To reveal how cells exit human pluripotency, we designed a CRISPR-Cas9 screen exploiting the metabolic and epigenetic differences between naïve and primed pluripotent cells. We identify the tumor suppressor, Folliculin(FLCN) as a critical gene required for the exit from human pluripotency. Here we show that FLCN Knock-out (KO) hESCs maintain the naïve pluripotent state but cannot exit the state since the critical transcription factor TFE3 remains active in the nucleus. TFE3 targets up-regulated in FLCN KO exit assay are members of Wnt pathway and ESRRB. Treatment of FLCN KO hESC with a Wnt inhibitor, but not ESRRB/FLCN double mutant, rescues the cells, allowing the exit from the naïve state. Using co-immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry analysis we identify unique FLCN binding partners. The interactions of FLCN with components of the mTOR pathway (mTORC1 and mTORC2) reveal a mechanism of FLCN function during exit from naïve pluripotency.
- Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors/genetics
- CRISPR-Cas Systems/genetics
- Cell Line
- Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1/genetics
- Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 2/genetics
- Receptors, Estrogen/genetics
- Wnt Signaling Pathway/genetics