Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.470, No.4, 917-923, 2016
Transdifferentiation of mouse visceral yolk sac cells into parietal yolk sac cells in vitro
The mouse embryonic yolk sac is an extraembryonic membrane that consists of a visceral yolk sac (VYS) and parietal yolk sac (PYS), and functions in hematopoietic-circulation in the fetal stage. The present study was undertaken to examine the normal development of both murine VYS and PYS tissues using various molecular markers, and to establish a novel VYS cell culture system in vitro for analyzing differentiation potentials of VYS cells. RT-PCR and immunohistochemical analyses of gene expression in VYS and PYS tissues during development revealed several useful markers for their identification: HNF1 beta, HNF4 alpha, Cdh1 (E-cadherin), Krt8 and Krt18 for VYS epithelial cells, and Stra6, Snail1, Thbd and vimentin for PYS cells. PYS cells exhibited mesenchymal characteristics in gene expression and morphology. When VYS cells at 11.5 days of gestation were cultured in vitro for 7 days, the number of HNF1 beta-, HNF4 alpha-, E-cadherin-and cytokeratin-positive VYS epithelial cells was significantly reduced and, instead, Stra6- and vimentin-positive PYS-like cells increased with culture. RT-PCR analyses also demonstrated that gene expression of VYS markers decreased, whereas that of PYS markers increased in the primary culture of VYS cells. These data indicate that VYS epithelial cells rapidly transdifferentiate into PYS cells having mesenchymal characteristics in vitro, which may provide a culture system suitable for studying molecular mechanisms of VYS transdifferentiation into PYS cells and also epithelial-mesenchymal transition. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.