Genetic correction of Huntington's disease phenotypes in induced pluripotent stem cells.
ABSTRACT Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by a CAG expansion in the huntingtin gene. Expansion of the polyglutamine tract in the huntingtin protein results in massive cell death in the striatum of HD patients. We report that human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from HD patient fibroblasts can be corrected by the replacement of the expanded CAG repeat with a normal repeat using homologous recombination, and that the correction persists in iPSC differentiation into DARPP-32-positive neurons in vitro and in vivo. Further, correction of the HD-iPSCs normalized pathogenic HD signaling pathways (cadherin, TGF-β, BDNF, and caspase activation) and reversed disease phenotypes such as susceptibility to cell death and altered mitochondrial bioenergetics in neural stem cells. The ability to make patient-specific, genetically corrected iPSCs from HD patients will provide relevant disease models in identical genetic backgrounds and is a critical step for the eventual use of these cells in cell replacement therapy.
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ABSTRACT: Although mouse models have been valuable for studying human disease, the cellular and physiological differences between mouse and human have made it increasingly important to develop more relevant human disease models for mechanistic studies and drug discovery. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), which can undergo unlimited self-renewal and retain the potential to differentiate into all cell types, present a possible solution. To improve the efficiency of genetic manipulation of hESCs, we have developed bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) based approach that enables high efficiency homologous recombination. By sequentially disrupting both alleles of ATM or p53 with BAC targeting vectors, we have established ATM(-/-) and p53(-/-) hESCs as models for two major human genetic instability syndromes and used the generated cells to reveal the importance of p53 in maintaining genome stability of hESCs. Our findings suggest that it will be feasible to develop genetically modified hESCs as relevant human disease models.Cell stem cell 01/2010; 6(1):80-9. · 23.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The inherited neurodegenerative disease Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) is caused by GAA⋅TTC triplet repeat hyperexpansions within the first intron of the FXN gene, encoding the mitochondrial protein frataxin. Long GAA⋅TTC repeats cause heterochromatin-mediated gene silencing and loss of frataxin in affected individuals. We report the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from FRDA patient fibroblasts by transcription factor reprogramming. FXN gene repression is maintained in the iPSCs, as are the global gene expression signatures reflecting the human disease. GAA⋅TTC repeats uniquely in FXN in the iPSCs exhibit repeat instability similar to patient families, where they expand and/or contract with discrete changes in length between generations. The mismatch repair enzyme MSH2, implicated in repeat instability in other triplet repeat diseases, is highly expressed in pluripotent cells and occupies FXN intron 1, and shRNA silencing of MSH2 impedes repeat expansion, providing a possible molecular explanation for repeat expansion in FRDA.Cell stem cell 11/2010; 7(5):631-7. · 23.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cellular proliferation, differentiation, integration, and survival within the adult neural stem cell niche are altered under pathological conditions, but the molecular cues regulating the biology of this niche are mostly unknown. We examined the hippocampal neural stem cell niche in a transgenic rat model of Huntington disease. In this model, progressive cognitive deficits develop at the age of 9 months, suggesting possible hippocampal dysfunction. We found a disease-associated progressive decline in hippocampal progenitor cell proliferation accompanied by an expansion of the pool of 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine label-retaining Sox-2-positive quiescent stem cells in the transgenic animals. Increments in quiescent stem cells occurred at the expense of cAMP-responsive element-binding protein-mediated neuronal differentiation and survival. Because elevated levels of transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) impair neural progenitor proliferation, we investigated hippocampal TGF-beta signaling and determined that TGF-beta1 induces the neural progenitors to exit the cell cycle. Although phospho-Smad2, an effector of TGF-beta signaling, is normally absent in subgranular stem cells, it accumulated progressively in Sox2/glial fibrillary acidic protein-expressing cells of the subgranular zone in the transgenic rats. These results indicate that alterations in neurogenesis in transgenic Huntington disease rats occur in successive phases that are associated with increasing TGF-beta signaling. Thus, TGF-beta1 signaling seems to be a crucial modulator of neurogenesis in Huntington disease and may represent a target for future therapy.Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 07/2010; 69(7):717-28. · 4.35 Impact Factor