ResearchPad - pluripotency 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[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[Individual response to mTOR inhibition in delaying replicative senescence of mesenchymal stromal cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2eed5eed0c48441edbc

Background aims

Delaying replicative senescence and extending lifespan of human mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) may enhance their potential for tissue engineering and cell based therapies. Accumulating evidence suggests that inhibitors of the mTOR signaling pathway, such as rapamycin, constitute promising pharmacological agents to retard senescence and extend stemness properties of various progenitor cell types. Here, we investigated whether the ability of rapamycin to postpone replicative senescence varies among bone marrow MSC samples (BM-MSCs) derived from different healthy donors, and explored the molecular mechanisms that drive rapamycin-mediated lifespan increment.

Methods

BM-MSCs at early passages were serially passaged either in absence or continuous presence of rapamycin and the number of cell population doublings until growth arrest was measured. The inhibition of mTOR signaling was assessed by the phosphorylation status of the downstream target RPS6. The expression levels of several senescence and pluripotency markers at early and late/senescent passages were analyzed by RT-qPCR, flow cytometry and western blot.

Results

We found that the lifespan extension in response to the continuous rapamycin treatment was highly variable among samples, but effective in most BM-MSCs. Despite all rapamycin-treated cells secreted significantly reduced levels of IL6, a major SASP cytokine, and expressed significantly higher levels of the pluripotency marker NANOG, the expression patterns of these markers were not correlated with the rapamycin-mediated increase in lifespan. Interestingly, rapamycin-mediated life-span extension was significantly associated only with repression of p16INK4A protein accumulation.

Conclusions

Taken together, our results suggest that some, but not all, BM-MSC samples would benefit from using rapamycin to postpone replicative arrest and reinforce a critical role of p16INK4A protein downregulation in this process.

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<![CDATA[Context-explorer: Analysis of spatially organized protein expression in high-throughput screens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c366800d5eed0c4841a6d01

A growing body of evidence highlights the importance of the cellular microenvironment as a regulator of phenotypic and functional cellular responses to perturbations. We have previously developed cell patterning techniques to control population context parameters, and here we demonstrate context-explorer (CE), a software tool to improve investigation cell fate acquisitions through community level analyses. We demonstrate the capabilities of CE in the analysis of human and mouse pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs, mPSCs) patterned in colonies of defined geometries in multi-well plates. CE employs a density-based clustering algorithm to identify cell colonies. Using this automatic colony classification methodology, we reach accuracies comparable to manual colony counts in a fraction of the time, both in micropatterned and unpatterned wells. Classifying cells according to their relative position within a colony enables statistical analysis of spatial organization in protein expression within colonies. When applied to colonies of hPSCs, our analysis reveals a radial gradient in the expression of the transcription factors SOX2 and OCT4. We extend these analyses to colonies of different sizes and shapes and demonstrate how the metrics derived by CE can be used to asses the patterning fidelity of micropatterned plates. We have incorporated a number of features to enhance the usability and utility of CE. To appeal to a broad scientific community, all of the software’s functionality is accessible from a graphical user interface, and convenience functions for several common data operations are included. CE is compatible with existing image analysis programs such as CellProfiler and extends the analytical capabilities already provided by these tools. Taken together, CE facilitates investigation of spatially heterogeneous cell populations for fundamental research and drug development validation programs.

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<![CDATA[A transient DMSO treatment increases the differentiation potential of human pluripotent stem cells through the Rb family]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1ab82ed5eed0c484027053

The propensity for differentiation varies substantially across human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) lines, greatly restricting the use of hPSCs for cell replacement therapy or disease modeling. Here, we investigate the underlying mechanisms and demonstrate that activation of the retinoblastoma (Rb) pathway in a transient manner is important for differentiation. In prior work, we demonstrated that pre-treating hPSCs with dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) before directed differentiation enhanced differentiation potential across all three germ layers. Here, we show that exposure to DMSO improves the efficiency of hPSC differentiation through Rb and by repressing downstream E2F-target genes. While transient inactivation of the Rb family members (including Rb, p107, and p130) suppresses DMSO’s capacity to enhance differentiation across all germ layers, transient expression of a constitutively active (non-phosphorylatable) form of Rb increases the differentiation efficiency similar to DMSO. Inhibition of downstream targets of Rb, such as E2F signaling, also promotes differentiation of hPSCs. More generally, we demonstrate that the duration of Rb activation plays an important role in regulating differentiation capacity.

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<![CDATA[Small-molecule induction of Aβ-42 peptide production in human cerebral organoids to model Alzheimer's disease associated phenotypes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c21517bd5eed0c4843fa61e

Human mini-brains (MB) are cerebral organoids that recapitulate in part the complexity of the human brain in a unique three-dimensional in vitro model, yielding discrete brain regions reminiscent of the cerebral cortex. Specific proteins linked to neurodegenerative disorders are physiologically expressed in MBs, such as APP-derived amyloids (Aβ), whose physiological and pathological roles and interactions with other proteins are not well established in humans. Here, we demonstrate that neuroectodermal organoids can be used to study the Aβ accumulation implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). To enhance the process of protein secretion and accumulation, we adopted a chemical strategy of induction to modulate post-translational pathways of APP using an Amyloid-β Forty-Two Inducer named Aftin-5. Secreted, soluble Aβ fragment concentrations were analyzed in MB-conditioned media. An increase in the Aβ42 fragment secretion was observed as was an increased Aβ42/Aβ40 ratio after drug treatment, which is consistent with the pathological-like phenotypes described in vivo in transgenic animal models and in vitro in induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural cultures obtained from AD patients. Notably in this context we observe time-dependent Aβ accumulation, which differs from protein accumulation occurring after treatment. We show that mini-brains obtained from a non-AD control cell line are responsive to chemical compound induction, producing a shift of physiological Aβ concentrations, suggesting that this model can be used to identify environmental agents that may initiate the cascade of events ultimately leading to sporadic AD. Increases in both Aβ oligomers and their target, the cellular prion protein (PrPC), support the possibility of using MBs to further understand the pathophysiological role that underlies their interaction in a human model. Finally, the potential application of MBs for modeling age-associated phenotypes and the study of neurological disorders is confirmed.

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<![CDATA[MicroRNA characterization in equine induced pluripotent stem cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ed76cd5eed0c484f140ee

Cell reprogramming has been well described in mouse and human cells. The expression of specific microRNAs has demonstrated to be essential for pluripotent maintenance and cell differentiation, but not much information is available in domestic species. We aim to generate horse iPSCs, characterize them and evaluate the expression of different microRNAs (miR-302a,b,c,d, miR-205, miR-145, miR-9, miR-96, miR-125b and miR-296). Two equine iPSC lines (L2 and L3) were characterized after the reprogramming of equine fibroblasts with the four human Yamanaka‘s factors (OCT-4/SOX-2/c-MYC/KLF4). The pluripotency of both lines was assessed by phosphatase alkaline activity, expression of OCT-4, NANOG and REX1 by RT-PCR, and by immunofluorescence of OCT-4, SOX-2 and c-MYC. In vitro differentiation to embryo bodies (EBs) showed the capacity of the iPSCs to differentiate into ectodermal, endodermal and mesodermal phenotypes. MicroRNA analyses resulted in higher expression of the miR-302 family, miR-9 and miR-96 in L2 and L3 vs. fibroblasts (p<0.05), as previously shown in human pluripotent cells. Moreover, downregulation of miR-145 and miR-205 was observed. After differentiation to EBs, higher expression of miR-96 was observed in the EBs respect to the iPSCs, and also the expression of miR-205 was induced but only in the EB-L2. In addition, in silico alignments of the equine microRNAs with mRNA targets suggested the ability of miR-302 family to regulate cell cycle and epithelial mesenchymal transition genes, miR-9 and miR-96 to regulate neural determinant genes and miR-145 to regulate pluripotent genes, similarly as in humans. In conclusion, we could obtain equine iPSCs, characterize them and determine for the first time the expression level of microRNAs in equine pluripotent cells.

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<![CDATA[Meta-Analysis of EMT Datasets Reveals Different Types of EMT]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab7ab0ee8fa60bad5ff

As a critical process during embryonic development, cancer progression and cell fate conversions, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been extensively studied over the last several decades. To further understand the nature of EMT, we performed meta-analysis of multiple microarray datasets to identify the related generic signature. In this study, 24 human and 17 mouse microarray datasets were integrated to identify conserved gene expression changes in different types of EMT. Our integrative analysis revealed that there is low agreement among the list of the identified signature genes and three other lists in previous studies. Since removing the datasets with weakly-induced EMT from the analysis did not significantly improve the overlapping in the signature-gene lists, we hypothesized the existence of different types of EMT. This hypothesis was further supported by the grouping of 74 human EMT-induction samples into five distinct clusters, and the identification of distinct pathways in these different clusters of EMT samples. The five clusters of EMT-induction samples also improves the understanding of the characteristics of different EMT types. Therefore, we concluded the existence of different types of EMT was the possible reason for its complex role in multiple biological processes.

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<![CDATA[HIF-2α Regulates NANOG Expression in Human Embryonic Stem Cells following Hypoxia and Reoxygenation through the Interaction with an Oct-Sox Cis Regulatory Element]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa6ab0ee8fa60ba7864

Low O2 tension is beneficial for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) maintenance but the mechanism of regulation is unknown. HIF-2α was found to bind directly to predicted hypoxic response elements (HREs) in the proximal promoter of OCT4, NANOG and SOX2 only in hESCs cultured under hypoxia (5% O2). This binding induced an array of histone modifications associated with gene transcription while a heterochromatic state existed at atmospheric O2. Interestingly, an enhanced euchromatic state was found when hESCs were exposed to hypoxia followed by 72 hours reoxygenation. This was sustained by HIF-2α which enhanced stemness by binding to an oct-sox cis-regulatory element in the NANOG promoter. Thus, these data have uncovered a novel role of HIF-2α as a direct regulator of key transcription factors controlling self-renewal in hESCs but also in the induction of epigenetic modifications ensuring a euchromatic conformation which enhances the regenerative potential of these cells.

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<![CDATA[A Comparative Study of Growth Kinetics, In Vitro Differentiation Potential and Molecular Characterization of Fetal Adnexa Derived Caprine Mesenchymal Stem Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daedab0ee8fa60bbfeb6

The present study was conducted with an objective of isolation, in vitro expansion, growth kinetics, molecular characterization and in vitro differentiation of fetal adnexa derived caprine mesenchymal stem cells. Mid-gestation gravid caprine uteri (2–3 months) were collected from abattoir to derive mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from fetal adnexa {amniotic fluid (cAF), amniotic sac (cAS), Wharton’s jelly (cWJ) and cord blood (cCB)} and expanded in vitro. These cultured MSCs were used at the 3rd passage (P3) to study growth kinetics, localization as well as molecular expression of specific surface antigens, pluripotency markers and mesenchymal tri-lineage differentiation. In comparison to cAF and cAS MSCs, cWJ and cCB MSCs showed significantly (P<0.05) higher clonogenic potency, faster growth rate and low population doubling (PDT) time. All the four types of MSCs were positive for alkaline phosphatase (AP) and differentiated into chondrogenic, osteogenic, and adipogenic lineages. These stem cells expressed MSC surface antigens (CD73, CD90 and CD105) and pluripotency markers (Oct4, Sox2, Nanog, KLF, cMyc, FoxD3) but did not express CD34, a hematopoietic stem cell marker (HSC) as confirmed by RT-PCR, immunocytochemistry and flow cytometric analysis. The relative mRNA expression of MSC surface antigens (CD73, CD90 and CD105) was significantly (P<0.05) higher in cWJ MSCs compared to the other cell lines. The mRNA expression of Oct4 was significantly (P<0.05) higher in cWJ, whereas mRNA expression of KLF and cMyc was significantly (P<0.05) higher in cWJ and cAF than that of cAS and cCB. The comparative assessment revealed that cWJ MSCs outperformed MSCs from other sources of fetal adnexa in terms of growth kinetics, relative mRNA expression of surface antigens, pluripotency markers and tri-lineage differentiation potential, hence, these MSCs could be used as a preferred source for regenerative medicine.

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<![CDATA[Human Pluripotent Stem Cells and Derived Neuroprogenitors Display Differential Degrees of Susceptibility to BH3 Mimetics ABT-263, WEHI-539 and ABT-199]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da37ab0ee8fa60b86926

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are hypersensitive to genotoxic stress and display lower survival ability relative to their differentiated progeny. Herein, we attempted to investigate the source of this difference by comparing the DNA damage responses triggered by the topoisomerase I inhibitor camptothecin, in hESCs, human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and hESCs-derived neuroprogenitors (NP). We observed that upon camptothecin exposure pluripotent stem cells underwent apoptosis more swiftly and at a higher rate than differentiated cells. However, the cellular response encompassing ataxia-telangiectasia mutated kinase activation and p53 phosphorylation both on serine 15 as well as on serine 46 resulted very similar among the aforementioned cell types. Importantly, we observed that hESCs and hiPSCs express lower levels of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 than NP. To assess whether Bcl-2 abundance could account for this differential response we treated cells with ABT-263, WEHI-539 and ABT-199, small molecules that preferentially target the BH3-binding pocket of Bcl-xL and/or Bcl-2 and reduce their ability to sequester pro-apoptotic factors. We found that in the absence of stress stimuli, NP exhibited a higher sensitivity to ABT- 263 and WEHI-539 than hESCs and hiPSCs. Conversely, all tested cell types appeared to be highly resistant to the Bcl-2 specific inhibitor, ABT-199. However, in all cases we determined that ABT-263 or WEHI-539 treatment exacerbated camptothecin-induced apoptosis. Importantly, similar responses were observed after siRNA-mediated down-regulation of Bcl-xL or Bcl-2. Taken together, our results suggest that Bcl-xL contrary to Bcl-2 contributes to ensure cell survival and also functions as a primary suppressor of DNA double-strand brake induced apoptosis both in pluripotent and derived NP cells. The emerging knowledge of the relative dependence of pluripotent and progenitor cells on Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL activities may help to predict cellular responses and potentially manipulate these cells for therapeutic purposes in the near future.

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<![CDATA[Different reprogramming propensities in plants and mammals: Are small variations in the core network wirings responsible?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc274

Although the plant and animal kingdoms were separated more than 1,6 billion years ago, multicellular development is for both guided by similar transcriptional, epigenetic and posttranscriptional machinery. One may ask to what extent there are similarities and differences in the gene regulation circuits and their dynamics when it comes to important processes like stem cell regulation. The key players in mouse embryonic stem cells governing pluripotency versus differentiation are Oct4, Sox2 and Nanog. Correspondingly, the WUSCHEL and CLAVATA3 genes represent a core in the Shoot Apical Meristem regulation for plants. In addition, both systems have designated genes that turn on differentiation. There is very little molecular homology between mammals and plants for these core regulators. Here, we focus on functional homologies by performing a comparison between the circuitry connecting these players in plants and animals and find striking similarities, suggesting that comparable regulatory logics have been evolved for stem cell regulation in both kingdoms. From in silico simulations we find similar differentiation dynamics. Further when in the differentiated state, the cells are capable of regaining the stem cell state. We find that the propensity for this is higher for plants as compared to mammalians. Our investigation suggests that, despite similarity in core regulatory networks, the dynamics of these can contribute to plant cells being more plastic than mammalian cells, i.e. capable to reorganize from single differentiated cells to whole plants—reprogramming. The presence of an incoherent feed-forward loop in the mammalian core circuitry could be the origin of the different reprogramming behaviour.

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<![CDATA[A Newly Defined and Xeno-Free Culture Medium Supports Every-Other-Day Medium Replacement in the Generation and Long-Term Cultivation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9bab0ee8fa60ba3bff

Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) present an unprecedented opportunity to advance human health by offering an alternative and renewable cell resource for cellular therapeutics and regenerative medicine. The present demand for high quality hPSCs for use in both research and clinical studies underscores the need to develop technologies that will simplify the cultivation process and control variability. Here we describe the development of a robust, defined and xeno-free hPSC medium that supports reliable propagation of hPSCs and generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from multiple somatic cell types; long-term serial subculturing of hPSCs with every-other-day (EOD) medium replacement; and banking fully characterized hPSCs. The hPSCs cultured in this medium for over 40 passages are genetically stable, retain high expression levels of the pluripotency markers TRA-1-60, TRA-1-81, Oct-3/4 and SSEA-4, and readily differentiate into ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm. Importantly, the medium plays an integral role in establishing a cGMP-compliant process for the manufacturing of hiPSCs that can be used for generation of clinically relevant cell types for cell replacement therapy applications.

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<![CDATA[Inflammation Promotes Expression of Stemness-Related Properties in HBV-Related Hepatocellular Carcinoma]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafeab0ee8fa60bc58a3

The expression of cancer stemness is believed to reduce the efficacy of current therapies against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Understanding of the stemness-regulating signaling pathways incurred by a specific etiology can facilitate the development of novel targets for individualized therapy against HCC. Niche environments, such as virus-induced inflammation, may play a crucial role. However, the mechanisms linking inflammation and stemness expression in HCC remain unclear. Here we demonstrated the distinct role of inflammatory mediators in expressions of stemness-related properties involving the pluripotent octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (OCT4) in cell migration and drug resistance of hepatitis B virus-related HCC (HBV-HCC). We observed positive immunorecognition for macrophage chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1)/CD68 and OCT4/NANOG in HBV-HCC tissues. The inflammation-conditioned medium (inflamed-CM) generated by lipopolysaccharide-stimulated U937 human leukemia cells significantly increased the mRNA and protein levels of OCT4/NANOG preferentially in HBV-active (HBV+HBsAg+) HCC cells. The inflamed-CM also increased the side population (SP) cell percentage, green fluorescent protein (GFP)-positive cell population, and luciferase activity of OCT4 promoter-GFP/luciferase in HBV-active HCC cells. Furthermore, the inflamed-CM upregulated the expressions of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I)/IGF-I receptor (IGF-IR) and activated IGF-IR/Akt signaling in HBV-HCC. The IGF-IR phosphorylation inhibitor picropodophyllin (PPP) suppressed inflamed-CM-induced OCT4 and NANOG levels in HBV+HBsAg+ Hep3B cells. Forced expression of OCT4 significantly increased the secondary sphere formation and cell migration, and reduced susceptibility of HBV-HCC cells to cisplatin, bleomycin, and doxorubicin. Taking together, our results show that niche inflammatory mediators play critical roles in inducing the expression of stemness-related properties involving IGF-IR activation, and the upregulation of OCT4 contributes to cancer migration and drug resistance of HBV-HCC cells. Findings in this paper would provide potential targets for a therapeutic strategy targeting on inflammatory environment for HBV-HCC.

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<![CDATA[Isolation of human explant derived cardiac stem cells from cryopreserved heart tissue]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc79f

The value of preserving high quality bio specimens for fundamental research is significant as linking cellular and molecular changes to clinical and epidemiological data has fueled many recent advances in medicine. Unfortunately, storage of traditional biospecimens is limited to fixed samples or isolated genetic material. Here, we report the effect of cryopreservation of routine myocardial biopsies on explant derived cardiac stem cell (EDC) culture outcomes. We demonstrate that immediate cryopreservation or delayed cryopreservation after suspension within cardioplegia for 12 hours did not alter EDC yields, proliferative capacity, antigenic phenotype or paracrine signature. Cryopreservation had negligible effects on the ability of EDCs to adopt a cardiac lineage, stimulate new vessel growth, attract circulating angiogenic cells and repair injured myocardium. Finally, cryopreservation did not influence the ability of EDCs to undergo genetic reprogramming into inducible pluripotent stem cells. This study establishes a means of storing cardiac samples as a retrievable live cell source for cardiac repair or disease modeling.

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<![CDATA[Changes in Parthenogenetic Imprinting Patterns during Reprogramming by Cell Fusion]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da52ab0ee8fa60b8e381

Differentiated somatic cells can be reprogrammed into the pluripotent state by cell-cell fusion. In the pluripotent state, reprogrammed cells may then self-renew and differentiate into all three germ layers. Fusion-induced reprogramming also epigenetically modifies the somatic cell genome through DNA demethylation, X chromosome reactivation, and histone modification. In this study, we investigated whether fusion with embryonic stem cells (ESCs) also reprograms genomic imprinting patterns in somatic cells. In particular, we examined imprinting changes in parthenogenetic neural stem cells fused with biparental ESCs, as well as in biparental neural stem cells fused with parthenogenetic ESCs. The resulting hybrid cells expressed the pluripotency markers Oct4 and Nanog. In addition, methylation of several imprinted genes except Peg3 was comparable between hybrid cells and ESCs. This finding indicates that reprogramming by cell fusion does not necessarily reverse the status of all imprinted genes to the state of pluripotent fusion partner.

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<![CDATA[Enrichment of Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Hepatocyte-Like Cells by Ammonia Treatment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da98ab0ee8fa60ba2c51

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are potential resources for the regeneration of defective organs, including the liver. However, some obstacles must be overcome before this becomes reality. Undifferentiated cells that remain following differentiation have teratoma-forming potential. Additionally, practical applications require a large quantity of differentiated cells, so the differentiation process must be economical. Here we describe a DNA microarray-based global analysis of the gene expression profiles of differentiating human pluripotent stem cells. We identified differences and commonalities among six human pluripotent stem cell lines: the hESCs KhES1, KhES2, KhES3, and H1, and the iPSCs 201B7 and 243G1. Embryoid bodies (EBs) formed without requiring supplementation with inducing factors. EBs also expressed some liver-specific metabolic genes including the ammonia-metabolizing enzymes glutamine synthetase and carbamoyl-phosphate synthase 1. Real-time PCR analysis revealed hepatocyte-like differentiation of EBs treated with ammonia in Lanford medium. Analysis of DNA microarray data suggested that hepatocyte-like cells were the most abundant population in ammonia-treated cells. Furthermore, expression levels of undifferentiated pluripotent stem cell markers were drastically reduced, suggesting a reduced teratoma-forming capacity. These results indicate that treatment of EBs with ammonia in Lanford medium may be an effective inducer of hepatic differentiation in absence of expensive inducing factors.

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<![CDATA[Mesenchymal to Epithelial Transition Induced by Reprogramming Factors Attenuates the Malignancy of Cancer Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da87ab0ee8fa60b9c71f

Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a biological process of metastatic cancer. However, an effective anticancer therapy that directly targets the EMT program has not yet been discovered. Recent studies have indicated that mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET), the reverse phenomenon of EMT, is observed in fibroblasts during the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells. In the present study, we investigated the effects of reprogramming factors (RFs) on squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells. RFs-introduced cancer cells (RICs) demonstrated the enhanced epithelial characteristics in morphology with altered expression of mRNA and microRNAs. The motility and invasive activities of RICs in vitro were significantly reduced. Furthermore, xenografts of RICs exhibited no lymph node metastasis, whereas metastasis was detected in parental SCC-inoculated mice. Thus, we concluded that RICs regained epithelial properties through MET and showed reduced cancer malignancy in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, the understanding of the MET process in cancer cells by introduction of RFs may lead to the designing of a novel anticancer strategy.

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<![CDATA[Zinc Chloride Transiently Maintains Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell Pluripotency by Activating Stat3 Signaling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4bab0ee8fa60bda31a

An improved understanding of the pluripotency maintenance of embryonic stem (ES) cells is important for investigations of early embryo development and for cell replacement therapy, but the mechanism behind pluripotency is still incompletely understood. Recent findings show that zinc, an essential trace element in humans, is critically involved in regulating various signaling pathways and genes expression. However, its role in ES cell fate determination remains to be further explored. Here we showed that 2μM zinc chloride (ZnCl2) transiently maintained mouse ES cell pluripotency in vitro. The cultured mouse ES cells remained undifferentiated under 2μM ZnCl2 treatment in leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) withdrawal, retinoic acid (RA) or embryoid bodies (EBs) differentiation assays. In addition, ZnCl2 increased pluripotency genes expression and inhibited differentiation genes expression. Further mechanistic studies revealed that ZnCl2 transiently activated signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (Stat3) signaling through promoting Stat3 phosphorylation. Inhibition of Stat3 signaling abrogated the effects of ZnCl2 on mouse ES cell pluripotency. Taken together, this study demonstrated a critical role of zinc in the pluripotency maintenance of mouse ES cells, as well as an important regulator of Stat3 signaling.

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<![CDATA[Rbm46 regulates mouse embryonic stem cell differentiation by targeting β-Catenin mRNA for degradation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcbaf

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are pluripotent cells and have the capability for differentiation into any of the three embryonic germ layers. The Wnt/β-Catenin pathway has been shown to play an essential role in ESC differentiation regulation. Activation of β-Catenin by post-translational modification has been extensively studied. However, mechanism(s) of post-transcriptional regulation of β-Catenin are not well defined. In this study, we report an RNA recognition motif-containing protein (RNA binding motif protein 46, RBM46) which regulates the degradation of β-Catenin mRNA. Our results show that Rbm46 is distributed primarily in the cytoplasm of mouse ESCs (mESCs) and is elevated during the process of ESC differentiation. In addition, overexpression of Rbm46 results in differentiation of mESCs into trophectoderm, while knock-down of Rbm46 leads to mESC differentiation into endoderm. β-Catenin, a key effector in the Wnt pathway which has been reported to play a significant role in the regulation of ESC differentiation, is post-transcriptionally regulated by Rbm46. Our study reveals Rbm46 plays a novel role in the regulation of ESC differentiation.

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