Publications | Phosphoproteomics identifies a bimodal EPHA2 receptor switch that promotes embryonic stem cell differentiation

Embryonic Stem Cell (ESC) differentiation requires complex cell signalling network dynamics, although the key molecular events remain poorly understood. Here, we use phosphoproteomics to identify an FGF4-mediated phosphorylation switch centred upon the key Ephrin receptor EPHA2 in differentiating ESCs. We show that EPHA2 maintains pluripotency and restrains commitment by antagonising ERK1/2 signalling. Upon ESC differentiation, FGF4 utilises a bimodal strategy to disable EPHA2, which is accompanied by transcriptional induction of EFN ligands. Mechanistically, FGF4-ERK1/2-RSK signalling inhibits EPHA2 via Ser/Thr phosphorylation, whilst FGF4-ERK1/2 disrupts a core pluripotency transcriptional circuit required for Epha2 gene expression. This system also operates in mouse and human embryos, where EPHA receptors are enriched in pluripotent cells whilst surrounding lineage-specified trophectoderm expresses EFNA ligands. Our data provide insight into function and regulation of EPH-EFN signalling in ESCs, and suggest that segregated EPH-EFN expression coordinates cell fate with compartmentalisation during early embryonic development.

Fernandez-Alonso, R., Bustos, F., Budzyk, M., Kumar, P., Helbig, A. O., Hukelmann, J., Lamond, A. I., Lanner, F., Zhou, H., Petsalaki, E. & Findlay, G. M
Nature Communications
11
1357
(
2020
)


Principal Investigator(s):

PubMed:
32170114