Cell fate transitions involve rapid gene expression changes and global chromatin remodeling, yet the underlying regulatory pathways remain incompletely understood. Here, we identified the RNA-processing factor Nudt21 as a novel regulator of cell fate change using transcription-factor-induced reprogramming as a screening assay. Suppression of Nudt21 enhanced the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells, facilitated transdifferentiation into trophoblast stem cells, and impaired differentiation of myeloid precursors and embryonic stem cells, suggesting a broader role for Nudt21 in cell fate change. We show that Nudt21 directs differential polyadenylation of over 1,500 transcripts in cells acquiring pluripotency, although only a fraction changed protein levels. Remarkably, these proteins were strongly enriched for chromatin regulators, and their suppression neutralized the effect of Nudt21 during reprogramming. Collectively, our data uncover Nudt21 as a novel post-transcriptional regulator of cell fate and establish a direct, previously unappreciated link between alternative polyadenylation and chromatin signaling.
Keywords: Alternative polyadenylation; chromatin; embryonic stem cells; epigenetic regulation; induced pluripotent stem cells; induced trophoblast stem cells; microRNA; pluripotency; reprogramming; transdifferentiation.
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