Hsu Lab

Ya-Chieh Hsu

Ya-Chieh Hsu, Ph.D.

Alvin and Esta Star Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology
Principal Faculty, Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Ya-Chieh Hsu is the Alvin and Esta Star Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University, and a Principal Faculty Member at...

Read more about Ya-Chieh Hsu, Ph.D.
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Zhang, B., et al., 2016. Hair follicles' transit-amplifying cells govern concurrent dermal adipocyte production through Sonic Hedgehog. Genes Dev , 30 (20) , pp. 2325-2338.Abstract

Growth and regeneration of one tissue within an organ compels accommodative changes in the surrounding tissues. However, the molecular nature and operating logic governing these concurrent changes remain poorly defined. The dermal adipose layer expands concomitantly with hair follicle downgrowth, providing a paradigm for studying coordinated changes of surrounding lineages with a regenerating tissue. Here, we discover that hair follicle transit-amplifying cells (HF-TACs) play an essential role in orchestrating dermal adipogenesis through secreting Sonic Hedgehog (SHH). Depletion of Shh from HF-TACs abrogates both dermal adipogenesis and hair follicle growth. Using cell type-specific deletion of Smo, a gene required in SHH-receiving cells, we found that SHH does not act on hair follicles, adipocytes, endothelial cells, and hematopoietic cells for adipogenesis. Instead, SHH acts directly on adipocyte precursors, promoting their proliferation and their expression of a key adipogenic gene, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (Pparg), to induce dermal adipogenesis. Our study therefore uncovers a critical role for TACs in orchestrating the generation of both their own progeny and a neighboring lineage to achieve concomitant tissue production across lineages.

Lim, J., et al., 2007. Drosophila TRAP230/240 are essential coactivators for Atonal in retinal neurogenesis. Dev Biol , 308 (2) , pp. 322-30.Abstract
The TRAP (thyroid hormone receptor associated proteins)/Mediator complex serves as a transcriptional coactivator. In Drosophila, Kohtalo (Kto) and Skuld (Skd), homologs of TRAP subunits, TRAP230 and TRAP240, respectively, are necessary for eye development. However, the transcriptional activators that require Kto and Skd have not been identified. Here we provide evidence that Kto and Skd are essential for the function of transcription factor Atonal (Ato) in spatial patterning of proneural clusters in the morphogenetic furrow. In the absence of Kto/Skd, Ato fails to induce its inhibitory target events such as EGFR signaling and Scabrous expression that result in ectopic Ato expression in the space between proneural groups. Kto/Skd are also required for positive Ato functions to induce Ato targets such as Ato itself and Senseless within the proneural clusters. We also show that Skd forms a protein complex with Ato in vivo. These data suggest that Kto/Skd act as essential coactivators for Ato expression during early retinal neurogenesis.
Hsu, Y.-C., Li, L. & Fuchs, E., 2014. Transit-amplifying cells orchestrate stem cell activity and tissue regeneration. Cell , 157 (4) , pp. 935-49.Abstract
Transit-amplifying cells (TACs) are an early intermediate in tissue regeneration. Here, using hair follicles (HFs) as a paradigm, we show that emerging TACs constitute a signaling center that orchestrates tissue growth. Whereas primed stem cells (SCs) generate TACs, quiescent SCs only proliferate after TACs form and begin expressing Sonic Hedgehog (SHH). TAC generation is independent of autocrine SHH, but the TAC pool wanes if they can't produce SHH. We trace this paradox to two direct actions of SHH: promoting quiescent-SC proliferation and regulating dermal factors that stoke TAC expansion. Ingrained within quiescent SCs' special sensitivity to SHH signaling is their high expression of GAS1. Without sufficient input from quiescent SCs, replenishment of primed SCs for the next hair cycle is compromised, delaying regeneration and eventually leading to regeneration failure. Our findings unveil TACs as transient but indispensable integrators of SC niche components and reveal an intriguing interdependency of primed and quiescent SC populations on tissue regeneration.
Zhao, R., et al., 2005. Navigating the chaperone network: an integrative map of physical and genetic interactions mediated by the hsp90 chaperone. Cell , 120 (5) , pp. 715-27.Abstract
Physical, genetic, and chemical-genetic interactions centered on the conserved chaperone Hsp90 were mapped at high resolution in yeast using systematic proteomic and genomic methods. Physical interactions were identified using genome-wide two hybrid screens combined with large-scale affinity purification of Hsp90-containing protein complexes. Genetic interactions were uncovered using synthetic genetic array technology and by a microarray-based chemical-genetic screen of a set of about 4700 viable yeast gene deletion mutants for hypersensitivity to the Hsp90 inhibitor geldanamycin. An extended network, consisting of 198 putative physical interactions and 451 putative genetic and chemical-genetic interactions, was found to connect Hsp90 to cofactors and substrates involved in a wide range of cellular functions. Two novel Hsp90 cofactors, Tah1 (YCR060W) and Pih1 (YHR034C), were also identified. These cofactors interact physically and functionally with the conserved AAA(+)-type DNA helicases Rvb1/Rvb2, which are key components of several chromatin remodeling factors, thereby linking Hsp90 to epigenetic gene regulation.
Hsu, Y.-C., Pasolli, A.H. & Fuchs, E., 2011. Dynamics between stem cells, niche, and progeny in the hair follicle. Cell , 144 (1) , pp. 92-105.Abstract
Here, we exploit the hair follicle to define the point at which stem cells (SCs) become irreversibly committed along a differentiation lineage. Employing histone and nucleotide double-pulse-chase and lineage tracing, we show that the early SC descendents en route to becoming transit-amplifying cells retain stemness and slow-cycling properties and home back to the bulge niche when hair growth stops. These become the primary SCs for the next hair cycle, whereas initial bulge SCs become reserves for injury. Proliferating descendents further en route irreversibly lose their stemness, although they retain many SC markers and survive, unlike their transit-amplifying progeny. Remarkably, these progeny also home back to the bulge. Combining purification and gene expression analysis with differential ablation and functional experiments, we define critical functions for these non-SC niche residents and unveil the intriguing concept that an irreversibly committed cell in an SC lineage can become an essential contributor to the niche microenvironment.
Choi, K.-W. & Hsu, Y.-C., 2007. To cease or to proliferate: new insights into TCTP function from a Drosophila study. Cell Adh Migr , 1 (3) , pp. 129-30.Abstract
Tor (target of rapamycin) pathway underlies a major signaling mechanism for controlling cell growth and proliferation.(1) Rheb (Ras homolog enriched in brain) is a small GTPase in the Tor pathway.(2-4) Similar to other small GTPases, Rheb cycles between a GTP-bound active state and a GDP-bound inactive state. TSC2 (tuberous sclerosis complex 2), a gene mutated in an autosomal dominant disease tuberous sclerosis, was shown to be the Rheb-GAP (GTPase activating protein).(5,6) However, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for Rheb had been missing. Human TCTP (translationally controlled tumor protein) has been implicated in cancer, but its function in vivo has not been clearly elucidated. Recently we reported a molecular genetic characterization of TCTP function in Drosophila.(7) Drosophila TCTP (dTCTP) displays GEF activity to Rheb and is essential for Rheb activation in organ growth. Thus, our study provides a tight linkage of dTCTP to the Rheb-TOR pathway. In this addendum, we will briefly overview our findings and discuss our perspectives for future research on TCTP.
Hsu, Y.-C., et al., 2007. Drosophila TCTP is essential for growth and proliferation through regulation of dRheb GTPase. Nature , 445 (7129) , pp. 785-8.Abstract
Cellular growth and proliferation are coordinated during organogenesis. Misregulation of these processes leads to pathological conditions such as cancer. Tuberous sclerosis (TSC) is a benign tumour syndrome caused by mutations in either TSC1 or TSC2 tumour suppressor genes. Studies in Drosophila and other organisms have identified TSC signalling as a conserved pathway for growth control. Activation of the TSC pathway is mediated by Rheb (Ras homologue enriched in brain), a Ras superfamily GTPase. Rheb is a direct target of TSC2 and is negatively regulated by its GTPase-activating protein activity. However, molecules required for positive regulation of Rheb have not been identified. Here we show that a conserved protein, translationally controlled tumour protein (TCTP), is an essential new component of the TSC-Rheb pathway. Reducing Drosophila TCTP (dTCTP) levels reduces cell size, cell number and organ size, which mimics Drosophila Rheb (dRheb) mutant phenotypes. dTCTP is genetically epistatic to Tsc1 and dRheb, but acts upstream of dS6k, a downstream target of dRheb. dTCTP directly associates with dRheb and displays guanine nucleotide exchange activity with it in vivo and in vitro. Human TCTP (hTCTP) shows similar biochemical properties compared to dTCTP and can rescue dTCTP mutant phenotypes, suggesting that the function of TCTP in the TSC pathway is evolutionarily conserved. Our studies identify TCTP as a direct regulator of Rheb and a potential therapeutic target for TSC disease.
Hsu, Y.-C. & Fuchs, E., 2012. A family business: stem cell progeny join the niche to regulate homeostasis. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol , 13 (2) , pp. 103-14.Abstract
Stem cell niches, the discrete microenvironments in which the stem cells reside, play a dominant part in regulating stem cell activity and behaviours. Recent studies suggest that committed stem cell progeny become indispensable components of the niche in a wide range of stem cell systems. These unexpected niche inhabitants provide versatile feedback signals to their stem cell parents. Together with other heterologous cell types that constitute the niche, they contribute to the dynamics of the microenvironment. As progeny are often located in close proximity to stem cell niches, similar feedback regulations may be the underlying principles shared by different stem cell systems.