Autophagy is a vacuolar pathway for the regulated degradation and recycling of cellular components. Beclin1,a Bcl2-interacting protein, is a well-studied autophagy regulator. Homozygous loss of Beclin1 in mice leads toearly embryonic lethality. However, the role of Beclin1 in regulating the pluripotency of embryonic stem cellsand their differentiation remains poorly explored. To study this, we generated Beclin1-Knockout (KO) mouseembryonic stem cells (mESCs) using the CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing tool. Interestingly, Beclin1-KOmESCs did not show any change in the expression of pluripotency marker genes. Beclin1-KO mESCs alsodisplayed active autophagy, suggesting the presence of Beclin1-independent autophagy in mESCs. However,loss of Beclin1 resulted in compromised differentiation of mESCs in vitro and in vivo due to misregulatedexpression of transcription factors. Our results suggest that Beclin1 may play an autophagy-independent role inregulating the differentiation of mESCs.
Volume 46, 2020
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