The process that converts somatic cells to pluripotent ones has enormous potential not only as a tool to generate cells for disease therapy and modeling, but also as an experimental system to investigate fundamental biological questions. The discovery of mesenchymal-to-epithelial transitions at the initial phase of reprogramming provides a conceptual framework to understand reprogramming in a cellular context and it helps to resolve the mechanistic roles of the original Yamanaka factors as well as newly identified modulators of reprogramming. Emerging concept such as sequential EMT-MET in reprogramming further suggests the value of this model to the understanding of cell fate conversions. We highlight recent advances about the function and regulation of MET in reprogramming and discuss their potential implications here.
Differentiation of neural lineages from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) raises the hope of generating functional cells for the treatment of neural diseases. However, current protocols for differentiating hPSCs into neural lineages remain inefficient and largely variable between different hPSC lines. We report that microRNA 376c (miR-376c) significantly enhanced neural differentiation of hPSCs in a defined condition by suppressing SMAD4, the co-SMAD for TGF-? signaling. Downstream, SMAD4 directly bound and suppressed PAX6, the critical neural lineage specification factor. Interestingly, we also found that SMAD4 binds and suppresses miR-376c clusters in undifferentiated hESCs. In summary, our findings revealed a reciprocal antagonism between miR-376c and SMAD signaling that regulates cell fate during human neural differentiation.-Liu, J., Wang, L., Su, Z., Wu, W., Cai, X., Li, D., Hou, J., Pei, D., Pan, G. A reciprocal antagonism between miR-376c and TGF-? signaling regulates neural differentiation of hPSCs.
The ability of stem cells to self-renew and generate different lineages during development and organogenesis is a fundamental, tightly controlled, and generally unidirectional process, whereas the 'immortality' of cancer cells could be regarded as pathological self-renewal. The molecular mechanisms that underpin the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells are remarkably similar to those that are deregulated in cancer - so much so that aberrant reprogramming is tumorigenic. The similarities also suggest that mutations in genes implicated in DNA methylation dynamics might represent a hallmark of cancers with a stem cell origin, and they highlight an alternative view of cancer that may be of clinical benefit.
Accumulating evidence indicates that the mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) are basic mechanisms for cell fate conversion and may help us understand both physiologic and pathologic processes such as development and carcinogenesis. Here, we further suggest that mammalian cells fall into two grand divisions, mesenchymal or epithelial; interconversions between these two grand divisions through EMT/MET resonate with some ancient Chinese philosophic ideas.
The stem-cell-based tissue-engineering approaches are widely applied in establishing functional organs and tissues for regenerative medicine. Successful generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) and rapid progress of related technical platform provide great promise in the development of regenerative medicine, including organ regeneration. We have previously reported that iPS cells could be an appealing stem cells source contributing to tooth regeneration. In the present paper, we mainly review the application of iPS technology in dental bioengineering and discuss the challenges for iPS cells in the whole tooth regeneration.
Cell fate conversion is considered as the changing of one type of cells to another type including somatic cell reprogramming (de-differentiation), differentiation, and trans-differentiation. Epithelial and mesenchymal cells are two major types of cells and the transitions between these two cell states as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) have been observed during multiple cell fate conversions including embryonic development, tumor progression and somatic cell reprogramming. In addition, MET and sequential EMT-MET during the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from fibroblasts have been reported recently. Such observation is consistent with multiple rounds of sequential EMT-MET during embryonic development which could be considered as a reversed process of reprogramming at least partially. Therefore in current review, we briefly discussed the potential roles played by EMT, MET, or even sequential EMT-MET during different kinds of cell fate conversions. We also provided some preliminary hypotheses on the mechanisms that connect cell state transitions and cell fate conversions based on results collected from cell cycle, epigenetic regulation, and stemness acquisition.
Reactivation of the pluripotency network during somatic cell reprogramming by exogenous transcription factors involves chromatin remodeling and the recruitment of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) to target loci. Here, we report that Pol II is engaged at pluripotency promoters in reprogramming but remains paused and inefficiently released. We also show that bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) stimulates productive transcriptional elongation of pluripotency genes by dissociating the pause release factor P-TEFb from an inactive complex containing HEXIM1. Consequently, BRD4 overexpression enhances reprogramming efficiency and HEXIM1 suppresses it, whereas Brd4 and Hexim1 knockdown do the opposite. We further demonstrate that the reprogramming factor KLF4 helps recruit P-TEFb to pluripotency promoters. Our work thus provides a mechanism for explaining the reactivation of pluripotency genes in reprogramming and unveils an unanticipated role for KLF4 in transcriptional pause release.
Tet-mediated DNA oxidation is a recently identified mammalian epigenetic modification, and its functional role in cell-fate transitions remains poorly understood. Here, we derive mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) deleted in all three Tet genes and examine their capacity for reprogramming into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). We show that Tet-deficient MEFs cannot be reprogrammed because of a block in the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) step. Reprogramming of MEFs deficient in TDG is similarly impaired. The block in reprogramming is caused at least in part by defective activation of key miRNAs, which depends on oxidative demethylation promoted by Tet and TDG. Reintroduction of either the affected miRNAs or catalytically active Tet and TDG restores reprogramming in the knockout MEFs. Thus, oxidative demethylation to promote gene activation appears to be functionally required for reprogramming of fibroblasts to pluripotency. These findings provide mechanistic insight into the role of epigenetic barriers in cell-lineage conversion.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from somatic cells have enormous potential for clinical applications. Notably, it was recently reported that reprogramming from somatic cells to iPSCs can induce genomic copy number variation (CNV), which is one of the major genetic causes of human diseases. However it was unclear if this genome instability is dependent on reprogramming methods and/or the genetic background of donor cells. Furthermore, genome-wide CNV analysis is technically challenging and CNV data need to be interpreted with care.
The breakthrough development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) raises the prospect of patient-specific treatment for many diseases through the replacement of affected cells. However, whether iPSC-derived functional cell lineages generate a deleterious immune response upon auto-transplantation remains unclear. In this study, we differentiated five human iPSC lines from skin fibroblasts and urine cells into neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and analyzed their immunogenicity. Through co-culture with autogenous peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), we showed that both somatic cells and iPSC-derived NPCs do not stimulate significant autogenous PBMC proliferation. However, a significant immune reaction was detected when these cells were co-cultured with allogenous PBMCs. Furthermore, no significant expression of perforin or granzyme B was detected following stimulation of autogenous immune effector cells (CD3(+)CD8(-) T cells, CD3(+)CD8(+) T cells or CD3(-)CD56(+) NK cells) by NPCs in both PBMC and T cell co-culture systems. These results suggest that human iPSC-derived NPCs may not initiate an immune response in autogenous transplants, and thus set a base for further preclinical evaluation of human iPSCs.
Hemophilia A (HA) is a severe, congenital bleeding disorder caused by the deficiency of clotting factor VIII (FVIII). For years, traditional laboratory animals have been used to study HA and its therapies, although animal models may not entirely mirror the human pathophysiology. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can undergo unlimited self-renewal and differentiate into all cell types. This study aims to generate hemophilia A (HA) patient-specific iPSCs that differentiate into disease-affected hepatocyte cells. These hepatocytes are potentially useful for in vitro disease modeling and provide an applicable cell source for autologous cell therapy after genetic correction.
Oct4 is a transcription factor that plays a major role for the preservation of the pluripotent state in embryonic stem cells as well as for efficient reprogramming of somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) or other progenitors. Protein-based reprogramming methods mainly rely on the addition of a fused cell penetrating peptide. This study describes that Oct4 inherently carries a protein transduction domain, which can translocate into human and mouse cells.
Zfyve9 is a FYVE domain protein first identified as a binding partner for SMAD2/3. In vitro studies indicate that it can function either positively or negatively in the TGF-beta signaling pathway depending on the cell lines used. However, the in vivo function of this protein remains to be investigated. We first analyzed the tissue distribution of zebrafish zfyve9a by in situ hybridization. To investigate the in vivo function of this gene, we performed morpholino mediated loss-of-function assays. We analyzed the expression patterns of liver (cp and fabp10a), pancreas (trypsin and insulin) or gut (fabp2) specific markers to determine whether the formation of these organs is affected by zfyve9a knockdown. We determined the specification of hepatoblast in the zfyve9a morphants (prox1a) and investigated the proliferation and survival of hepatic cells in the morphants by P-H3 staining and TUNEL assay respectively. We report here that zfyve9a is enriched in the zebrafish embryonic liver and required for hepatogenesis. Morpholino mediated knockdown of zfyve9a inhibits the formation of liver by day 4 while the other endoderm-derived organs appear unaffected. We demonstrated that the specification of hepatoblasts is normal in the zfyve9a morphants; however, the proliferation rate of these cells is reduced. Thus, our results reveal the liver-specific function of zfyve9a during early embryogenesis and indicate that the zfyve9a mediated signal is essential for the proliferation of hepatic cells during the expansion of liver bud.
?-Thalassemia (?-Thal) is a group of life-threatening blood disorders caused by either point mutations or deletions of nucleotides in ?-globin gene (HBB). It is estimated that 4.5% of the population in the world carry ?-Thal mutants (1), posing a persistent threat to public health. The generation of patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and subsequent correction of the disease-causing mutations offer an ideal therapeutic solution to this problem. However, homologous recombination-based gene correction in human iPSCs remains largely inefficient. Here, we describe a robust process combining efficient generation of integration-free ?-Thal iPSCs from the cells of patients and transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN)-based universal correction of HBB mutations in situ. We generated integration-free and gene-corrected iPSC lines from two patients carrying different types of homozygous mutations and showed that these iPSCs are pluripotent and have normal karyotype. We showed that the correction process did not generate TALEN-induced off targeting mutations by sequencing. More importantly, the gene-corrected ?-Thal iPS cell lines from each patient can be induced to differentiate into hematopoietic progenitor cells and then further to erythroblasts expressing normal ?-globin. Our studies provide an efficient and universal strategy to correct different types of ?-globin mutations in ?-Thal iPSCs for disease modeling and applications.
CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) is a ubiquitously expressed "master weaver" and plays multiple functions in the genome, including transcriptional activation/repression, chromatin insulation, imprinting, X chromosome inactivation, and high-order chromatin organization. It has been shown that CTCF facilitates the recruitment of the upstream binding factor onto ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and regulates the local epigenetic state of rDNA repeats. However, the mechanism by which CTCF modulates rRNA gene transcription has not been well understood. Here we found that wild-type CTCF augments the pre-rRNA level, cell size, and cell growth in cervical cancer cells. In contrast, RNA interference-mediated knockdown of CTCF reduced pre-rRNA transcription. CTCF positively regulates rRNA gene transcription in a RNA polymerase I-dependent manner. We identified an RRGR motif as a putative nucleolar localization sequence in the C-terminal region of CTCF that is required for activating rRNA gene transcription. Using mass spectrometry, we identified SMC2 and SMC4, two subunits of condensin complexes that interact with CTCF. Condensin negatively regulates CTCF-mediated rRNA gene transcription. Knockdown of SMC2 expression significantly facilitates the loading of CTCF and the upstream binding factor onto the rDNA locus and increases histone acetylation across the rDNA locus. Taken together, our study suggests that condensin competes with CTCF in binding to a specific rDNA locus and negatively regulates CTCF-mediated rRNA gene transcription.
Traditionally, clinicians and researchers have relied on a skin biopsy or blood extraction as relatively accessible supplies for in vitro cell expansion and biological studies. Perhaps surprisingly, limited attention has been given to a totally noninvasive source, urine, which eliminates the discomfort associated with other procedures. This may arise from the perception that urine is merely a body waste. Yet, the analysis of urine is a longstanding fundamental test for diagnostic purposes and nowadays there is growing interest in using urine for detecting biomarkers. In addition, recent work including ours reinforces the idea that urine contains a variety of viable cell types with relevant applications. In this review, we describe those cell types and their potential uses.
Sorting nexins are phox homology (PX) domain-containing proteins involved in diverse intracellular endosomal trafficking pathways. The PX domain binds to certain phosphatidylinositols and is recruited to vesicles rich in these lipids. The structure of the PX domain is highly conserved, containing a three-stranded ?-sheet, followed by three ?-helices. Here, we report the crystal structures of truncated human SNX11 (sorting nexin 11). The structures reveal that SNX11 contains a novel PX domain, hereby named the extended PX (PXe) domain, with two additional ?-helices at the C terminus. We demonstrate that these ?-helices are indispensible for the in vitro functions of SNX11. We propose that this PXe domain is present in SNX10 and is responsible for the vacuolation activity of SNX10. Thus, this novel PXe domain constitutes a structurally and functionally important PX domain subfamily.
Present practices for reprogramming somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells involve simultaneous introduction of reprogramming factors. Here we report that a sequential introduction protocol (Oct4-Klf4 first, then c-Myc and finally Sox2) outperforms the simultaneous one. Surprisingly, the sequential protocol activates an early epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) as indicated by the upregulation of Slug and N-cadherin followed by a delayed mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET). An early EMT induced by 1.5-day TGF-? treatment enhances reprogramming with the simultaneous protocol, whereas 12-day treatment blocks reprogramming. Consistent results were obtained when the TGF-? antagonist Repsox was applied in the sequential protocol. These results reveal a time-sensitive role of individual factors for optimal reprogramming and a sequential EMT-MET mechanism at the start of reprogramming. Our studies provide a rationale for further optimizing reprogramming, and introduce the concept of a sequential EMT-MET mechanism for cell fate decision that should be investigated further in other systems, both in vitro and in vivo.
Vitamin C, a micronutrient known for its anti-scurvy activity in humans, promotes the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) through the activity of histone demethylating dioxygenases. TET hydroxylases are also dioxygenases implicated in active DNA demethylation. Here we report that TET1 either positively or negatively regulates somatic cell reprogramming depending on the absence or presence of vitamin C. TET1 deficiency enhances reprogramming, and its overexpression impairs reprogramming in the context of vitamin C by modulating the obligatory mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET). In the absence of vitamin C, TET1 promotes somatic cell reprogramming independent of MET. Consistently, TET1 regulates 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) formation at loci critical for MET in a vitamin C-dependent fashion. Our findings suggest that vitamin C has a vital role in determining the biological outcome of TET1 function at the cellular level. Given its benefit to human health, vitamin C should be investigated further for its role in epigenetic regulation.
Class IIa histone deacetylases (HDACs) and myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) proteins compose a signaling module that orchestrates lineage specification during embryogenesis. We show here that this module also regulates the generation of mouse induced pluripotent stem cells by defined transcription factors. Class IIa HDACs and MEF2 proteins rise steadily during fibroblast reprogramming to induced pluripotent stem cells. MEF2 proteins tend to block the process by inducing the expression of Tgf? cytokines, which impairs the necessary phase of mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET). Conversely, class IIa HDACs endeavor to suppress the activity of MEF2 proteins, thus enhancing the MET and colony formation efficiency. Our work highlights an unexpected role for a developmental axis in somatic cell reprogramming and provides new insight into how the MET is regulated in this context.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold promise for the treatment of motoneuron diseases because of their distinct features including pluripotency, self-derivation and potential ability to differentiate into motoneurons. However, it is still unknown whether human iPSC-derived motoneurons can functionally innervate target muscles in vivo, which is the definitive sign of successful cell therapy for motoneuron diseases. In the present study, we demonstrated that human iPSCs derived from mesenchymal cells of the umbilical cord possessed a high yield in neural differentiation. Using a chemically-defined in vitro system, human iPSCs efficiently differentiated into motoneurons which displayed typical morphology, expressed specific molecules, and generated repetitive trains of action potentials. When transplanted into the injured musculocutaneous nerve of rats, they survived robustly, extended axons along the nerve, and formed functional connections with the target muscle (biceps brachii), thereby protecting the muscle from atrophy. Our study provides evidence for the first time that human iPSC-derived motoneurons are truly functional not only in vitro but also in vivo, and they have potential for stem cell-based therapies for motoneuron diseases.
The generation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells by exogenous transcription factors involves a comprehensive rearrangement of cellular functions, including the microRNA profile. The resulting cell lines are similar to embryonic stem (ES) cells and have therefore raised much interest for in vitro studies and the perspective of clinical application. Yet, microRNAs are not mere listeners of the reprogramming orchestra but play an active role in the process. In consequence, overexpression or suppression of individual microRNAs has profound effects in colony formation efficiency, and in combination they can produce iPS cells without added transcription factors. Moreover, variations in microRNA expression of iPS/ES cells can predict their differentiation potential and may have consequences at other levels. Altogether, these findings highlight the relevance of pursuing further these studies.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) exhibit reduced efficiency and higher variability in neural differentiation compared to embryonic stem cells (ESCs). In this study, we showed that mouse iPSCs failed to efficiently give rise to neuronal cells using conventional methods previously established for driving mouse ESC differentiation. We reported a novel approach which remarkably increases neural differentiation of mouse iPSCs. This novel approach initiated embryoid body (EB) formation directly from the whole cell clones isolated from the top of feeder cells. Compared to conventional neural induction methods such as single cell suspension or monolayer culture, the cell clone-derived EB method led to a pronounced increase in directed generation of various types of neural cells including neural stem cells, motoneurons and dopaminergic neurons in response to different inducers. Through gene expression microarray analysis, we identified 14 genes that were highly expressed in the cell clone-derived EBs. Among them, we found that Cdh2, also known as N-cadherin, played important roles in controlling the neural differentiation efficiency of mouse iPSCs. Forced expression of Cdh2 in iPSCs substantially enhanced the differentiation efficiency while knocking-down of Cdh2 by shRNA blocked the neural differentiation. Our results revealed a critical role of Cdh2 in the process of efficient neural differentiation of mouse iPS cells.
Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS cell) holds great potential for applications in regenerative medicine, drug discovery, and disease modeling. We describe here a practical method to generate human iPS cells from urine-derived cells (UCs) under feeder-free, virus-free, serum-free condition and without oncogene c-MYC. We showed that this approach could be applied in a large population with different genetic backgrounds. UCs are easily accessible and exhibit high reprogramming efficiency, offering advantages over other cell types used for the purpose of iPS generation. Using the approach described in this study, we have generated 93 iPS cell lines from 20 donors with diverse genetic backgrounds. The non-viral iPS cell bank with these cell lines provides a valuable resource for iPS cells research, facilitating future applications of human iPS cells.
The groundbreaking discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) provides a new source for cell therapy. However, whether the iPS derived functional lineages from different cell origins have different immunogenicity remains unknown. It had been known that the cells isolated from extra-embryonic tissues, such as umbilical cord mesenchymal cells (UMCs), are less immunogenic than other adult lineages such as skin fibroblasts (SFs). In this report, we differentiated iPS cells from human UMCs and SFs into neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and analyzed their immunogenicity. Through co-culture with allologous peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), we showed that UMCs were indeed less immunogenic than skin cells to simulate proliferation of PBMCs. Surprisingly, we found that the NPCs differentiated from UMC-iPS cells retained low immunogenicity as the parental UMCs based on the PBMC proliferation assay. In cytotoxic expression assay, reactions in most kinds of immune effector cells showed more perforin and granzyme B expression with SF-NPCs stimulation than that with UMC-NPCs stimulation in PBMC co-culture system, in T cell co-culture system as well. Furthermore, through whole genome expression microarray analysis, we showed that over 70 immune genes, including all members of HLA-I, were expressed at lower levels in NPCs derived from UMC-iPS cells than that from SF-iPS cells. Our results demonstrated a phenomenon that the low immunogenicity of the less immunogenic cells could be retained after cell reprogramming and further differentiation, thus provide a new concept to generate functional lineages with lower immunogenicity for regenerative medicine.
Cell fate determination is a major unsolved problem in cell and developmental biology. The discovery of reprogramming by pluripotent factors offers a rational system to investigate the molecular mechanisms associated with cell fate decisions. The idea that reprogramming of fibroblasts starts with a mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) suggests that the process is perhaps a reversal of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) found frequently during early embryogenesis. As such, we believe that investigations into MET-EMT may yield detailed molecular insights into cell fate decisions, not only for the switching between epithelial and mesenchymal cells, but also other cell types.
Many human diseases share a developmental origin that manifests during childhood or maturity. Aneuploid syndromes are caused by supernumerary or reduced number of chromosomes and represent an extreme example of developmental disease, as they have devastating consequences before and after birth. Investigating how alterations in gene dosage drive these conditions is relevant because it might help treat some clinical aspects. It may also provide explanations as to how quantitative differences in gene expression determine phenotypic diversity and disease susceptibility among natural populations. Here, we aimed to produce induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines that can be used to improve our understanding of aneuploid syndromes. We have generated iPSCs from monosomy X [Turner syndrome (TS)], trisomy 8 (Warkany syndrome 2), trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome) and partial trisomy 11;22 (Emanuel syndrome), using either skin fibroblasts from affected individuals or amniocytes from antenatal diagnostic tests. These cell lines stably maintain the karyotype of the donors and behave like embryonic stem cells in all tested assays. TS iPSCs were used for further studies including global gene expression analysis and tissue-specific directed differentiation. Multiple clones displayed lower levels of the pseudoautosomal genes ASMTL and PPP2R3B than the controls. Moreover, they could be transformed into neural-like, hepatocyte-like and heart-like cells, but displayed insufficient up-regulation of the pseudoautosomal placental gene CSF2RA during embryoid body formation. These data support that abnormal organogenesis and early lethality in TS are not caused by a tissue-specific differentiation blockade, but rather involves other abnormalities including impaired placentation.
Sorting nexins (SNXs) are phosphoinositide-binding proteins implicated in the sorting of various membrane proteins in vitro, but the in vivo functions of them remain largely unknown. We reported previously that SNX10 is a unique member of the SNX family genes in that it has vacuolation activity in cells. We investigate the biological function of SNX10 by loss-of-function assay in this study and demonstrate that SNX10 is required for the formation of primary cilia in cultured cells. In zebrafish, SNX10 is involved in ciliogenesis in the Kupffers vesicle and essential for left-right patterning of visceral organs. Mechanistically, SNX10 interacts with V-ATPase complex and targets it to the centrosome where ciliogenesis is initiated. Like SNX10, V-ATPase regulates ciliogenesis in vitro and in vivo and does so synergistically with SNX10. We further discover that SNX10 and V-ATPase regulate the ciliary trafficking of Rab8a, which is a critical regulator of ciliary membrane extension. These results identify an SNX10/V-ATPase-regulated vesicular trafficking pathway that is crucial for ciliogenesis, and reveal that SNX10/V-ATPase, through the regulation of cilia formation in various organs, play an essential role during early embryonic development.
Somatic cells can be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by defined factors. The low efficiency of reprogramming and genomic integration of oncogenes and viral vectors limited the potential application of iPSCs. Here we report that Lithium (Li), a drug used to treat mood disorders, greatly enhances iPSC generation from both mouse embryonic fibroblast and human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Li facilitates iPSC generation with one (Oct4) or two factors (OS or OK). The effect of Li on promoting reprogramming only partially depends on its major target GSK3?. Unlike other GSK3? inhibitors, Li not only increases the expression of Nanog, but also enhances the transcriptional activity of Nanog. We also found that Li exerts its effect by promoting epigenetic modifications via downregulation of LSD1, a H3K4-specific histone demethylase. Knocking down LSD1 partially mimics Lis effect in enhancing reprogramming. Our results not only provide a straightforward method to improve the iPSC generation efficiency, but also identified a histone demethylase as a critical modulator for somatic cell reprogramming.
Forced expression of selected transcription factors can transform somatic cells into embryonic stem cell (ESC)-like cells, termed induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). There is no consensus regarding the preferred tissue from which to harvest donor cells for reprogramming into iPSCs, and some donor cell types may be more prone than others to accumulation of epigenetic imprints and somatic cell mutations. Here, we present a simple, reproducible, noninvasive method for generating human iPSCs from renal tubular cells present in urine. This procedure eliminates many problems associated with other protocols, and the resulting iPSCs display an excellent ability to differentiate. These data suggest that urine may be a preferred source for generating iPSCs.
Directed hepatocyte differentiation from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) potentially provides a unique platform for modeling liver genetic diseases and performing drug-toxicity screening in vitro. Wilsons disease is a genetic disease caused by mutations in the ATP7B gene, whose product is a liver transporter protein responsible for coordinated copper export into bile and blood. Interestingly, the spectrum of ATP7B mutations is vast and can influence clinical presentation (a variable spectrum of hepatic and neural manifestations), though the reason is not well understood. We describe the generation of iPSCs from a Chinese patient with Wilsons disease that bears the R778L Chinese hotspot mutation in the ATP7B gene. These iPSCs were pluripotent and could be readily differentiated into hepatocyte-like cells that displayed abnormal cytoplasmic localization of mutated ATP7B and defective copper transport. Moreover, gene correction using a self-inactivating lentiviral vector that expresses codon optimized-ATP7B or treatment with the chaperone drug curcumin could reverse the functional defect in vitro. Hence, our work describes an attractive model for studying the pathogenesis of Wilsons disease that is valuable for screening compounds or gene therapy approaches aimed to correct the abnormality. In the future, once relevant safety concerns (including the stability of the mature liver-like phenotype) and technical issues for the transplantation procedure are solved, hepatocyte-like cells from similarly genetically corrected iPSCs could be an option for autologous transplantation in Wilsons disease.
The term laminopathies defines a group of genetic disorders caused by defects in the nuclear envelope, mostly the lamins. Lamins are the main constituents of the nuclear lamina, a filamentous meshwork associated with the inner nuclear membrane that provides mechanical stability and plays important roles in processes such as transcription, DNA replication and chromatin organization. More than 300 mutations inlamin A/C have been associated with diverse clinical phenotypes, understanding the molecular basis of these diseases may provide a rationale for treating them. Here we describe the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from a patient with inherited dilated cardiomiopathy and 2 patients with distinct accelerated forms of aging, atypical Werner syndrome and Hutchinson Gilford progeria, all of which are caused by mutations in lamin A/C. These cell lines were pluripotent and displayed normal nuclear membrane morphology compared to donor fibroblasts. Their differentiated progeny reproduced the disease phenotype, reinforcing the idea that they represent excellent tools for understanding the role of lamin A/C in normal physiology and the clinical diversity associated with these diseases.
The ectopic expression of several transcription factors can restore embryonic cell fate to cultured somatic cells and generate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), revealing a previously unknown pathway to pluripotency. However, this technology is currently limited by low efficiency, slow kinetics and multi-factorial requirement. Here we show that reprogramming can be improved and dramatically accelerated by optimizing culture conditions. First, we developed an optimized defined medium, iCD1, which allows Oct4/Sox2/Klf4 (OSK)-mediated reprogramming to achieve ultra-high efficiency (~10% at day 8). We also found that this optimized condition renders both Sox2 and Klf4 dispensable, although the elimination of these two factors leads to lower efficiency and slower kinetics. Our studies define a shortened route, both in timing and factor requirement, toward pluripotency. This new paradigm not only provides a rationale to further improve iPSC generation but also simplifies the conceptual understanding of reprogramming by defined factors.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are emerging critical regulators of cell function that frequently reside in clusters throughout the genome. They influence a myriad of cell functions, including the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells, also termed reprogramming. Here, we have successfully delivered entire miRNA clusters into reprogramming fibroblasts using retroviral vectors. This strategy avoids caveats associated with transient transfection of chemically synthesized miRNA mimics. Overexpression of 2 miRNA clusters, 106a-363 and in particular 302-367, allowed potent increases in induced pluripotent stem cell generation efficiency in mouse fibroblasts using 3 exogenous factors (Sox2, Klf4, and Oct4). Pathway analysis highlighted potential relevant effectors, including mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition, cell cycle, and epigenetic regulators. Further study showed that miRNA cluster 302-367 targeted TGF? receptor 2, promoted increased E-cadherin expression, and accelerated mesenchymal-to-epithelial changes necessary for colony formation. Our work thus provides an interesting alternative for improving reprogramming using miRNAs and adds new evidence for the emerging relationship between pluripotency and the epithelial phenotype.
Reprogramming of somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) resets the epigenome to an embryonic-like state. Vitamin C enhances the reprogramming process, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here we show that the histone demethylases Jhdm1a/1b are key effectors of somatic cell reprogramming downstream of vitamin C. We first observed that vitamin C induces H3K36me2/3 demethylation in mouse embryonic fibroblasts in culture and during reprogramming. We then identified Jhdm1a/1b, two known vitamin-C-dependent H3K36 demethylases, as potent regulators of reprogramming through gain- and loss-of-function approaches. Furthermore, we found that Jhdm1b accelerates cell cycle progression and suppresses cell senescence during reprogramming by repressing the Ink4/Arf locus. Jhdm1b also cooperates with Oct4 to activate the microRNA cluster 302/367, an integral component of the pluripotency machinery. Our results therefore reveal a role for H3K36me2/3 in cell fate determination and establish a link between histone demethylases and vitamin-C-induced reprogramming.
Reprogramming somatic cells to become induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by using defined factors represents an important breakthrough in biology and medicine, yet remains inefficient and poorly understood. We therefore devised synthetic factors by fusing the VP16 transactivation domain to OCT4 (also known as Pou5f1), NANOG and SOX2, respectively. These synthetic factors could reprogramme both mouse and human fibroblasts with enhanced efficiency and accelerated kinetics. Remarkably, Oct4-VP16 alone could efficiently reprogramme mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) into germline-competent iPSCs. Furthermore, episomally delivered synthetic factors could reproducibly generate integration-free iPSCs from MEFs with enhanced efficiency. Our results not only demonstrate the feasibility of engineering more potent reprogramming factors, but also suggest that transcriptional reactivation of OCT4 target genes might be a rate-limiting step in the conversion of somatic cells to pluripotent cells. Synthetic factor-based reprogramming might lead to a paradigm shift in reprogramming research.
Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells by defined factors has become a useful model to investigate the mechanism of reprogramming and cell fate determination. However, the precise mechanism of factor-based reprogramming remains unclear. Here, we show that Klf4 mainly acts at the initial phase of reprogramming to initiate mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition and can be functionally replaced by bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). BMPs boosted the efficiency of Oct4/Sox2-mediated reprogramming of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) to ?1%. BMPs also promoted single-factor Oct4-based reprogramming of MEFs and tail tibial fibroblasts. Our studies clarify the contribution of Klf4 in reprogramming and establish Oct4 as a singular setter of pluripotency in differentiated cells.
The recent discovery of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology provides an invaluable tool for creating in vitro representations of human genetic conditions. This is particularly relevant for those diseases that lack adequate animal models or where the species comparison is difficult, e.g. imprinting diseases such as the neurogenetic disorder Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). However, recent reports have unveiled transcriptional and functional differences between iPSCs and embryonic stem cells that in cases are attributable to imprinting errors. This has suggested that human iPSCs may not be useful to model genetic imprinting diseases. Here, we describe the generation of iPSCs from a patient with PWS bearing a partial translocation of the paternally expressed chromosome 15q11-q13 region to chromosome 4. The resulting iPSCs match all standard criteria of bona fide reprogramming and could be readily differentiated into tissues derived from the three germ layers, including neurons. Moreover, these iPSCs retain a high level of DNA methylation in the imprinting center of the maternal allele and show concomitant reduced expression of the disease-associated small nucleolar RNA HBII-85/SNORD116. These results indicate that iPSCs may be a useful tool to study PWS and perhaps other genetic imprinting diseases as well.
The ciliary hypothesis for cystic renal diseases postulates that most of these conditions result from abnormalities in the primary cilium, a microtubule-based structure that acts as a sensor for extracellular cues. Inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene predisposes to renal cysts and clear cell renal cell carcinoma. VHL plays a critical role in the formation of primary cilia in kidney epithelium, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that VHL inactivation induces HEF1/Cas-L/NEDD9 and Aurora kinase A via the stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factors 1 and 2. Aurora kinase A is a mitotic kinase commonly upregulated in cancer that causes regression of the primary cilium by promoting histone deacetylase-dependent tubulin depolymerization of the ciliary axoneme. HEF1/Cas-L/NEDD9 is a component of focal adhesions that has a prominent role in inducing metastasis and that colocalizes with Aurora kinase A at the centrosome, thereby enhancing the harmful effect of Aurora kinase A on the cilium. Suppression of this pathway improved the formation of primary cilia and reduced cell motility in VHL-defective renal cancer cells. Our results highlight the gatekeeper role of VHL in the kidney epithelium.
Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells from somatic cells using defined factors has potential relevant applications in regenerative medicine and biology. However, this promising technology remains inefficient and time consuming. We have devised a serum free culture medium termed iSF1 that facilitates the generation of mouse induced pluripotent stem cells. This optimization of the culture medium is sensitive to the presence of Myc in the reprogramming factors. Moreover, we could reprogram meningeal cells using only two factors Oct4/Klf4. Therefore, iSF1 represents a basal medium that may be used for mechanistic studies and testing new reprogramming approaches.
Past studies on ?-catenin in cancer cells focused on nuclear localized ?-catenin and its involvement in the Wnt pathway. Our goal here was to investigate the function of ?-catenin in both the cytoplasm and nucleus on the regulation of MT1-MMP expression and activity. We found that ?-catenin in MDCK non-cancer cells inhibited the cell surface localization of MT1-MMP, and thus its proteolytic activity on pro-MMP2 activation, via direct interaction with the 18-amino-acid cytoplasmic tail of MT1-MMP in the cytoplasm. In contrast, ?-catenin in HT1080 cancer cells enhanced the activity of MT1-MMP by entering the nucleus and activating transcription factor Tcf-4/Lef, and elevating the level of MT1-MMP protein. We also found that enhancement of cell growth in three-dimensional (3-D)/two-dimensional (2-D) type I collagen gels and of cell migration by MT1-MMP were inhibited by ?-catenin in MDCK cells, whereas these functions were enhanced in HT1080 cells. In addition, regulation of MT1-MMP by ?-catenin involved E-cadherin in MDCK cells and Wnt-3a in HT1080 cells. Taken together, our results present a differential effect of cytoplasmic and nuclear ?-catenin on MT1-MMP activity in non-cancer cells versus cancer cells. These differences were most probably due to different subcellular locations and different involved pathways of ?-catenin in these cells.
The potential of human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) for regenerative medicine is unquestionable, but practical and ethical considerations have hampered clinical application and research. In an attempt to overcome these issues, the conversion of somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells similar to ESCs, commonly termed nuclear reprogramming, has been a top objective of contemporary biology. More than 40 years ago, King, Briggs, and Gurdon pioneered somatic cell nuclear reprogramming in frogs, and in 1981 Evans successfully isolated mouse ESCs. In 1997 Wilmut and collaborators produced the first cloned mammal using nuclear transfer, and then Thomson obtained human ESCs from in vitro fertilized blastocysts in 1998. Over the last 2 decades we have also seen remarkable findings regarding how ESC behavior is controlled, the importance of which should not be underestimated. This knowledge allowed the laboratory of Shinya Yamanaka to overcome brilliantly conceptual and technical barriers in 2006 and generate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from mouse fibroblasts by overexpressing defined combinations of ESC-enriched transcription factors. Here, we discuss some important implications of human iPSCs for biology and medicine and also point to possible future directions.
Recent advances in stem cell biology have transformed the understanding of cell physiology and developmental biology such that it can now play a more prominent role in the clinical application of stem cell and regenerative medicine. Success in the generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) as well as related emerging technology on the iPS platform provide great promise in the development of regenerative medicine. Human iPS cells show almost identical properties to human embryonic stem cells (ESC) in pluripotency, but avoid many of their limitations of use. In addition, investigations into reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotent stem cells facilitate a deeper understanding of human stem cell biology. The iPS cell technology has offered a unique platform for studying the pathogenesis of human disease, pharmacological and toxicological testing, and cell-based therapy. Nevertheless, significant challenges remain to be overcome before the promise of human iPS cell technology can be realised.
Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) modulate a variety of cellular events, including cell proliferation, differentiation, mobility and apoptosis. In addition, RTKs have been validated as targets for cancer therapies. Microtubules are another class of proven targets for many clinical anticancer drugs. Here, we report that 1-(4-chloro-3-(trifluoromethyl) phenyl)-3-(2-cyano-4-hydroxyphenyl)urea (D181) functions as both a receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor and a tubulin polymerization enhancer. D181 displayed potent inhibitory activities against a panel of RTKs, including Flt3, VEGFR, cKit, FGFR1 and PDGFR?. D181 also enhanced tubulin polymerization and modified the secondary structure of tubulin proteins to disrupt their dynamic instability. Because of synergistic cooperation, D181 strongly inhibited the proliferation of various cancer cell lines, induced LoVo cell cycle arrest in the G1 and M phases and suppressed tumor growth in nude mice bearing human LoVo and HT29 xenografts. Our studies have provided a new, promising lead compound and novel clues for multi-target anticancer drug design and development.
A new and efficient method for the synthesis of aza-fused polycyclic quinolines (e.g., benzimidazo[1,2-a]quinolines) is described. This protocol includes an intermolecular condensation followed by a copper-catalyzed intramolecular C-N coupling reaction. The method is applied to a wide range of 2-iodo, 2-bromo, and 2-chloro aryl aldehyde substrates to yield the aza-fused polycyclic quinolines in good yields.
Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) possess an intrinsic self-renewal ability and can differentiate into numerous types of functional tissue cells; however, whether ESCs can differentiate toward the odontogenic lineage is still unknown. In this study, we developed an efficient culture strategy to induce the differentiation of murine ESCs (mESCs) into dental epithelial cells. By culturing mESCs in ameloblasts serum-free conditioned medium (ASF-CM), we could induce their differentiation toward dental epithelial cell lineages; however, similar experiments with the tooth germ cell-conditioned medium (TGC-CM) did not yield effective results. After culturing the cells for 14days in the differentiation-inducing media, the expression of ameloblast-specific proteins such as cytokeratin (CK)14, ameloblastin (AMBN), and amelogenin (AMGN) was markedly higher in mESCs obtained with embryoid body (EB) formation than in mESCs obtained without EB formation. We observed that immunocompromised mice implanted with induced murine EBs (mEBs) showed tissue regenerative capacity and produced odontogenic epithelial-like structures, whereas those implanted with mSCE monolayer cells mainly formed connective tissues. Thus, for the first time, we report that ASF-CM provides a suitable microenvironment for inducing mESC differentiation along the odontogenic epithelial cell lineage. This result has important implications for tooth tissue engineering.
Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a developmental process important for cell fate determination. Fibroblasts, a product of EMT, can be reset into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) via exogenous transcription factors but the underlying mechanism is unclear. Here we show that the generation of iPSCs from mouse fibroblasts requires a mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) orchestrated by suppressing pro-EMT signals from the culture medium and activating an epithelial program inside the cells. At the transcriptional level, Sox2/Oct4 suppress the EMT mediator Snail, c-Myc downregulates TGF-beta1 and TGF-beta receptor 2, and Klf4 induces epithelial genes including E-cadherin. Blocking MET impairs the reprogramming of fibroblasts whereas preventing EMT in epithelial cells cultured with serum can produce iPSCs without Klf4 and c-Myc. Our work not only establishes MET as a key cellular mechanism toward induced pluripotency, but also demonstrates iPSC generation as a cooperative process between the defined factors and the extracellular milieu. PAPERCLIP:
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) modulate cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions and the membrane-type MMPs (MT-MMPs) are especially important for pericellular proteolysis. Understanding the activity, regulation, and function of MT-MMPs would provide important insight for ongoing research in many diseases including cancer, fibrosis, and autoimmune diseases. In this chapter, we introduce the methods to express and purify recombinant MT-MMPs using Escherichia coli or mammalian cells, as well as how to detect the activity of MT-MMPs in proMMP-2 activation using gelatin zymography.
The umbilical cord and placenta are extra-embryonic tissues of particular interest for regenerative medicine. They share an early developmental origin and are a source of vast amounts of cells with multilineage differentiation potential that are poorly immunogenic and without controversy. Moreover, these cells are likely exempt from incorporated mutations when compared with juvenile or adult donor cells such as skin fibroblasts or keratinocytes. Here we report the efficient generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from mesenchymal cells of the umbilical cord matrix (up to 0.4% of the cells became reprogrammed) and the placental amniotic membrane (up to 0.1%) using exogenous factors and a chemical mixture. iPSCs from these 2 tissues homogeneously showed human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-like characteristics including morphology, positive staining for alkaline phosphatase, normal karyotype, and expression of hESC-like markers including Nanog, Rex1, Oct4, TRA-1-60, TRA-1-80, SSEA-3, and SSEA-4. Selected clones also formed embryonic bodies and teratomas containing derivatives of the 3 germ layers, and could as well be readily differentiated into functional motor neurons. Among other things, our cell lines may prove useful for comparisons between iPSCs derived from multiple tissues regarding the extent of the epigenetic reprogramming, differentiation ability, stability of the resulting lineages, and the risk of associated abnormalities.
Recently, three independent laboratories reported the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from pig (Sus scrofa). This finding sums to the growing list of species (mouse, human, monkey, and rat, in this order) for which successful reprogramming using exogenous factors has been achieved, and multiple others are possibly forthcoming. But apart from demonstrating the universality of the network identified by Shinya Yamanaka, what makes the porcine model so special? On one side, pigs are an agricultural commodity and have an easy and affordable maintenance compared with nonhuman primates that normally need to be imported. On the other side, resemblance (for example, size of organs) of porcine and human physiology is striking and because pigs are a regular source of food the ethical concerns that still remain in monkeys are not applicable. Besides, the prolonged lifespan of pigs compared with other domestic species can allow exhaustive follow up of side effects after transplantation. Porcine iPSCs may thus fill the gap between the mouse model, which due to its ease is preferred for mechanistic studies, and the first clinical trials using iPSCs in humans. However, although these studies are relevant and have created significant interest they face analogous problems that we discuss herein together with potential new directions.
By injecting induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into tetraploid blastocysts to generate live pups, two groups in China demonstrated that the injected cells are as pluripotent as embryonic stem cells, i.e. capable of giving rise to every cell in the newborn mice. This achievement validates iPS technology for regenerative medicine.
Given the explosion of research on induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, it is timely to consider the various ethical, legal, and social issues engaged by this fast-moving field. Here, we review issues associated with the procurement, basic research, and clinical translation of iPS cells.
The existence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) or stem-like cancer cells (SLCCs) is regarded as the cause of tumor formation and recurrence. However, the origin of such cells remains controversial with two competing hypotheses: CSCs are either transformed from tissue adult stem cells or dedifferentiated from transformed progenitor cells. Compelling evidence has determined the chromosomal aneuploidy to be one of the hallmarks of cancer cells, indicating genome instability plays an important role in tumorigenesis, for which CSCs are believed to be the initiator. To gain direct evidence that genomic instability is involved in the induction of SLCCs, we utilized multiple approaches to enhance genomic instability and monitored the percentage of SLCC in cultured cancer cells. Using side population (SP) cells as a marker for SLCC in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and CD133 for human neuroblastoma cells, we found that DNA damage inducers, UV and mitomycin C were capable of increasing SP cells in NPC CNE-2 and neuroblastoma SKN-SH cells. Likewise, either overexpression of a key regulator of cell cycle, Mad2, or knock down of Aurora B, an important kinase in mitosis, or Cdh1, a key E3 ligase in cell cycle, resulted in a significant increase of SP cells in CNE-2. More interestingly, enrichment of SP cells was observed in recurrent tumor tissues as compared with the primary tumor in the same NPC patients. Our study thus suggested that, beside transformation of tissue stem cells leading to CSC generation, genomic instability could be another potential mechanism resulting in SLCC formation, especially at tumor recurrence stage.
A straightforward synthesis of indole-2-carboxylic esters was developed through a ligand-free copper-catalysed condensation/coupling/deformylation cascade process from 2-halo aryl aldehydes or ketones with ethyl isocyanoacetate. The reactions proceeded well for most of the 2-iodo-, bromo-, and chloro-substrates under room temperature or mild conditions.
Sorting nexin 33 (SNX33) is a novel member of the sorting nexin superfamily with three predicted structural domains, SH3-PX-BAR. Very little is known about the cellular function of SNX33. In an effort to analyze its structure/function relationship, we attempted but failed to generate stable cell lines for short hairpin RNA or overexpression SNX33. Transient knockdown of SNX33 induces both HeLa and MCF7 cells to grow multiple long processes, delay the G(1)/M transition, and become more apoptotic, implying that SNX33 may control cell cycle process through influence the cytoskeleton. In vitro cell lineage analysis revealed that cells transfected with SNX33 failed to divide and became micronucleated, suggesting a specific defect in cytokinesis. Further analysis revealed that SNX33 induced the accumulation of actin at the perinuclear space, which might have disabled the cytokinetic machinery. However, SNX33 appears to mediate actin polymerization indirectly, as they do not interact with each other. SNX33 interacts with itself and SNX9. Interestingly, it also interacts with VCA domain of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASp), a protein known to be involved in actin polymerization. Indeed, cells overexpressing WASp failed to divide and form stable colonies as SNX33, consistent with the notion that SNX33 may interfere with cytokinesis. On the other hand, knockdown of WASp alleviates the phenotype induced by SNX33. Taken together, our results suggest that SNX33 plays a role in maintaining cell shape and cell cycle progression through its interaction with WASp.
2-Piperazinyl naphthoquinones (2) and 2-piperidinyl naphthoquinones (3) were designed and synthesized as new cytotoxic and apoptosis inducing agents by utilizing the anti-parasite drug atovaquone as lead compound. Several compounds displayed significantly improved cytotoxic activities against a panel of cancer cell lines than that of atovaquone. These compounds also induced apoptosis through activating pro-apoptotic caspases 9 and 3.
Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) technology appears to be a general strategy to generate pluripotent stem cells from any given mammalian species. So far, iPS cells have been reported for mouse, human, rat, and monkey. These four species have also established embryonic stem cell (ESC) lines that serve as the gold standard for pluripotency comparisons. Attempts have been made to generate porcine ESC by various means without success. Here we report the successful generation of pluripotent stem cells from fibroblasts isolated from the Tibetan miniature pig using a modified iPS protocol. The resulting iPS cell lines more closely resemble human ESC than cells from other species, have normal karyotype, stain positive for alkaline phosphatase, express high levels of ESC-like markers (Nanog, Rex1, Lin28, and SSEA4), and can differentiate into teratomas composed of the three germ layers. Because porcine physiology closely resembles human, the iPS cells reported here provide an attractive model to study certain human diseases or assess therapeutic applications of iPS in a large animal model.
Overexpression of Nanog in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells has been shown to abrogate the requirement of leukemia inhibitory factor for self-renewal in culture. Little is known about the molecular mechanism of Nanog function. Here we describe the role of the tryptophan repeat (WR) domain, one of the two transactivators at its C terminus, in regulating stem cell proliferation as well as pluripotency. We first created a supertransactivator, W2W3x10, by duplicating repeats W2W3 10 times and discovered that it can functionally substitute for wild type WR at sustaining pluripotency, albeit with a significantly slower cell cycle, phenocopying Nanog(9W) with the C-terminal pentapeptide (WNAAP) of WR deleted. ES cells carrying both W2W3x10 and Nanog(9W) have a longer G1 phase, a shorter S phase in cell cycle distribution and progression analysis, and a lower level of pAkt(Ser473) compared with wild type Nanog, suggesting that both mutants impact the cell cycle machinery via the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway. Both mutants remain competent in dimerizing with Nanog but cannot form a complex with Nac1 efficiently, suggesting that WNAAP may be involved in Nac1 binding. By tagging Gal4DBD with WNAAP, we demonstrated that this pentapeptide is sufficient to confer Nac1 binding. Furthermore, we can rescue W2W3x10 by placing WNAAP at the corresponding locations. Finally, we found that Nanog and Nac1 synergistically up-regulate ERas expression and promote the proliferation of ES cells. These results suggest that Nanog interacts with Nac1 through WNAAP to regulate the cell cycle of ES cells via the ERas/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway, but not pluripotency, thus decoupling cell cycle control from pluripotency.
Living organisms, from virus to human, rely on the transcription machinery to express specific parts of their genomes to execute critical biological functions during their life cycle by responding to environmental or developmental signals. Thus, transcription constitutes a critical step in regulating biological processes, and transcription factors have been considered as master switches for cell fate determination. Stem cell biology has benefited from rapid advances in recent years, largely because of the characterization of several transcription factors as master regulators of stem cell pluripotency. The same factors, viz. Oct4, Sox2, Nanog, Klf4, and Myc, have been shown to possess the magic power to reprogram somatic cells into pluripotent ones, a remarkable achievement with both practical and theoretical implications. This minireview summarizes recent advances in pluripotency and reprogramming by focusing on key transcription factors and the likely mechanisms.
Membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) is a multidomain transmembrane endopeptidase with a major role in physiological and pathological processes through proteolysis of extracellular matrix and other pericellular proteins. We examined cell surface function of MT1-MMP in PC-3 human prostate tumor cells selected for metastasis in nude mice (PC-3-LN4), or transfected with the full-length wild-type (WT) MT1-MMP or with the mutant form lacking the cytoplasmic tail (Delta C-MT1-MMP). Enhanced cell surface MT1-MMP was determined by fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis and evidenced mechanistically by increased activation of proMMP-2 and invasion into type-I collagen gels. PC-3 cells overexpressing MT1-MMP grew faster than mock-transfected control cells subcutaneously in nude mice. MT1-MMP localized in caveolae, as judged by immunofluorescence microscopy and sucrose-gradient, detergent-resistant cell fractionation. Delta C-MT1-MMP was strongly associated with caveolae, whereas the WT form was present in both caveolae and noncaveolae fractions. The role of plasma membrane MT1-MMP was supported by localization of MT1-MMP by immunofluorescence microscopy at the cell surface of tumor cells in primary prostate cancers. Increased plasma membrane localization of MT1-MMP, either in caveolae or in other lipid raft structures, is a mechanism to localize this proteinase in contact with extracellular matrix and other pericellular proteins, the cleavage of which can facilitate prostate cancer cell invasion and metastasis.
Human neural stem cells hold great promise for research and therapy in neural disease. We describe the generation of integration-free and expandable human neural progenitor cells (NPCs). We combined an episomal system to deliver reprogramming factors with a chemically defined culture medium to reprogram epithelial-like cells from human urine into NPCs (hUiNPCs). These transgene-free hUiNPCs can self-renew and can differentiate into multiple functional neuronal subtypes and glial cells in vitro. Although functional in vivo analysis is still needed, we report that the cells survive and differentiate upon transplant into newborn rat brain.
The induction of pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by defined factors is poorly understood stepwise. Here, we show that histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methylation is the primary epigenetic determinant for the intermediate pre-iPSC state, and its removal leads to fully reprogrammed iPSCs. We generated a panel of stable pre-iPSCs that exhibit pluripotent properties but do not activate the core pluripotency network, although they remain sensitive to vitamin C for conversion into iPSCs. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) were subsequently identified in serum as critical signaling molecules in arresting reprogramming at the pre-iPSC state. Mechanistically, we identified H3K9 methyltransferases as downstream targets of BMPs and showed that they function with their corresponding demethylases as the on/off switch for the pre-iPSC fate by regulating H3K9 methylation status at the core pluripotency loci. Our results not only establish pre-iPSCs as an epigenetically stable signpost along the reprogramming road map, but they also provide mechanistic insights into the epigenetic reprogramming of cell fate.
Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have been generated with varied efficiencies from multiple tissues. Yet, acquiring donor cells is, in most instances, an invasive procedure that requires laborious isolation. Here we present a detailed protocol for generating human iPSCs from exfoliated renal epithelial cells present in urine. This method is advantageous in many circumstances, as the isolation of urinary cells is simple (30 ml of urine are sufficient), cost-effective and universal (can be applied to any age, gender and race). Moreover, the entire procedure is reasonably quick--around 2 weeks for the urinary cell culture and 3-4 weeks for the reprogramming--and the yield of iPSC colonies is generally high--up to 4% using retroviral delivery of exogenous factors. Urinary iPSCs (UiPSCs) also show excellent differentiation potential, and thus represent a good choice for producing pluripotent cells from normal individuals or patients with genetic diseases, including those affecting the kidney.
The amniotic membrane (AM) and amniotic fluid (AF) have a long history of use in surgical and prenatal diagnostic applications, respectively. In addition, the discovery of cell populations in AM and AF which are widely accessible, nontumorigenic and capable of differentiating into a variety of cell types has stimulated a flurry of research aimed at characterizing the cells and evaluating their potential utility in regenerative medicine. While a major focus of research has been the use of amniotic membrane and fluid in tissue engineering and cell replacement, AM- and AF-derived cells may also have capabilities in protecting and stimulating the repair of injured tissues via paracrine actions, and acting as vectors for biodelivery of exogenous factors to treat injury and diseases. Much progress has been made since the discovery of AM and AF cells with stem cell characteristics nearly a decade ago, but there remain a number of problematic issues stemming from the inherent heterogeneity of these cells as well as inconsistencies in isolation and culturing methods which must be addressed to advance the field towards the development of cell-based therapies. Here, we provide an overview of the recent progress and future perspectives in the use of AM- and AF-derived cells for therapeutic applications.
The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a process that confers migratory characteristics to epithelial cells. It is a major force driving embryonic development, tissue fibrosis and malignant progression, and can also create cells with properties of stem cells. The mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) has the opposite course and frequently coexists with the EMT, but the underlying mechanisms are less well studied. The recent discovery that the MET is required for transforming somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells suggests that the intersection between EMT and MET is a fundamental crossroad for cell fate decisions. Further understanding of the molecular events controlling both situations has relevant implications for regenerative medicine and disease.
The generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is considered to be stochastic with a minute fraction of cells becoming pluripotent. Recently in Cell, Buganim et al. (2012) changed this view using single cell analyses to reveal a stochastic early and hierarchical late phase, with implications for productive alternative reprogramming strategies.
The discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells(iPSCs) is a promising advancement in the field of regenerative medicine. Previous studies have indicated that the teratoma-forming propensity of iPSCs is variable; however, the relationship between tumorigenic potential and genomic instability in human iPSCs (HiPSCs) remains to be fully elucidated. Here, we evaluated the malignant potential of HiPSCs by using both colony formation assays and tumorigenicity tests. We demonstrated that HiPSCs formed tumorigenic colonies when grown in cancer cell culture medium and produced malignancies in immunodeficient mice. Furthermore, we analyzed genomic instability in HiPSCs using whole-genome copy number variation analysis and determined that the extent of genomic instability was related with both the cells propensity to form colonies and their potential for tumorigenesis. These findings indicate a risk for potential malignancy of HiPSCs derived from genomic instability and suggest that quality control tests, including comprehensive tumorigenicity assays and genomic integrity validation, should be rigorously executed before the clinical application of HiPSCs. In addition, HiPSCs should be generated through the use of combined factors or other approaches that decrease the likelihood of genomic instability.
The reprogramming of somatic cells to a pluripotent state is prone to errors that could hamper the use of this technology. A new study now shows that vitamin C enhances the quality of somatic cell reprogramming in mice, highlighting the possibility that further manipulation of culture conditions could improve this technology for regenerative medicine.
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