Epigenetic interventions are required to induce reprogramming from one cell type to another. At present, various cellular reprogramming methods such as somatic cell nuclear transfer, cell fusion, and direct reprogramming using transcription factors have been reported. In particular, direct reprogramming from somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has been achieved using defined factors that play important epigenetic roles. Although the mechanisms underlying cellular reprogramming and vertebrate regeneration, including appendage regeneration, remain unknown, dedifferentiation occurs at an early phase in both the events, and both events are contrasting with regard to cell death. We compared the current status of changes in cell fate of iPSCs with that of vertebrate regeneration and suggested that substantial insights into vertebrate regeneration should be helpful for safe applications of iPSCs to medicine.
In eukaryotic cells, mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with a variety of human diseases. Delivery of exogenous functional mitochondria into damaged cells has been proposed as a mechanism of cell transplant and physiological repair for damaged tissue. We here demonstrated that isolated mitochondria can be transferred into homogeneic and xenogeneic cells by simple co-incubation using genetically labelled mitochondria, and elucidated the mechanism and the effect of direct mitochondrial transfer. Intracellular localization of exogenous mitochondria was confirmed by PCR, real-time PCR, live fluorescence imaging, three-dimensional reconstruction imaging, continuous time-lapse microscopic observation, flow cytometric analysis and immunoelectron microscopy. Isolated homogeneic mitochondria were transferred into human uterine endometrial gland-derived mesenchymal cells in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, mitochondrial transfer rescued the mitochondrial respiratory function and improved the cellular viability in mitochondrial DNA-depleted cells and these effects lasted several days. Finally, we discovered that mitochondrial internalization involves macropinocytosis. In conclusion, these data support direct transfer of exogenous mitochondria as a promising approach for the treatment of various diseases.
Gene transfer technique has various applications, ranging from cellular biology to medical treatments for diseases. Although nonviral vectors, such as episomal vectors, have been developed, it is necessary to improve their gene transfer efficacy. Therefore, we attempted to develop a highly efficient gene delivery system combining an episomal vector with magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs). In comparison with the conventional method using transfection reagents, polyethylenimine-coated MNPs introduced episomal vectors more efficiently under a magnetic field and could express the gene in mammalian cells with higher efficiency and for longer periods. This novel in vitro separation method of gene-introduced cells utilizing the magnetic property of MNPs significantly facilitated the separation of cells of interest. Transplanted cells in vivo were detected using magnetic resonance. These results suggest that MNPs play multifunctional roles in ex vivo gene transfer, such as improvement of gene transfer efficacy, separation of cells, and detection of transplanted cells.
Microchemistry provides methods to analyze small quantities of chemical substances, including proteins, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates in various fields such as biomedical research, tissue engineering, molecular biology, and regeneration medicine. We therefore developed a fluorescent capillary isoelectric focusing (fluorescent cIEF) system for protein detection at an ultramicroscale volume, which aimed to isolate and identify, from a heterogeneous mixture of transduced cells, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that could be fully reprogrammed. In addition, we demonstrated that the SOX2 protein, which is indispensable for the acquisition of pluripotency, could be detected by this new fluorescent cIEF system to identify iPSCs in the early phase of complete reprogramming. This method took less than 1h for completion, including the time required for the antibody-antigen (Ab-Ag) reaction, and required as few as approximately three cells. Thus, this system could help improve iPSC generation as well as cut costs and reduce workloads.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are among the most promising sources of stem cells for regenerative medicine. However, the range of their differentiation ability is very limited. In this study, we explored prospective cell surface markers of human MSCs that readily differentiate into cardiomyocytes. When the cardiomyogenic differentiation potential and the expression of cell surface markers involved in heart development were analyzed using various immortalized human MSC lines, the MSCs with high expression of N-cadherin showed a higher probability of differentiation into beating cardiomyocytes. The differentiated cardiomyocytes expressed terminally differentiated cardiomyocyte-specific markers such as ?-actinin, cardiac troponin T, and connexin-43. A similar correlation was observed with primary human MSCs derived from bone marrow and adipose tissue. Moreover, N-cadherin-positive MSCs isolated with N-cadherin antibody-conjugated magnetic beads showed an apparently higher ability to differentiate into cardiomyocytes than the N-cadherin-negative population. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analyses demonstrated that the N-cadherin-positive population expressed significantly elevated levels of cardiomyogenic progenitor-specific transcription factors, including Nkx2.5, Hand1, and GATA4 mRNAs. Our results suggest that N-cadherin is a novel prospective cell surface marker of human MSCs that show a better ability for cardiomyocyte differentiation.
Cell-based regeneration therapies have great potential for application in new areas in clinical medicine, although some obstacles still remain to be overcome for a wide range of clinical applications. One major impediment is the difficulty in large-scale production of cells of interest with reproducibility. Current protocols of cell therapy require a time-consuming and laborious manual process. To solve this problem, we focused on the robotics of an automated and high-throughput cell culture system. Automated robotic cultivation of stem or progenitor cells in clinical trials has not been reported till date. The system AutoCulture(R) used in this study can automatically replace the culture medium, centrifuge cells, split cells, and take photographs for morphological assessment. We examined the feasibility of this system in a clinical setting.
Nanoparticle technology is being incorporated into many areas of molecular science and biomedicine. Because nanoparticles are small enough to enter almost all areas of the body, including the circulatory system and cells, they have been and continue to be exploited for basic biomedical research as well as clinical diagnostic and therapeutic applications. For example, nanoparticles hold great promise for enabling gene therapy to reach its full potential by facilitating targeted delivery of DNA into tissues and cells. Substantial progress has been made in binding DNA to nanoparticles and controlling the behavior of these complexes. In this article, we review research on binding DNAs to nanoparticles as well as our latest study on non-viral gene delivery using polyethylenimine-coated magnetic nanoparticles.
Low efficiencies of nonviral gene vectors, such as transfection reagent, limit their utility in gene therapy. To overcome this disadvantage, we report on the preparation and properties of magnetic nanoparticles [diameter (d) = 121.32 ± 27.36 nm] positively charged by cationic polymer deacylated polyethylenimine (PEI max), which boosts gene delivery efficiency compare with polyethylenimine (PEI), and their use for the forced expression of plasmid delivery by application of a magnetic field. Magnetic nanoparticles were coated with PEI max, which enabled their electrostatic interaction with negatively charged molecules such as plasmid. We successfully transfected 81.1 ± 4.0% of the cells using PEI max-coated magnetic nanoparticles (PEI max-nanoparticles). Along with their superior properties as a DNA delivery vehicle, PEI max-nanoparticles offer to deliver various DNA formulations in addition to traditional methods. Furthermore, efficiency of the gene transfer was not inhibited in the presence of serum in the cells. PEI max-nanoparticles may be a promising gene carrier that has high transfection efficiency as well as low cytotoxicity.
Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-E is a non-classical major histocompatibility complex class I (Ib) molecule, which plays an important role in immunosuppression. In this study, we investigated the immunomodulating effect of HLA-E in a xenogeneic system, using human placental artery-derived endothelial (hPAE) cells expressing HLA-E in a mouse model. In vitro cell lysis analysis by primed lymphocytes in combination with siRNA transfection showed that HLA-E is necessary for inhibition of the immune response. Similarly, in vivo cell implantation analysis with siRNA-mediated down-regulation of HLA-E demonstrates that HLA-E is involved in immunosuppression. As hPAE cells efficiently transdifferentiate into myoblasts/myocytes in vitro, we transplanted the cells into mdx mice, a model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. hPAE cells conferred dystrophin to myocytes of the immunocompetent mdx mice with extremely high efficiency. These findings suggest that HLA-E-expressing cells with a myogenic potential represent a promising source for cell-based therapy of patients with muscular dystrophy.
Rho family protein regulates variety of cellular functions as cytoskeletal organization, cell proliferation and apoptosis. In the present study, we demonstrate that RhoB-overexpressed prostate cancer cells showed an enhanced cell motility and the administration of the GSK-3 inhibitors inhibited this increase in migration. Among the extracellular matrix and adhesion-related molecules, MMP1 RNA expression was increased in RhoB-overexpressed cells, administration of MMP inhibitor suppressed the collagen gel invasion in these cells. This is the first report evaluating RhoB function and the downstream signaling events in prostate cancer cell. Our results indicate that RhoB promotes cell motility and invasion in a metastatic prostate cancer cell.
Cellular differentiation and lineage commitment are considered to be robust and irreversible processes during development. Recent work has shown that mouse and human fibroblasts can be reprogrammed to a pluripotent state with a combination of four transcription factors. We hypothesized that combinatorial expression of chondrocyte-specific transcription factors could directly convert human placental cells into chondrocytes. Starting from a pool of candidate genes, we identified a combination of only five genes (5F pool)-BCL6, T (also called BRACHYURY), c-MYC, MITF, and BAF60C (also called SMARCD3)-that rapidly and efficiently convert postnatal human chorion and decidual cells into chondrocytes. The cells generated expressed multiple cartilage-specific genes, such as Collagen type II ?1, LINK PROTEIN-1, and AGGRECAN, and exhibited characteristics of cartilage both in vivo and in vitro. Expression of the endogenous genes for T and MITF was initiated, implying that the cell conversion is due to not only the forced expression of the transgenes, but also to cellular reprogramming by the transgenes. This direct conversion system from noncartilage tissue to cartilaginous tissue is a substantial advance toward understanding cartilage development, cell-based therapy, and oncogenesis of chondrocytes.
Inflammatory cells play important roles in progression of solid neoplasms including ovarian cancers. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) contribute to angiogenesis and immune suppression by modulating microenvironment. Ovarian cancer develops occasionally on the bases of endometriosis, a chronic inflammatory disease. We have recently demonstrated differential expressions of CXCR3 variants in endometriosis and ovarian cancers. In this study, we showed impaired CXCL4 expression in TAMs of ovarian cancers arising in endometriosis. The expressions of CXCL4 and its variant CXCL4L1 were investigated among normal ovaries (n = 26), endometriosis (n = 18) and endometriosis-associated ovarian cancers (EAOCs) composed of clear cell (n = 13) and endometrioid (n = 11) types. In addition, four cases of EAOCs that contained both benign and cancer lesions contiguously in single cysts were investigated in the study. Western blot and quantitative RT-PCR analyses revealed significant downregulation of CXCL4 and CXCL4L1 in EAOCs compared with those in endometriosis. In all EAOCs coexisting with endometriosis in the single cyst, the expression levels of CXCL4 and CXCL4L1 were significantly lower in cancer lesions than in corresponding endometriosis. Histopathological study revealed that CXCL4 was strongly expressed in CD68 (+) infiltrating macrophages of endometriosis. In microscopically transitional zone between endometriosis and EAOC, CD68 (+) macrophages often demonstrated CXCL4 (-) pattern. The majority of CD68 (+) TAMs in overt cancer lesions were negative for CXCL4. Collective data indicate that that CXCL4 insufficiency may be involved in specific inflammatory microenvironment of ovarian cancers arising in endometriosis. Suppression of CXCL4 in cancer lesions is likely to be attributable to TAMs in part.
Angiotensin II receptor-like 1 (APJ), a G protein-coupled receptor that was identified as a homologue of angiotensin II type 1 (AT1) receptor, exerts antagonistic effects on AT1-mediated vasoconstriction. Studies on pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) revealed aberrant activation of AT1 downstream signaling. In contrast, little is known about APJ in the pathophysiology of human pregnancy. In this study, we investigated APJ expression in normal human and PIH placentas. mRNAs were extracted from 50 placental villous tissues of 18 cases with severe PIH (8 late-onset, 4 early-onset, and 6 superimposed PIH) and 32 control pregnancies (including 6 preterm cases). Histopathologic studies were conducted using paraffin-embedded placental tissues from 12 control placentas (from 23 to 39 wk) and 23 PIH placentas (from 24 to 41 wk). Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction showed that APJ was cooperatively expressed with its ligand apelin and AT1 in controls and in late-onset PIH placentas but was significantly downregulated in early-onset PIH placentas with poor fetal growth. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed upregulated APJ in late-onset PIH placentas but significantly downregulated APJ in early-onset PIH. In immunohistochemical staining, APJ was detected strongly in villous capillary endothelial cells and trophoblasts of late-onset PIH placentas. In contrast, APJ was poorly stained in endothelial cells of hypoplastic villi of early-onset PIH placentas. Collective data indicate that the apelin-APJ system is involved in fetoplacental circulation during human pregnancy. Impaired APJ expression in early-onset PIH placentas may reflect an aggravated placental condition with poor fetal growth.
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