Parallel Differentiation of Embryonic Stem Cells into Different Cell Types by a Single Gene-Based Differentiation System
ABSTRACT The generation of defined somatic cell types from pluripotent stem cells represents a promising system for many applications for regenerative therapy or developmental studies. Certain key developmental genes have been shown to be able to influence the fate determination of differentiating stem cells suggesting an alternative differentiation strategy to conventional medium-based methods. Here, we present a system allowing controlled, directed differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) solely by ectopic expression of single genes. We demonstrate that the myogenic master regulator myoD1 is sufficient to induce formation of skeletal muscle. In contrast to previous studies, our data suggest that myoD1-induced differentiation is independent of additional differentiation-inducing or lineage-promoting signals and occurs even under pluripotency-promoting conditions. Moreover, we demonstrate that single gene-induced differentiation enables the controlled formation of two distinct cell types in parallel. By mixing ES cell lines expressing myoD1 or the neural transcription factor ngn2, respectively, we generated a mixed culture of myocytes and neurons. Our findings provide new insights in the role of key developmental genes during cell fate decisions. Furthermore, this study represents an interesting strategy to obtain mixed cultures of different cells from stem cells, suggesting a valuable tool for cellular development and cell-cell interaction studies.
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ABSTRACT: Since the seminal discovery of the cell-fate regulator Myod, studies in skeletal myogenesis have inspired the search for cell-fate regulators of similar potential in other tissues and organs. It was perplexing that a similar transcription factor for other tissues was not found; however, it was later discovered that combinations of molecular regulators can divert somatic cell fates to other cell types. With the new era of reprogramming to induce pluripotent cells, the myogenesis paradigm can now be viewed under a different light. Here, we provide a short historical perspective and focus on how the regulation of skeletal myogenesis occurs distinctly in different scenarios and anatomical locations. In addition, some interesting features of this tissue underscore the importance of reconsidering the simple-minded view that a single stem cell population emerges after gastrulation to assure tissuegenesis. Notably, a self-renewing long-term Pax7+ myogenic stem cell population emerges during development only after a first wave of terminal differentiation occurs to establish a tissue anlagen in the mouse. How the future stem cell population is selected in this unusual scenario will be discussed. Recently, a wealth of information has emerged from epigenetic and genome-wide studies in myogenic cells. Although key transcription factors such as Pax3, Pax7, and Myod regulate only a small subset of genes, in some cases their genomic distribution and binding are considerably more promiscuous. This apparent nonspecificity can be reconciled in part by the permissivity of the cell for myogenic commitment, and also by new roles for some of these regulators as pioneer transcription factors acting on chromatin state.Current Topics in Developmental Biology 01/2014; 110C:1-73. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-12-405943-6.00001-4 · 4.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Attainment of the differentiated state during the final stages of somatic cell differentiation is closely tied to cell cycle progression. Much less is known about the role of the cell cycle at very early stages of embryonic development. Here, we show that molecular pathways involving the cell cycle can be engineered to strongly affect embryonic stem cell differentiation at early stages in vitro. Strategies based on perturbing these pathways can shorten the rate and simplify the lineage path of ES differentiation. These results make it likely that pathways involving cell proliferation intersect at various points with pathways that regulate cell lineages in embryos and demonstrate that this knowledge can be used profitably to guide the path and effectiveness of cell differentiation of pluripotent cells.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2014; 111(26). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1408638111 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Stem cells are a population of undifferentiated cells characterized by the ability to extensively proliferate (self-renewal), usually arise from a single cell (clonal), and differentiate into different types of cells and tissue (potent). There are several sources of stem cells with varying potencies. Pluripotent cells are embryonic stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of the embryo and induced pluripotent cells are formed following reprogramming of somatic cells. Pluripotent cells can differentiate into tissue from all 3 germ layers (endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm). Multipotent stem cells may differentiate into tissue derived from a single germ layer such as mesenchymal stem cells which form adipose tissue, bone, and cartilage. Tissue-resident stem cells are oligopotent since they can form terminally differentiated cells of a specific tissue. Stem cells can be used in cellular therapy to replace damaged cells or to regenerate organs. In addition, stem cells have expanded our understanding of development as well as the pathogenesis of disease. Disease-specific cell lines can also be propagated and used in drug development. Despite the significant advances in stem cell biology, issues such as ethical controversies with embryonic stem cells, tumor formation, and rejection limit their utility. However, many of these limitations are being bypassed and this could lead to major advances in the management of disease. This review is an introduction to the world of stem cells and discusses their definition, origin, and classification, as well as applications of these cells in regenerative medicine.Respiration 01/2013; 85(1):3-10. DOI:10.1159/000345615 · 2.92 Impact Factor