, gained the ability to produce chimeric fetuses with a high contribution from PSCs in all lineages.

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