Xiong A, Kundu S, Forsberg M, Xiong Y, Bergström T, Paavilainen T, Kjellén L, Li JP, Forsberg-Nilsson K
Matrix Biol. 62 (-) 92-104 [2017-10-00; online 2016-11-23]
Heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs), ubiquitous components of mammalian cells, play important roles in development and homeostasis. These molecules are located primarily on the cell surface and in the pericellular matrix, where they interact with a multitude of macromolecules, including many growth factors. Manipulation of the enzymes involved in biosynthesis and modification of HSPG structures alters the properties of stem cells. Here, we focus on the involvement of heparanase (HPSE), the sole endo-glucuronidase capable of cleaving of HS, in differentiation of embryonic stem cells into the cells of the neural lineage. Embryonic stem (ES) cells overexpressing HPSE (Hpse-Tg) proliferated more rapidly than WT ES cells in culture and formed larger teratomas in vivo. In addition, differentiating Hpse-Tg ES cells also had a higher growth rate, and overexpression of HPSE in NSPCs enhanced Erk and Akt phosphorylation. Employing a two-step, monolayer differentiation, we observed an increase in HPSE as wild-type (WT) ES cells differentiated into neural stem and progenitor cells followed by down-regulation of HPSE as these NSPCs differentiated into mature cells of the neural lineage. Furthermore, NSPCs overexpressing HPSE gave rise to more oligodendrocytes than WT cultures, with a concomitant reduction in the number of neurons. Our present findings emphasize the importance of HS, in neural differentiation and suggest that by regulating the availability of growth factors and, or other macromolecules, HPSE promotes differentiation into oligodendrocytes.