In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (20)

Articles by Zhong-Dong Shi in JoVE

Other articles by Zhong-Dong Shi on PubMed

Biological Responses of Suspension Cultures of Taxus Chinensis Var. Mairei to Shear Stresses in the Short Term

Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology. Aug, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14515022

The biological responses of Taxus chinensis var. mairei suspension cultures to a range of shear rates were investigated in a Couette-type shear reactor. It was found that the shear rate below 458 s-1 enhanced the primary metabolism, increasing mitochondrial activity and protein expression and inhibiting the activity of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), an enzyme relevant to the secondary metabolism. However, the shear rate over 719 s-1 damaged taxus cells to some extent, decreasing the mitochondrial activity, increasing the membrane permeability, and even causing cell hypersensitive responses. As a result, PAL and intracellular peroxidase, an enzyme in cells relevant to reactive oxygen species scavenging, were activated and extracellular phenolics were accumulated. Additionally, shear-induced accumulation of free radicals and alkalization of the culture medium were observed. The results might shed light on a better understanding of the mechanism of plant cells responses to shear stress through the signal transduction pathway.

Rat Aortic Smooth Muscle Cells Contract in Response to Serum and Its Components in a Calcium Independent Manner

Annals of Biomedical Engineering. Dec, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15675680

Diluted serum provides a model of interstitial fluid that can be used to study the response of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) to interstitial flow. The effect of serum and some of its components on SMC contraction (area reduction) and intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i) response were characterized in rat aortic SMC in vitro. Rat aortic SMCs contracted dramatically to fetal bovine serum (FBS), bovine serum albumin (BSA), and lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) within 5 min of exposure. By 30 min, cell areas were significantly reduced. Even at concentrations as low as 0.0005% FBS, 0.004% BSA and 0.25 microM LPA, cell areas were significantly different from controls at 30 min. The [Ca2+]i response was significant for serum and LPA at these low concentration levels, but BSA did not elicit a significant [Ca2+]i response at concentrations of 0.1% or lower. Under calcium controlled conditions in which SMCs were pretreated with 10 microM BAPTA-AM, contraction levels were not statistically different from non-calcium controlled conditions even when SMCs were exposed to the highest concentration of serum, BSA, or LPA. It appears that LPA and albumin are components of interstitial fluid that contribute to SMC contraction through calcium-independent mechanisms.

Effects of Fluid Shear Stress on Adventitial Fibroblast Migration: Implications for Flow-mediated Mechanisms of Arterialization and Intimal Hyperplasia

American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology. Jun, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17308005

The involvement of vascular fibroblasts (FBs) and smooth muscle (SM)-like cells in physiological and pathological processes in large vessels (intimal hyperplasia) and microvessels (capillary arterialization), and the realization that these cells are exposed to interstitial flow shear stress (SS), motivate this study of SS on FB migratory activity. Rat adventitial FBs were grown to either 30-50% confluence (subconfluent FBs; SFBs) or full confluence (confluent FBs; CFBs) in culture. Immunofluorescence and Western blotting assays were conducted to evaluate the expression of two phenotype markers: SM alpha-actin and SM myosin heavy chain (MHC). Both assays indicated a significant increase in SM alpha-actin expression in CFBs compared with SFBs, suggesting a phenotype difference between the two cell populations. SFBs and CFBs both expressed minimal SM MHC. Both cell populations were seeded on Matrigel-coated cell culture inserts and exposed to 4 h of either 1 or 20 dyn/cm(2) SS via a rotating disk apparatus in the presence of the chemoattractant platelet-derived growth factor-BB to quantify the effect of SS on SFB and CFB migration. Four hours of 20 dyn/cm(2) SS significantly enhanced SFB migration while it suppressed CFB migratory activity. Four hours of 1 dyn/cm(2) SS did not significantly alter either SFB or CFB migration levels. Because of the distinct migratory responses of SFBs and CFBs in response to SS, phenotype modulation appears to be one way to regulate their involvement in both physiological and pathological remodeling processes.

Interstitial Flow Promotes Vascular Fibroblast, Myofibroblast, and Smooth Muscle Cell Motility in 3-D Collagen I Via Upregulation of MMP-1

American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology. Oct, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19465549

Neointima formation often occurs in regions where the endothelium has been damaged and the transmural interstitial flow is elevated. Vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and fibroblasts/myofibroblasts (FBs/MFBs) contribute to intimal thickening by migrating from the media and adventitia into the site of injury. In this study, for the first time, the direct effects of interstitial flow on SMC and FB/MFB migration were investigated in an in vitro three-dimensional system. Collagen I gels were used to mimic three-dimensional extracellular matrix (ECM) for rat aortic SMCs and FBs/MFBs. Exposure to interstitial flow induced by 1 cmH(2)O pressure differential (shear stress, approximately 0.05 dyn/cm(2); flow velocity, approximately 0.5 microm/s; and Darcy permeability, approximately 10(-11) cm(2)) substantially enhanced cell motility. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitor (GM-6001) abolished flow-induced migration augmentation, which suggested that the enhanced motility was MMP dependent. The upregulation of MMP-1 played a critical role for the flow-enhanced motility, which was further confirmed by silencing MMP-1 gene expression. Longer exposures to higher flows suppressed the number of migrated cells, although MMP-1 gene expression remained high. This suppression was a result of both flow-induced tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 upregulation and increased apoptotic and necrotic cell death. Interstitial flow did not affect MMP-2 gene expression or activity in the collagen I gel for any cell type. Our findings shed light on the mechanism by which vascular SMCs and FBs/MFBs contribute to intimal thickening in regions of vascular injury where interstitial flow is elevated.

Interstitial Flow Induces MMP-1 Expression and Vascular SMC Migration in Collagen I Gels Via an ERK1/2-dependent and C-Jun-mediated Mechanism

American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology. Jan, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19880665

The migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and fibroblasts into the intima after vascular injury is a central process in vascular lesion formation. The elevation of transmural interstitial flow is also observed after damage to the vascular endothelium. We have previously shown that interstitial flow upregulates matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) expression, which in turn promotes SMC and fibroblast migration in collagen I gels. In this study, we investigated further the mechanism of flow-induced MMP-1 expression. An ERK1/2 inhibitor PD-98059 completely abolished interstitial flow-induced SMC migration and MMP-1 expression. Interstitial flow promoted ERK1/2 phosphorylation, whereas PD-98059 abolished flow-induced activation. Silencing ERK1/2 completely abolished MMP-1 expression and SMC migration. In addition, interstitial flow increased the expression of activator protein-1 transcription factors (c-Jun and c-Fos), whereas PD-98059 attenuated flow-induced expression. Knocking down c-jun completely abolished flow-induced MMP-1 expression, whereas silencing c-fos did not affect MMP-1 expression. Taken together, our data indicate that interstitial flow induces MMP-1 expression and SMC migration in collagen I gels via an ERK1/2-dependent and c-Jun-mediated mechanism and suggest that interstitial flow, ERK1/2 MAPK, c-Jun, and MMP-1 may play important roles in SMC migration and neointima formation after vascular injury.

Permeability of Endothelial and Astrocyte Cocultures: in Vitro Blood-brain Barrier Models for Drug Delivery Studies

Annals of Biomedical Engineering. Aug, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20361260

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a major obstacle for drug delivery to the brain. To seek for in vitro BBB models that are more accessible than animals for investigating drug transport across the BBB, we compared four in vitro cultured cell models: endothelial monoculture (bEnd3 cell line), coculture of bEnd3 and primary rat astrocytes (coculture), coculture with collagen type I and IV mixture, and coculture with Matrigel. The expression of the BBB tight junction proteins in these in vitro models was assessed using RT-PCR and immunofluorescence. We also quantified the hydraulic conductivity (L (p)), transendothelial electrical resistance (TER) and diffusive solute permeability (P) of these models to three solutes: TAMRA, Dextran 10K and Dextran 70K. Our results show that L (p) and P of the endothelial monoculture and coculture models are not different from each other. Compared with in vivo permeability data from rat pial microvessels, P of the endothelial monoculture and coculture models are not significantly different from in vivo data for Dextran 70K, but they are 2-4 times higher for TAMRA and Dextran 10K. This suggests that the endothelial monoculture and all of the coculture models are fairly good models for studying the transport of relatively large solutes across the BBB.

Shear Stress Modulation of Smooth Muscle Cell Marker Genes in 2-D and 3-D Depends on Mechanotransduction by Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans and ERK1/2

PloS One. Aug, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20808940

During vascular injury, vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and fibroblasts/myofibroblasts (FBs/MFBs) are exposed to altered luminal blood flow or transmural interstitial flow. We investigate the effects of these two types of fluid flows on the phenotypes of SMCs and MFBs and the underlying mechanotransduction mechanisms.

Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans Mediate Interstitial Flow Mechanotransduction Regulating MMP-13 Expression and Cell Motility Via FAK-ERK in 3D Collagen

PloS One. Jan, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21246051

Interstitial flow directly affects cells that reside in tissues and regulates tissue physiology and pathology by modulating important cellular processes including proliferation, differentiation, and migration. However, the structures that cells utilize to sense interstitial flow in a 3-dimensional (3D) environment have not yet been elucidated. Previously, we have shown that interstitial flow upregulates matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression in rat vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and fibroblasts/myofibroblasts via activation of an ERK1/2-c-Jun pathway, which in turn promotes cell migration in collagen. Herein, we focused on uncovering the flow-induced mechanotransduction mechanism in 3D.

Fluid Flow Mechanotransduction in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells and Fibroblasts

Annals of Biomedical Engineering. Jun, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21479754

Understanding how vascular wall endothelial cells (ECs), smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and fibroblasts (FBs) sense and transduce the stimuli of hemodynamic forces (shear stress, cyclic strain, and hydrostatic pressure) into intracellular biochemical signals is critical to prevent vascular disease development and progression. ECs lining the vessel lumen directly sense alterations in blood flow shear stress and then communicate with medial SMCs and adventitial FBs to regulate vessel function and disease. Shear stress mechanotransduction in ECs has been extensively studied and reviewed. In the case of endothelial damage, blood flow shear stress may directly act on the superficial layer of SMCs and transmural interstitial flow may be elevated on medial SMCs and adventitial FBs. Therefore, it is also important to investigate direct shear effects on vascular SMCs as well as FBs. The work published in the last two decades has shown that shear stress and interstitial flow have significant influences on vascular SMCs and FBs. This review summarizes work that considered direct shear effects on SMCs and FBs and provides the first comprehensive overview of the underlying mechanisms that modulate SMC secretion, alignment, contraction, proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, and migration in response to 2-dimensional (2D) laminar, pulsatile, and oscillating flow shear stresses and 3D interstitial flow. A mechanistic model of flow sensing by SMCs is also provided to elucidate possible mechanotransduction pathways through surface glycocalyx, integrins, membrane receptors, ion channels, and primary cilia. Understanding flow-mediated mechanotransduction in SMCs and FBs and the interplay with ECs should be helpful in exploring strategies to prevent flow-initiated atherosclerosis and neointima formation and has implications in vascular tissue engineering.

Fluid Shear Stress Regulates the Invasive Potential of Glioma Cells Via Modulation of Migratory Activity and Matrix Metalloproteinase Expression

PloS One. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21637818

Glioma cells are exposed to elevated interstitial fluid flow during the onset of angiogenesis, at the tumor periphery while invading normal parenchyma, within white matter tracts, and during vascular normalization therapy. Glioma cell lines that have been exposed to fluid flow forces in vivo have much lower invasive potentials than in vitro cell motility assays without flow would indicate.

Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycan Mediates Shear Stress-induced Endothelial Gene Expression in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell-derived Endothelial Cells

Biotechnology and Bioengineering. Feb, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 21837663

It has been shown that shear stress plays a critical role in promoting endothelial cell (EC) differentiation from embryonic stem cell (ESC)-derived ECs. However, the underlying mechanisms mediating shear stress effects in this process have yet to be investigated. It has been reported that the glycocalyx component heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) mediates shear stress mechanotransduction in mature EC. In this study, we investigated whether cell surface HSPG plays a role in shear stress modulation of EC phenotype. ESC-derived EC were subjected to shear stress (5 dyn/cm(2)) for 8 h with or without heparinase III (Hep III) that digests heparan sulfate. Immunostaining showed that ESC-derived EC surfaces contain abundant HSPG, which could be cleaved by Hep III. We observed that shear stress significantly increased the expression of vascular EC-specific marker genes (vWF, VE-cadherin, PECAM-1). The effect of shear stress on expression of tight junction protein genes (ZO-1, OCLD, CLD5) was also evaluated. Shear stress increased the expression of ZO-1 and CLD5, while it did not alter the expression of OCLD. Shear stress increased expression of vasodilatory genes (eNOS, COX-2), while it decreased the expression of the vasoconstrictive gene ET1. After reduction of HSPG with Hep III, the shear stress-induced expression of vWF, VE-cadherin, ZO-1, eNOS, and COX-2, were abolished, suggesting that shear stress-induced expression of these genes depends on HSPG. These findings indicate for the first time that HSPG is a mechanosensor mediating shear stress-induced EC differentiation from ESC-derived EC cells.

Effect of the Glycocalyx Layer on Transmission of Interstitial Flow Shear Stress to Embedded Cells

Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology. Jan, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 22411016

In this paper, a simple theoretical model is developed to describe the transmission of force from interstitial fluid flow to the surface of a cell covered by a proteoglycan / glycoprotein layer (glycocalyx) and embedded in an extracellular matrix. Brinkman equations are used to describe flow through the extracellular matrix and glycocalyx layers and the solid mechanical stress developed in the glycocalyx by the fluid flow loading is determined. Using reasonable values for the Darcy permeability of extracellular matrix and glycocalyx layers and interstitial flow velocity, we are able to estimate the fluid and solid shear stresses imposed on the surface of embedded vascular, cartilage and tumor cells in vivo and in vitro. The principal finding is that the surface solid stress is typically one to two orders of magnitude larger than the surface fluid stress. This indicates that interstitial flow shear stress can be sensed by the cell surface glycocalyx, supporting numerous recent observations that interstitial flow can induce mechanotransduction in embedded cells. This study may contribute to understanding of interstitial flow-related mechanobiology in embryogenesis, tumorigenesis, tissue physiology and diseases and has implications in tissue engineering.

Enhanced Osteogenesis of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells by Periodic Heat Shock in Self-assembling Peptide Hydrogel

Tissue Engineering. Part A. Mar, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23072422

The mechanisms for the heat-induced osteogenesis are not completely known and the thermal regulation of human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) differentiation is not well studied. In this study, the direct effects of mild heat shock (HS) on the differentiation of hMSCs into osteoblasts in self-assembling peptide hydrogel and on tissue culture plates were investigated. hMSCs isolated from human bone marrow were seeded in conventional culture plates (two-dimensional [2D] culture) and on the surface of three-dimensional (3D) PuraMatrix peptide hydrogel (3D culture), followed by 1 h HS at 41°C once a week during osteogenic differentiation. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity was enhanced in both 2D and 3D cultures via periodic HS at early stage of differentiation; meanwhile, HS significantly increased the calcium deposition at day 19 and 27 of differentiation in both 2D and 3D cultures. The periodic HS also upregulated osteo-specific genes, osterix (OSX) on day 11, osteopontin (OP) on day 19, and bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) on day 25 in 2D culture. In 3D PuraMatrix culture, the runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) was upregulated by HS on day 25 of differentiation. The heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) was significantly upregulated by HS in differentiated hMSCs analyzed at 24 h after HS. These results demonstrate that HS induced an earlier differentiation of hMSCs and enhanced the maturation of osteoblasts differentiated from hMSCs. Therefore, mild HS treatment may be potentially used to enhance the bone regeneration using hMSCs. Our data will guide the design of in vivo heating protocols and enable further investigations in thermal treatments of MSC osteogenesis for bone tissue engineering.

Homologous Recombination DNA Repair Genes Play a Critical Role in Reprogramming to a Pluripotent State

Cell Reports. Mar, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23478019

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold great promise for personalized regenerative medicine. However, recent studies show that iPSC lines carry genetic abnormalities, suggesting that reprogramming may be mutagenic. Here, we show that the ectopic expression of reprogramming factors increases the level of phosphorylated histone H2AX, one of the earliest cellular responses to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Additional mechanistic studies uncover a direct role of the homologous recombination (HR) pathway, a pathway essential for error-free repair of DNA DSBs, in reprogramming. This role is independent of the use of integrative or nonintegrative methods in introducing reprogramming factors, despite the latter being considered a safer approach that circumvents genetic modifications. Finally, deletion of the tumor suppressor p53 rescues the reprogramming phenotype in HR-deficient cells primarily through the restoration of reprogramming-dependent defects in cell proliferation and apoptosis. These mechanistic insights have important implications for the design of safer approaches to creating iPSCs.

Cancer Cell Glycocalyx Mediates Mechanotransduction and Flow-regulated Invasion

Integrative Biology : Quantitative Biosciences from Nano to Macro. Nov, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24077103

Mammalian cells are covered by a surface proteoglycan (glycocalyx) layer, and it is known that blood vessel-lining endothelial cells use the glycocalyx to sense and transduce the shearing forces of blood flow into intracellular signals. Tumor cells in vivo are exposed to forces from interstitial fluid flow that may affect metastatic potential but are not reproduced by most in vitro cell motility assays. We hypothesized that glycocalyx-mediated mechanotransduction of interstitial flow shear stress is an un-recognized factor that can significantly enhance metastatic cell motility and play a role in augmentation of invasion. Involvement of MMP levels, cell adhesion molecules (CD44, α3 integrin), and glycocalyx components (heparan sulfate and hyaluronan) was investigated in a cell/collagen gel suspension model designed to mimic the interstitial flow microenvironment. Physiological levels of flow upregulated MMP levels and enhanced the motility of metastatic cells. Blocking the flow-enhanced expression of MMP activity or adhesion molecules (CD44 and integrins) resulted in blocking the flow-enhanced migratory activity. The presence of a glycocalyx-like layer was verified around tumor cells, and the degradation of this layer by hyaluronidase and heparinase blocked the flow-regulated invasion. This study shows for the first time that interstitial flow enhancement of metastatic cell motility can be mediated by the cell surface glycocalyx - a potential target for therapeutics.

An ICRISPR Platform for Rapid, Multiplexable, and Inducible Genome Editing in Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

Cell Stem Cell. Aug, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24931489

Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) offer a unique platform for elucidating the genes and molecular pathways that underlie complex traits and diseases. To realize this promise, methods for rapid and controllable genetic manipulations are urgently needed. By combining two newly developed gene-editing tools, the TALEN and CRISPR/Cas systems, we have developed a genome-engineering platform in hPSCs, which we named iCRISPR. iCRISPR enabled rapid and highly efficient generation of biallelic knockout hPSCs for loss-of-function studies, as well as homozygous knockin hPSCs with specific nucleotide alterations for precise modeling of disease conditions. We further demonstrate efficient one-step generation of double- and triple-gene knockout hPSC lines, as well as stage-specific inducible gene knockout during hPSC differentiation. Thus the iCRISPR platform is uniquely suited for dissection of complex genetic interactions and pleiotropic gene functions in human disease studies and has the potential to support high-throughput genetic analysis in hPSCs.

Fluid Mechanics, Arterial Disease, and Gene Expression

Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics. Jan, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25360054

This review places modern research developments in vascular mechanobiology in the context of hemodynamic phenomena in the cardiovascular system and the discrete localization of vascular disease. The modern origins of this field are traced, beginning in the 1960s when associations between flow characteristics, particularly blood flow-induced wall shear stress, and the localization of atherosclerotic plaques were uncovered, and continuing to fluid shear stress effects on the vascular lining endothelial) cells (ECs), including their effects on EC morphology, biochemical production, and gene expression. The earliest single-gene studies and genome-wide analyses are considered. The final section moves from the ECs lining the vessel wall to the smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts within the wall that are fluid me chanically activated by interstitial flow that imposes shear stresses on their surfaces comparable with those of flowing blood on EC surfaces. Interstitial flow stimulates biochemical production and gene expression, much like blood flow on ECs.

A CRISPR/Cas-Mediated Selection-free Knockin Strategy in Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Stem Cell Reports. Jun, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26028531

The development of new gene-editing tools, in particular the CRISPR/Cas system, has greatly facilitated site-specific mutagenesis in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), including the introduction or correction of patient-specific mutations for disease modeling. However, integration of a reporter gene into an endogenous locus in hESCs still requires a lengthy and laborious two-step strategy that involves first drug selection to identify correctly targeted clones and then excision of the drug-resistance cassette. Through the use of iCRISPR, an efficient gene-editing platform we recently developed, this study demonstrates a knockin strategy without drug selection for both active and silent genes in hESCs. Lineage-specific hESC reporter lines are useful for real-time monitoring of cell-fate decisions and lineage tracing, as well as enrichment of specific cell populations during hESC differentiation. Thus, this selection-free knockin strategy is expected to greatly facilitate the use of hESCs for developmental studies, disease modeling, and cell-replacement therapy.

Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans Mediate Renal Carcinoma Metastasis

International Journal of Cancer. Dec, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27543953

The surface proteoglycan/glycoprotein layer (glycocalyx) on tumor cells has been associated with cellular functions that can potentially enable invasion and metastasis. In addition, aggressive tumor cells with high metastatic potential have enhanced invasion rates in response to interstitial flow stimuli in vitro. Our previous studies suggest that heparan sulfate (HS) in the glycocalyx plays an important role in this flow mediated mechanostransduction and upregulation of invasive and metastatic potential. In this study, highly metastatic renal cell carcinoma cells were genetically modified to suppress HS production by knocking down its synthetic enzyme NDST1. Using modified Boyden chamber and microfluidic assays, we show that flow-enhanced invasion is suppressed in HS deficient cells. To assess the ability of these cells to metastasize in vivo, parental or knockdown cells expressing fluorescence reporters were injected into kidney capsules in SCID mice. Histological analysis confirmed that there was a large reduction (95%) in metastasis to distant organs by tumors formed from the NDST1 knockdown cells compared to control cells with intact HS. The ability of these cells to invade surrounding tissue was also impaired. The substantial inhibition of metastasis and invasion upon reduction of HS suggests an active role for the tumor cell glycocalyx in tumor progression.

Genome Editing in HPSCs Reveals GATA6 Haploinsufficiency and a Genetic Interaction with GATA4 in Human Pancreatic Development

Cell Stem Cell. Feb, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28196600

Human disease phenotypes associated with haploinsufficient gene requirements are often not recapitulated well in animal models. Here, we have investigated the association between human GATA6 haploinsufficiency and a wide range of clinical phenotypes that include neonatal and adult-onset diabetes using CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat)/Cas9-mediated genome editing coupled with human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) directed differentiation. We found that loss of one GATA6 allele specifically affects the differentiation of human pancreatic progenitors from the early PDX1+ stage to the more mature PDX1+NKX6.1+ stage, leading to impaired formation of glucose-responsive β-like cells. In addition to this GATA6 haploinsufficiency, we also identified dosage-sensitive requirements for GATA6 and GATA4 in the formation of both definitive endoderm and pancreatic progenitor cells. Our work expands the application of hPSCs from studying the impact of individual gene loci to investigation of multigenic human traits, and it establishes an approach for identifying genetic modifiers of human disease.

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