Purinergic signaling mediated by P2 receptors (P2Rs) plays important roles in embryonic and stem cell development. However, how it mediates Ca(2+) signals in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and derived cardiovascular progenitor cells (CVPCs) remains unclear. Here, we aimed to determine the role of P2Rs in mediating Ca(2+) mobilizations of these cells. hESCs were induced to differentiate into CVPCs by our recently established methods. Gene expression of P2Rs and inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP3Rs) was analyzed by quantitative/RT-PCR. IP3R3 knockdown (KD) or IP3R2 knockout (KO) hESCs were established by shRNA- or TALEN-mediated gene manipulations, respectively. Confocal imaging revealed that Ca(2+) responses in CVPCs to ATP and UTP were more sensitive and stronger than those in hESCs. Consistently, the gene expression levels of most P2YRs except P2Y1 were increased in CVPCs. Suramin or PPADS blocked ATP-induced Ca(2+) transients in hESCs but only partially inhibited those in CVPCs. Moreover, the P2Y1 receptor-specific antagonist MRS2279 abolished most ATP-induced Ca(2+) signals in hESCs but not in CVPCs. P2Y1 receptor-specific agonist MRS2365 induced Ca(2+) transients only in hESCs but not in CVPCs. Furthermore, IP3R2KO but not IP3R3KD decreased the proportion of hESCs responding to MRS2365. In contrast, both IP3R2 and IP3R3 contributed to UTP-induced Ca(2+) responses while ATP-induced Ca(2+) responses were more dependent on IP3R2 in the CVPCs. In conclusion, a predominant role of P2Y1 receptors in hESCs and a transition of P2Y-IP3R coupling in derived CVPCs are responsible for the differential Ca(2+) mobilization between these cells.
Keywords: Ca2+ signaling; IP3 receptors; Lineage progenitors; P2Y receptors; Pluripotent stem cells.