Cellular heterogeneity during embryonic stem cell differentiation to epiblast stem cells is revealed by the ShcD/RaLP adaptor protein

Margherita Y. Turco, Laura Furia, Anja Dietze, Luis Fernandez Diaz, Simona Ronzoni, Anna Sciullo, Antonio Simeone, Daniel Constam, Mario Faretta, Luisa Lanfrancone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Shc family of adaptor proteins are crucial mediators of a plethora of receptors such as the tyrosine kinase receptors, cytokine receptors, and integrins that drive signaling pathways governing proliferation, differentiation, and migration. Here, we report the role of the newly identified family member, ShcD/RaLP, whose expression in vitro and in vivo suggests a function in embryonic stem cell (ESC) to epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs) transition. The transition from the naïve (ESC) to the primed (EpiSC) pluripotent state is the initial important step for ESCs to commit to differentiation and the mechanisms underlying this process are still largely unknown. Using a novel approach to simultaneously assess pluripotency, apoptosis, and proliferation by multiparameter flow cytometry, we show that ESC to EpiSC transition is a process involving a tight coordination between the modulation of the Oct4 expression, cell cycle progression, and cell death. We also describe, by high-content immunofluorescence analysis and time-lapse microscopy, the emergence of cells expressing caudal-related homeobox 2 (Cdx2) transcription factor during ESC to EpiSC transition. The use of the ShcD knockout ESCs allowed the unmasking of this process as they presented deregulated Oct4 modulation and an enrichment in Oct4-negative Cdx2-positive cells with increased MAPK/extracellular-regulated kinases 1/2 activation, within the differentiating population. Collectively, our data reveal ShcD as an important modulator in the switch of key pathway(s) involved in determining EpiSC identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2423-2436
Number of pages14
JournalStem Cells
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Cdx2
  • Differentiation
  • Embryonic stem cells
  • Epiblast stem cells
  • Oct4
  • ShcD/RaLP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Medicine


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