The adverse effects of heat stress (HS) on physiological systems are well documented, yet the underlying molecular mechanisms behind it remain poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a comprehensive investigation into the impact of HS on mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), focusing on their morphology, phenotype, proliferative capacity, and fate determination. Our in-depth analysis of the MSCs’ transcriptome revealed a significant influence of HS on the transcriptional landscape. Notably, even after a short period of stress, we observed a persistent alteration in cell identity, potentially mediated by the activation of bivalent genes. Furthermore, by comparing the differentially expressed genes following short HS with their transcriptional state after recovery, we identified the transient upregulation of MLL and other histone modifiers, providing a potential mechanistic explanation for the stable activation of bivalent genes. This could be used to predict and modify the long-term effect of HS on cell identity.
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- Biological sciences
- Cell biology
- Stem cells research