SOX2, OCT3/4 and NANOG expression and cellular plasticity in rare human somatic cells requires CD73.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.cellsig.2016.09.008
Endogenous Plastic Somatic (ePS) cells isolated from adult human tissues exhibit extensive lineage plasticity in vitro and in vivo. Here we visualize these rare ePS cells in a latent state, i.e. lacking SOX2, OCT3/4 and NANOG (SON) expression, in non-diseased breast specimens through immunohistochemical analysis of previously identified ePS-specific biomarkers (CD73+, EpCAM+ and CD90-). We also report a novel mechanism by which these latent ePS cells acquire SON expression and plasticity in vitro. Four extracellular factors are necessary for the acquisition of SON expression and lineage plasticity in ePS cells: adenosine (which is produced by the 5' ecto-nucleotidase CD73 and activates in turn the PKA-dependent IL6/STAT3 pathway through the adenosine receptor ADORA2b), IL6, FGF2 and ACTIVIN A. Blocking any pathway component renders ePS cells incapable of SON expression and lineage plasticity. Notably, hESCs do not use adenosine or IL6 nor they express CD73 or ADORA2b and inhibition of adenosine signaling does not ablate their plasticity. Therefore, the data presented here delineate novel circuitry and physiological signals for accessing SON expression in rare, undifferentiated human cells.