Efficient Derivation and Concise Gene Expression Profiling of Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Mesenchymal Progenitors (EMPs)
ABSTRACT New potential sources of stem cells for clinical application include bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs), human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). However, each source is not without its own concerns. While research continues in an effort to overcome these problems, the generation of mesenchymal progenitors from existing hESC lines may circumvent many of these issues. We report here a simple and efficient method of generating hESC-derived mesenchymal progenitors (EMPs) and transcriptome profiling using a concise, custom-designed, oligomnucleotide gene expression microarray. Characterization of EMPs shows that these cells are similar to BMMSCs in terms of differentiation capacity as well as cell surface marker expression. In addition, EMPs express several ESC markers and HLA-G, a nonclassical MHC class I molecule with immunomodulatory properties. Morevoer, EMPs possess significantly enhanced proliferative ability over BMMSCs during which karyotypic stability was maintained. Although derived from hESCs, EMPs do not form any tumors in immunocompromised mice. To efficiently profile gene expression in multiple samples, we designed an oligoarray to probe just over 11,000 genes highly expressed in stem cells. We found that the transcriptome of EMPs is more similar to BMMSCs than hESCs. Both cell types highly express genes involved in processes related to the cytoskeleton, extracellular matrix, and cell adhesion, but EMPs show higher expression of genes involved in cell proliferation whereas BMMSCs showed higher expression of immune-related genes. Based on our data, EMPs may be an accessible source of mesenchymal progenitor for therapeutic use.