Human pluripotent stem cells: an emerging model in developmental biology
ABSTRACT Developmental biology has long benefited from studies of classic model organisms. Recently, human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells, have emerged as a new model system that offers unique advantages for developmental studies. Here, we discuss how studies of hPSCs can complement classic approaches using model organisms, and how hPSCs can be used to recapitulate aspects of human embryonic development 'in a dish'. We also summarize some of the recently developed genetic tools that greatly facilitate the interrogation of gene function during hPSC differentiation. With the development of high-throughput screening technologies, hPSCs have the potential to revolutionize gene discovery in mammalian development.
SourceAvailable from: Ricardo M Zayas[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Members of the COE family of transcription factors are required for central nervous system (CNS) development. However, the function of COE in the post-embryonic CNS remains largely unknown. An excellent model for investigating gene function in the adult CNS is the freshwater planarian. This animal is capable of regenerating neurons from an adult pluripotent stem cell population and regaining normal function. We previously showed that planarian coe is expressed in differentiating and mature neurons and that its function is required for proper CNS regeneration. Here, we show that coe is essential to maintain nervous system architecture and patterning in intact (uninjured) planarians. We took advantage of the robust phenotype in intact animals to investigate the genetic programs coe regulates in the CNS. We compared the transcriptional profiles of control and coe RNAi planarians using RNA sequencing and identified approximately 900 differentially expressed genes in coe knockdown animals, including 397 downregulated genes that were enriched for nervous system functional annotations. Next, we validated a subset of the downregulated transcripts by analyzing their expression in coe-deficient planarians and testing if the mRNAs could be detected in coe+ cells. These experiments revealed novel candidate targets of coe in the CNS such as ion channel, neuropeptide, and neurotransmitter genes. Finally, to determine if loss of any of the validated transcripts underscores the coe knockdown phenotype, we knocked down their expression by RNAi and uncovered a set of coe-regulated genes implicated in CNS regeneration and patterning, including orthologs of sodium channel alpha-subunit and pou4. Our study broadens the knowledge of gene expression programs regulated by COE that are required for maintenance of neural subtypes and nervous system architecture in adult animals.PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004746. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004746 · 8.17 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have demonstrated great potential for hyaline cartilage regeneration. However, current approaches for chondrogenic differentiation of hiPSCs are complicated and inefficient primarily due to intermediate embryoid body formation, which is required to generate endodermal, ectodermal, and mesodermal cell lineages. We report a new, straightforward and highly efficient approach for chondrogenic differentiation of hiPSCs, which avoids embryoid body formation. We differentiated hiPSCs directly into mesenchymal stem /stromal cells (MSC) and chondrocytes. hiPSC-MSC-derived chondrocytes showed significantly increased Col2A1, GAG, and SOX9 gene expression compared to hiPSC-MSCs. Following transplantation of hiPSC-MSC and hiPSC-MSC-derived chondrocytes into osteochondral defects of arthritic joints of athymic rats, magnetic resonance imaging studies showed gradual engraftment, and histological correlations demonstrated hyaline cartilage matrix production. Results present an efficient and clinically translatable approach for cartilage tissue regeneration via patient-derived hiPSCs, which could improve cartilage regeneration outcomes in arthritic joints.Stem Cell Reviews and Reports 01/2015; DOI:10.1007/s12015-014-9581-5 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) display extensive epigenetic instability, particularly on the X chromosome. In this study, we show that, in hPSCs, the inactive X chromosome has a specific heterochromatin landscape that predisposes it to erosion of X chromosome inactivation (XCI), a process that occurs spontaneously in hPSCs. Heterochromatin remodeling and gene reactivation occur in a non-random fashion and are confined to specific H3K27me3-enriched domains, leaving H3K9me3-marked regions unaffected. Using single-cell monitoring of XCI erosion, we show that this instability only occurs in pluripotent cells. We also provide evidence that loss of XIST expression is not the primary cause of XCI instability and that gene reactivation from the inactive X (Xi) precedes loss of XIST coating. Notably, expression and coating by the long non-coding RNA XACT are early events in XCI erosion and, therefore, may play a role in mediating this process. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Cell Stem Cell 05/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.stem.2015.03.016 · 22.15 Impact Factor