ResearchPad - cell-differentiation https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The Rho-associated kinase inhibitor fasudil can replace Y-27632 for use in human pluripotent stem cell research]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7829 Poor survival of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) following freezing, thawing, or passaging hinders the maintenance and differentiation of stem cells. Rho-associated kinases (ROCKs) play a crucial role in hPSC survival. To date, a typical ROCK inhibitor, Y-27632, has been the primary agent used in hPSC research. Here, we report that another ROCK inhibitor, fasudil, can be used as an alternative and is cheaper than Y-27632. It increased hPSC growth following thawing and passaging, like Y-27632, and did not affect pluripotency, differentiation ability, and chromosome integrity. Furthermore, fasudil promoted retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) differentiation and the survival of neural crest cells (NCCs) during differentiation. It was also useful for single-cell passaging of hPSCs and during aggregation. These findings suggest that fasudil can replace Y-27632 for use in stem research.

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<![CDATA[Confocal Raman microscopy to identify bacteria in oral subgingival biofilm models]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7675 The study of oral disease progression, in relation to the accumulation of subgingival biofilm in gingivitis and periodontitis is limited, due to either the ability to monitor plaque in vitro. When compared, optical spectroscopic techniques offer advantages over traditional destructive or biofilm staining approaches, making it a suitable alternative for the analysis and continued development of three-dimensional structures. In this work, we have developed a confocal Raman spectroscopy analysis approach towards in vitro subgingival plaque models. The main objective of this study was to develop a method for differentiating multiple oral subgingival bacterial species in planktonic and biofilm conditions, using confocal Raman microscopy. Five common subgingival bacteria (Fusobacterium nucleatum, Streptococcus mutans, Veillonella dispar, Actinomyces naeslundii and Prevotella nigrescens) were used and differentiated using a 2-way orthogonal Partial Least Square with Discriminant Analysis (O2PLS-DA) for the collected spectral data. In addition to planktonic growth, mono-species biofilms cultured using the ‘Zürich Model’ were also analyzed. The developed method was successfully used to predict planktonic and mono-species biofilm species in a cross validation setup. The results show differences in the presence and absence of chemical bands within the Raman spectra. The O2PLS-DA model was able to successfully predict 100% of all tested planktonic samples and 90% of all mono-species biofilm samples. Using this approach we have shown that Confocal Raman microscopy can analyse and predict the identity of planktonic and mono-species biofilm species, thus enabling its potential as a technique to map oral multi-species biofilm models.

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<![CDATA[Application of co-culture technology of epithelial type cells and mesenchymal type cells using nanopatterned structures]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7654 Various nanopatterning techniques have been developed to improve cell proliferation and differentiation efficiency. As we previously reported, nanopillars and pores are able to sustain human pluripotent stem cells and differentiate pancreatic cells. From this, the nanoscale patterns would be effective environment for the co-culturing of epithelial and mesenchymal cell types. Interestingly, the nanopatterning selectively reduced the proliferative rate of mesenchymal cells while increasing the expression of adhesion protein in epithelial type cells. Additionally, co-cultured cells on the nanopatterning were not negatively affected in terms of cell function metabolic ability or cell survival. This is in contrast to conventional co-culturing methods such as ultraviolet or chemical treatments. The nanopatterning appears to be an effective environment for mesenchymal co-cultures with typically low proliferative rates cells such as astrocytes, neurons, melanocytes, and fibroblasts without using potentially damaging treatments.

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<![CDATA[SYGL-1 and LST-1 link niche signaling to PUF RNA repression for stem cell maintenance in Caenorhabditis elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ab4e873463d7e0cbd0422dd

Central questions in regenerative biology include how stem cells are maintained and how they transition from self-renewal to differentiation. Germline stem cells (GSCs) in Caeno-rhabditis elegans provide a tractable in vivo model to address these questions. In this system, Notch signaling and PUF RNA binding proteins, FBF-1 and FBF-2 (collectively FBF), maintain a pool of GSCs in a naïve state. An open question has been how Notch signaling modulates FBF activity to promote stem cell self-renewal. Here we report that two Notch targets, SYGL-1 and LST-1, link niche signaling to FBF. We find that SYGL-1 and LST-1 proteins are cytoplasmic and normally restricted to the GSC pool region. Increasing the distribution of SYGL-1 expands the pool correspondingly, and vast overexpression of either SYGL-1 or LST-1 generates a germline tumor. Thus, SYGL-1 and LST-1 are each sufficient to drive “stemness” and their spatial restriction prevents tumor formation. Importantly, SYGL-1 and LST-1 can only drive tumor formation when FBF is present. Moreover, both proteins interact physically with FBF, and both are required to repress a signature FBF mRNA target. Together, our results support a model in which SYGL-1 and LST-1 form a repressive complex with FBF that is crucial for stem cell maintenance. We further propose that progression from a naïve stem cell state to a state primed for differentiation relies on loss of SYGL-1 and LST-1, which in turn relieves FBF target RNAs from repression. Broadly, our results provide new insights into the link between niche signaling and a downstream RNA regulatory network and how this circuitry governs the balance between self-renewal and differentiation.

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<![CDATA[NAP (davunetide) preferential interaction with dynamic 3-repeat Tau explains differential protection in selected tauopathies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c92b379d5eed0c4843a4107

The microtubule (MT) associated protein Tau is instrumental for the regulation of MT assembly and dynamic instability, orchestrating MT-dependent cellular processes. Aberration in Tau post-translational modifications ratio deviation of spliced Tau isoforms 3 or 4 MT binding repeats (3R/4R) have been implicated in neurodegenerative tauopathies. Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) is vital for brain formation and cognitive function. ADNP deficiency in mice causes pathological Tau hyperphosphorylation and aggregation, correlated with impaired cognitive functions. It has been previously shown that the ADNP-derived peptide NAP protects against ADNP deficiency, exhibiting neuroprotection, MT interaction and memory protection. NAP prevents MT degradation by recruitment of Tau and end-binding proteins to MTs and expression of these proteins is required for NAP activity. Clinically, NAP (davunetide, CP201) exhibited efficacy in prodromal Alzheimer’s disease patients (Tau3R/4R tauopathy) but not in progressive supranuclear palsy (increased Tau4R tauopathy). Here, we examined the potential preferential interaction of NAP with 3R vs. 4R Tau, toward personalized treatment of tauopathies. Affinity-chromatography showed that NAP preferentially interacted with Tau3R protein from rat brain extracts and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching assay indicated that NAP induced increased recruitment of human Tau3R to MTs under zinc intoxication, in comparison to Tau4R. Furthermore, we showed that NAP interaction with tubulin (MTs) was inhibited by obstruction of Tau-binding sites on MTs, confirming the requirement of Tau-MT interaction for NAP activity. The preferential interaction of NAP with Tau3R may explain clinical efficacy in mixed vs. Tau4R pathologies, and suggest effectiveness in Tau3R neurodevelopmental disorders.

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<![CDATA[Recapitulation of the accessible interface of biopsy-derived canine intestinal organoids to study epithelial-luminal interactions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N24a1d01a-2f11-47b7-a628-8330af6f7455

Recent advances in canine intestinal organoids have expanded the option for building a better in vitro model to investigate translational science of intestinal physiology and pathology between humans and animals. However, the three-dimensional geometry and the enclosed lumen of canine intestinal organoids considerably hinder the access to the apical side of epithelium for investigating the nutrient and drug absorption, host-microbiome crosstalk, and pharmaceutical toxicity testing. Thus, the creation of a polarized epithelial interface accessible from apical or basolateral side is critical. Here, we demonstrated the generation of an intestinal epithelial monolayer using canine biopsy-derived colonic organoids (colonoids). We optimized the culture condition to form an intact monolayer of the canine colonic epithelium on a nanoporous membrane insert using the canine colonoids over 14 days. Transmission and scanning electron microscopy revealed a physiological brush border interface covered by the microvilli with glycocalyx, as well as the presence of mucin granules, tight junctions, and desmosomes. The population of stem cells as well as differentiated lineage-dependent epithelial cells were verified by immunofluorescence staining and RNA in situ hybridization. The polarized expression of P-glycoprotein efflux pump was confirmed at the apical membrane. Also, the epithelial monolayer formed tight- and adherence-junctional barrier within 4 days, where the transepithelial electrical resistance and apparent permeability were inversely correlated. Hence, we verified the stable creation, maintenance, differentiation, and physiological function of a canine intestinal epithelial barrier, which can be useful for pharmaceutical and biomedical researches.

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<![CDATA[Effects of amotosalen treatment on human platelet lysate bioactivity: A proof-of-concept study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ne8e94533-b9bd-43e3-83be-324d5eb7ad87

Background

Clinical application of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) usually requires an in vitro expansion step to reach clinically relevant numbers. In vitro cell expansion necessitates supplementation of basal mammalian cell culture medium with growth factors. To avoid using supplements containing animal substances, human platelet lysates (hPL) produced from expired and pathogen inactivated platelet concentrates can be used in place of fetal bovine serum. However, globally, most transfusion units are currently not pathogen inactivated. As blood banks are the sole source of platelet concentrates for hPL production, it is important to ensure product safety and standardized production methods. In this proof-of-concept study we assessed the feasibility of producing hPL from expired platelet concentrates with pathogen inactivation applied after platelet lysis by evaluating the retention of growth factors, cytokines, and the ability to support MSC proliferation and tri-lineage differentiation.

Methodology/Principal findings

Bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) were expanded and differentiated using hPL derived from pathogen inactivated platelet lysates (hPL-PIPL), with pathogen inactivation by amotosalen/ultraviolet A treatment applied after lysis of expired platelets. Results were compared to those using hPL produced from conventional expired pathogen inactivated platelet concentrates (hPL-PIPC), with pathogen inactivation applied after blood donation. hPL-PIPL treatment had lower concentrations of soluble growth factors and cytokines than hPL-PIPC treatment. When used as supplementation in cell culture, BM-MSCs proliferated at a reduced rate, but more consistently, in hPL-PIPL than in hPL-PIPC. The ability to support tri-lineage differentiation was comparable between lysates.

Conclusion/Significance

These results suggest that functional hPL can be produced from expired and untreated platelet lysates by applying pathogen inactivation after platelet lysis. When carried out post-expiration, pathogen inactivation may provide a valuable solution for further standardizing global hPL production methods, increasing the pool of starting material, and meeting future demand for animal-free supplements in human cell culturing.

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<![CDATA[Molecular and genetic characterization of partial masculinization in embryonic ovaries grafted into male nude mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8977afd5eed0c4847d330e

In most of mammalian embryos, gonadal sex differentiation occurs inside the maternal uterus before birth. In several fetal ovarian grafting experiments using male host mice, an experimental switch from the maternal intrauterine to male-host environment gradually induces partial masculinization of the grafted ovaries even under the wild-type genotype. However, either host-derived factors causing or molecular basis underlying this masculinization of the fetal ovaries are not clear. Here, we demonstrate that ectopic appearance of SOX9-positive Sertoli cell-like cells in grafted ovaries was mediated by the testosterone derived from the male host. Neither Sox8 nor Amh activity in the ovarian tissues is essential for such ectopic appearance of SOX9-positive cells. The transcriptome analyses of the grafted ovaries during this masculinization process showed early downregulation of pro-ovarian genes such as Irx3, Nr0b1/Dax1, Emx2, and Fez1/Lzts1 by days 7–10 post-transplantation, and subsequent upregulation of several pro-testis genes, such as Bhlhe40, Egr1/2, Nr4a2, and Zc3h12c by day 20, leading to a partial sex reversal with altered expression profiles in one-third of the total numbers of the sex-dimorphic pre-granulosa and Sertoli cell-specific genes at 12.5 dpc. Our data imply that the paternal testosterone exposure is partially responsible for the sex-reversal expression profiles of certain pro-ovarian and pro-testis genes in the fetal ovaries in a temporally dependent manner.

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<![CDATA[DeephESC 2.0: Deep Generative Multi Adversarial Networks for improving the classification of hESC]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89774dd5eed0c4847d2963

Human embryonic stem cells (hESC), derived from the blastocysts, provide unique cellular models for numerous potential applications. They have great promise in the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, diabetes mellitus, etc. hESC are a reliable developmental model for early embryonic growth because of their ability to divide indefinitely (pluripotency), and differentiate, or functionally change, into any adult cell type. Their adaptation to toxicological studies is particularly attractive as pluripotent stem cells can be used to model various stages of prenatal development. Automated detection and classification of human embryonic stem cell in videos is of great interest among biologists for quantified analysis of various states of hESC in experimental work. Currently video annotation is done by hand, a process which is very time consuming and exhaustive. To solve this problem, this paper introduces DeephESC 2.0 an automated machine learning approach consisting of two parts: (a) Generative Multi Adversarial Networks (GMAN) for generating synthetic images of hESC, (b) a hierarchical classification system consisting of Convolution Neural Networks (CNN) and Triplet CNNs to classify phase contrast hESC images into six different classes namely: Cell clusters, Debris, Unattached cells, Attached cells, Dynamically Blebbing cells and Apoptically Blebbing cells. The approach is totally non-invasive and does not require any chemical or staining of hESC. DeephESC 2.0 is able to classify hESC images with an accuracy of 93.23% out performing state-of-the-art approaches by at least 20%. Furthermore, DeephESC 2.0 is able to generate large number of synthetic images which can be used for augmenting the dataset. Experimental results show that training DeephESC 2.0 exclusively on a large amount of synthetic images helps to improve the performance of the classifier on original images from 93.23% to 94.46%. This paper also evaluates the quality of the generated synthetic images using the Structural SIMilarity (SSIM) index, Peak Signal to Noise ratio (PSNR) and statistical p-value metrics and compares them with state-of-the-art approaches for generating synthetic images. DeephESC 2.0 saves hundreds of hours of manual labor which would otherwise be spent on manually/semi-manually annotating more and more videos.

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<![CDATA[Tenogenic differentiation protocol in xenogenic-free media enhances tendon-related marker expression in ASCs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c7580d5eed0c4843cfe25

Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) are multipotent and immune-privileged mesenchymal cells, making them ideal candidates for therapeutic purposes to manage tendon disorders. Providing safe and regulated cell therapy products to patients requires adherence to good manufacturing practices. To this aim we investigated the in vitro tenogenic differentiation potential of ASCs using a chemically defined serum-free medium (SF) or a xenogenic-free human pooled platelet lysate medium (hPL) suitable for cell therapy and both supplemented with CTGF, TGFβ-3, BMP-12 and ascorbic acid (AA) soluble factors. Human ASCs were isolated from 4 healthy donors and they were inducted to differentiate until 14 days in both hPL and SF tenogenic media (hPL-TENO and SF-TENO). Cell viability and immunophenotype profile were analysed to evaluate mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) characteristics in both xenogenic-free media. Moreover, the expression of stemness and tendon-related markers upon cell differentiation by RT-PCR, protein staining and cytofluorimetric analysis were also performed. Our results showed the two xenogenic-free media well support cell viability of ASCs and maintain their MSC nature as demonstrated by their typical immunophenototype profile and by the expression of NANOG, OCT4 and Ki67 genes. Moreover, both hPL-TENO and SF-TENO expressed significant high levels of the tendon-related genes SCX, COL1A1, COL3A1, COMP, MMP3 and MMP13 already at early time points in comparison to the respective controls. Significant up-regulations in scleraxis, collagen and tenomodulin proteins were also demonstrated at in both differentiated SF and hPL ASCs. In conclusion, we demonstrated firstly the feasibility of both serum and xenogenic-free media tested to culture ASCs moving forward the GMP-compliant approaches for clinical scale expansion of human MSCs needed for therapeutical application of stem cells. Moreover, a combination of CTGF, BMP-12, TGFβ3 and AA factors strongly and rapidly induce human ASCs to differentiate into tenocyte-like cells.

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<![CDATA[The primate-specific peptide Y-P30 regulates morphological maturation of neocortical dendritic spines]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca0bd5eed0c48452a6fd

The 30-amino acid peptide Y-P30 corresponds to the N-terminus of the primate-specific, sweat gland-derived dermcidin prepropeptide. Previous work has revealed that Y-P30 enhances the interaction of pleiotrophin and syndecans-2/3, and thus represents a natural ligand to study this signaling pathway. In immature neurons, Y-P30 activates the c-Src and p42/44 ERK kinase pathway, increases the amount of F-actin in axonal growth cones, and promotes neuronal survival, cell migration and axonal elongation. The action of Y-P30 on axonal growth requires syndecan-3 and heparan sulfate side chains. Whether Y-P30 has the potential to influence dendrites and dendritic protrusions has not been explored. The latter is suggested by the observations that syndecan-2 expression increases during postnatal development, that syndecan-2 becomes enriched in dendritic spines, and that overexpression of syndecan-2 in immature neurons results in a premature morphological maturation of dendritic spines. Here, analysing rat cortical pyramidal and non-pyramidal neurons in organotypic cultures, we show that Y-P30 does not alter the development of the dendritic arborization patterns. However, Y-P30 treatment decreases the density of apical, but not basal dendritic protrusions at the expense of the filopodia. Analysis of spine morphology revealed an unchanged mushroom/stubby-to-thin spine ratio and a shortening of the longest decile of dendritic protrusions. Whole-cell recordings from cortical principal neurons in dissociated cultures grown in the presence of Y-P30 demonstrated a decrease in the frequency of glutamatergic mEPSCs. Despite these differences in protrusion morphology and synaptic transmission, the latter likely attributable to presynaptic effects, calcium event rate and amplitude recorded in pyramidal neurons in organotypic cultures were not altered by Y-P30 treatment. Together, our data suggest that Y-P30 has the capacity to decelerate spinogenesis and to promote morphological, but not synaptic, maturation of dendritic protrusions.

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<![CDATA[Lens differentiation is controlled by the balance between PDGF and FGF signaling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8e2d5eed0c48496f303

How multiple receptor tyrosine kinases coordinate cell fate determination is yet to be elucidated. We show here that the receptor for platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) signaling recruits the p85 subunit of Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) to regulate mammalian lens development. Activation of PI3K signaling not only prevents B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2)-Associated X (Bax)- and BCL2 Antagonist/Killer (Bak)-mediated apoptosis but also promotes Notch signaling to prevent premature cell differentiation. Reducing PI3K activity destabilizes the Notch intracellular domain, while the constitutive activation of Notch reverses the PI3K deficiency phenotype. In contrast, fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) recruit Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor Substrate 2 (Frs2) and Rous sarcoma oncogene (Src) Homology Phosphatase 2 (Shp2) to activate Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) signaling, which induces the Notch ligand Jagged 1 (Jag1) and promotes cell differentiation. Inactivation of Shp2 restored the proper timing of differentiation in the p85 mutant lens, demonstrating the antagonistic interaction between FGF-induced MAPK and PDGF-induced PI3K signaling. By selective activation of PI3K and MAPK, PDGF and FGF cooperate with and oppose each other to balance progenitor cell maintenance and differentiation.

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<![CDATA[The Drosophila fussel gene is required for bitter gustatory neuron differentiation acting within an Rpd3 dependent chromatin modifying complex]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dcafd5eed0c484dec036

Members of the Ski/Sno protein family are classified as proto-oncogenes and act as negative regulators of the TGF-ß/BMP-pathways in vertebrates and invertebrates. A newly identified member of this protein family is fussel (fuss), the Drosophila homologue of the human functional Smad suppressing elements (fussel-15 and fussel-18). We and others have shown that Fuss interacts with SMAD4 and that overexpression leads to a strong inhibition of Dpp signaling. However, to be able to characterize the endogenous Fuss function in Drosophila melanogaster, we have generated a number of state of the art tools including anti-Fuss antibodies, specific fuss-Gal4 lines and fuss mutant fly lines via the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Fuss is a predominantly nuclear, postmitotic protein, mainly expressed in interneurons and fuss mutants are fully viable without any obvious developmental phenotype. To identify potential target genes or cells affected in fuss mutants, we conducted targeted DamID experiments in adult flies, which revealed the function of fuss in bitter gustatory neurons. We fully characterized fuss expression in the adult proboscis and by using food choice assays we were able to show that fuss mutants display defects in detecting bitter compounds. This correlated with a reduction of gustatory receptor gene expression (Gr33a, Gr66a, Gr93a) providing a molecular link to the behavioral phenotype. In addition, Fuss interacts with Rpd3, and downregulation of rpd3 in gustatory neurons phenocopies the loss of Fuss expression. Surprisingly, there is no colocalization of Fuss with phosphorylated Mad in the larval central nervous system, excluding a direct involvement of Fuss in Dpp/BMP signaling. Here we provide a first and exciting link of Fuss function in gustatory bitter neurons. Although gustatory receptors have been well characterized, little is known regarding the differentiation and maturation of gustatory neurons. This work therefore reveals Fuss as a pivotal element for the proper differentiation of bitter gustatory neurons acting within a chromatin modifying complex.

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<![CDATA[Anti-CD8 monoclonal antibody-mediated depletion alters the phenotype and behavior of surviving CD8+ T cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730ddd5eed0c484f38251

It is common practice for researchers to use antibodies to remove a specific cell type to infer its function. However, it is difficult to completely eliminate a cell type and there is often limited or no information as to how the cells which survive depletion are affected. This is particularly important for CD8+ T cells for two reasons. First, they are more resistant to mAb-mediated depletion than other lymphocytes. Second, targeting either the CD8α or CD8β chain could induce differential effects. We show here that two commonly used mAbs, against either the CD8α or CD8β subunit, can differentially affect cellular metabolism. Further, in vivo treatment leaves behind a population of CD8+ T cells with different phenotypic and functional attributes relative to each other or control CD8+ T cells. The impact of anti-CD8 antibodies on CD8+ T cell phenotype and function indicates the need to carefully consider the use of these, and possibly other “depleting” antibodies, as they could significantly complicate the interpretation of results or change the outcome of an experiment. These observations could impact how immunotherapy and modulation of CD8+ T cell activation is pursued.

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<![CDATA[Interleukin-13 maintains the stemness of conjunctival epithelial cell cultures prepared from human limbal explants]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b2698d5eed0c484289d28

To use human limbal explants as an alternative source for generating conjunctival epithelium and to determine the effect of interleukin-13 (IL-13) on goblet cell number, mucin expression, and stemness. Human limbal explants prepared from 17 corneoscleral rims were cultured with or without IL-13 (IL-13+ and IL-13-, respectively) and followed up to passage 2 (primary culture [P0]–P2). Cells were characterized by alcian blue/periodic acid–Schiff (AB/PAS) staining (goblet cells); immunofluorescent staining for p63α (progenitor cells), Ki-67 (proliferation), MUC5AC (mucin, goblet cells), and keratin 7 (K7, conjunctival epithelial and goblet cells); and by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction for expression of the p63α (TP63), MUC5AC, MUC4 (conjunctival mucins), K3, K12 (corneal epithelial cells), and K7 genes. Clonogenic ability was determined by colony-forming efficiency (CFE) assay. Using limbal explants, we generated epithelium with conjunctival phenotype and high viability in P0, P1, and P2 cultures under IL-13+ and IL-13- conditions, i.e., epithelium with strong K7 positivity, high K7 and MUC4 expression and the presence of goblet cells (AB/PAS and MUC5AC positivity; MUC5AC expression). p63α positivity was similar in IL-13+ and IL-13- cultures and was decreased in P2 cultures; however, there was increased TP63 expression in the presence of IL-13 (especially in the P1 cultures). Similarly, IL-13 increased proliferative activity in P1 cultures and significantly promoted P0 and P1 culture CFE. IL-13 did not increase goblet cell number in the P0–P2 cultures, nor did it influence MUC5AC and MUC4 expression. By harvesting unattached cells on day 1 of P1 we obtained goblet cell rich subpopulation showing AB/PAS, MUC5AC, and K7 positivity, but with no growth potential. In conclusion, limbal explants were successfully used to develop conjunctival epithelium with the presence of putative stem and goblet cells and with the ability to preserve the stemness of P0 and P1 cultures under IL-13 influence.

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<![CDATA[Insulin resistance disrupts epithelial repair and niche-progenitor Fgf signaling during chronic liver injury]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59feedd5eed0c4841357ce

Insulin provides important information to tissues about feeding behavior and energy status. Defective insulin signaling is associated with ageing, tissue dysfunction, and impaired wound healing. In the liver, insulin resistance leads to chronic damage and fibrosis, but it is unclear how tissue-repair mechanisms integrate insulin signals to coordinate an appropriate injury response or how they are affected by insulin resistance. In this study, we demonstrate that insulin resistance impairs local cellular crosstalk between the fibrotic stroma and bipotent adult liver progenitor cells (LPCs), whose paracrine interactions promote epithelial repair and tissue remodeling. Using insulin-resistant mice deficient for insulin receptor substrate 2 (Irs2), we highlight dramatic impairment of proregenerative fibroblast growth factor 7 (Fgf7) signaling between stromal niche cells and LPCs during chronic injury. We provide a detailed account of the role played by IRS2 in promoting Fgf7 ligand and receptor (Fgfr2-IIIb) expression by the two cell compartments, and we describe an insulin/IRS2-dependent feed-forward loop capable of sustaining hepatic re-epithelialization by driving FGFR2-IIIb expression. Finally, we shed light on the regulation of IRS2 and FGF7 within the fibrotic stroma and show—using a human coculture system—that IRS2 silencing shifts the equilibrium away from paracrine epithelial repair in favor of fibrogenesis. Hence, we offer a compelling insight into the contribution of insulin resistance to the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease and propose IRS2 as a positive regulator of communication between cell types and the transition between phases of stromal to epithelial repair.

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<![CDATA[Regeneration of the zebrafish retinal pigment epithelium after widespread genetic ablation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fefbd5eed0c484135888

The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a specialized monolayer of pigmented cells within the eye that is critical for maintaining visual system function. Diseases affecting the RPE have dire consequences for vision, and the most prevalent of these is atrophic (dry) age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is thought to result from RPE dysfunction and degeneration. An intriguing possibility for treating RPE degenerative diseases like atrophic AMD is the stimulation of endogenous RPE regeneration; however, very little is known about the mechanisms driving successful RPE regeneration in vivo. Here, we developed a zebrafish transgenic model (rpe65a:nfsB-eGFP) that enabled ablation of large swathes of mature RPE. RPE ablation resulted in rapid RPE degeneration, as well as degeneration of Bruch’s membrane and underlying photoreceptors. Using this model, we demonstrate for the first time that zebrafish are capable of regenerating a functional RPE monolayer after RPE ablation. Regenerated RPE cells first appear at the periphery of the RPE, and regeneration proceeds in a peripheral-to-central fashion. RPE ablation elicits a robust proliferative response in the remaining RPE. Subsequently, proliferative cells move into the injury site and differentiate into RPE. BrdU incorporation assays demonstrate that the regenerated RPE is likely derived from remaining peripheral RPE cells. Pharmacological disruption using IWR-1, a Wnt signaling antagonist, significantly reduces cell proliferation in the RPE and impairs overall RPE recovery. These data demonstrate that the zebrafish RPE possesses a robust capacity for regeneration and highlight a potential mechanism through which endogenous RPE regenerate in vivo.

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<![CDATA[Noise-resistant developmental reproducibility in vertebrate somite formation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8e7d5eed0c48496f391

The reproducibility of embryonic development is remarkable, although molecular processes are intrinsically stochastic at the single-cell level. How the multicellular system resists the inevitable noise to acquire developmental reproducibility constitutes a fundamental question in developmental biology. Toward this end, we focused on vertebrate somitogenesis as a representative system, because somites are repeatedly reproduced within a single embryo whereas such reproducibility is lost in segmentation clock gene-deficient embryos. However, the effect of noise on developmental reproducibility has not been fully investigated, because of the technical difficulty in manipulating the noise intensity in experiments. In this study, we developed a computational model of ERK-mediated somitogenesis, in which bistable ERK activity is regulated by an FGF gradient, cell-cell communication, and the segmentation clock, subject to the intrinsic noise. The model simulation generated our previous in vivo observation that the ERK activity was distributed in a step-like gradient in the presomitic mesoderm, and its boundary was posteriorly shifted by the clock in a stepwise manner, leading to regular somite formation. Here, we showed that this somite regularity was robustly maintained against the noise. Removing the clock from the model predicted that the stepwise shift of the ERK activity occurs at irregular timing with irregular distance owing to the noise, resulting in somite size variation. This model prediction was recently confirmed by live imaging of ERK activity in zebrafish embryos. Through theoretical analysis, we presented a mechanism by which the clock reduces the inherent somite irregularity observed in clock-deficient embryos. Therefore, this study indicates a novel role of the segmentation clock in noise-resistant developmental reproducibility.

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<![CDATA[Threshold response to stochasticity in morphogenesis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52e0d5eed0c4842bd1b9

During development of biological organisms, multiple complex structures are formed. In many instances, these structures need to exhibit a high degree of order to be functional, although many of their constituents are intrinsically stochastic. Hence, it has been suggested that biological robustness ultimately must rely on complex gene regulatory networks and clean-up mechanisms. Here we explore developmental processes that have evolved inherent robustness against stochasticity. In the context of the Drosophila eye disc, multiple optical units, ommatidia, develop into crystal-like patterns. During the larva-to-pupa stage of metamorphosis, the centers of the ommatidia are specified initially through the diffusion of morphogens, followed by the specification of R8 cells. Establishing the R8 cell is crucial in setting up the geometric, and functional, relationships of cells within an ommatidium and among neighboring ommatidia. Here we study an PDE mathematical model of these spatio-temporal processes in the presence of parametric stochasticity, defining and applying measures that quantify order within the resulting spatial patterns. We observe a universal sigmoidal response to increasing transcriptional noise. Ordered patterns persist up to a threshold noise level in the model parameters. In accordance with prior qualitative observations, as the noise is further increased past a threshold point of no return, these ordered patterns rapidly become disordered. Such robustness in development allows for the accumulation of genetic variation without any observable changes in phenotype. We argue that the observed sigmoidal dependence introduces robustness allowing for sizable amounts of genetic variation and transcriptional noise to be tolerated in natural populations without resulting in phenotype variation.

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<![CDATA[Abrogation of Stem Loop Binding Protein (Slbp) function leads to a failure of cells to transition from proliferation to differentiation, retinal coloboma and midline axon guidance deficits]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59feb3d5eed0c48413530b

Through forward genetic screening for mutations affecting visual system development, we identified prominent coloboma and cell-autonomous retinal neuron differentiation, lamination and retinal axon projection defects in eisspalte (ele) mutant zebrafish. Additional axonal deficits were present, most notably at midline axon commissures. Genetic mapping and cloning of the ele mutation showed that the affected gene is slbp, which encodes a conserved RNA stem-loop binding protein involved in replication dependent histone mRNA metabolism. Cells throughout the central nervous system remained in the cell cycle in ele mutant embryos at stages when, and locations where, post-mitotic cells have differentiated in wild-type siblings. Indeed, RNAseq analysis showed down-regulation of many genes associated with neuronal differentiation. This was coincident with changes in the levels and spatial localisation of expression of various genes implicated, for instance, in axon guidance, that likely underlie specific ele phenotypes. These results suggest that many of the cell and tissue specific phenotypes in ele mutant embryos are secondary to altered expression of modules of developmental regulatory genes that characterise, or promote transitions in, cell state and require the correct function of Slbp-dependent histone and chromatin regulatory genes.

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