Functional Diversity of ESC-Derived Motor Neuron Subtypes Revealed through Intraspinal Transplantation
ABSTRACT Cultured ESCs can form different classes of neurons, but whether these neurons can acquire specialized subtype features typical of neurons in vivo remains unclear. We show here that mouse ESCs can be directed to form highly specific motor neuron subtypes in the absence of added factors, through a differentiation program that relies on endogenous Wnts, FGFs, and Hh-mimicking the normal program of motor neuron subtype differentiation. Molecular markers that characterize motor neuron subtypes anticipate the functional properties of these neurons in vivo: ESC-derived motor neurons grafted isochronically into chick spinal cord settle in appropriate columnar domains and select axonal trajectories with a fidelity that matches that of their in vivo generated counterparts. ESC-derived motor neurons can therefore be programmed in a predictive manner to acquire molecular and functional properties that characterize one of the many dozens of specialized motor neuron subtypes that exist in vivo.
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ABSTRACT: Spinal motor neurons (MNs) control diverse motor tasks including respiration, posture and locomotion that are disrupted by neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy. Methods directing MN differentiation from stem cells have been developed to enable disease modelling in vitro. However, most protocols produce only a limited subset of endogenous MN subtypes. Here we demonstrate that limb-innervating lateral motor column (LMC) MNs can be efficiently generated from mouse and human embryonic stem cells through manipulation of the transcription factor Foxp1. Foxp1-programmed MNs exhibit features of medial and lateral LMC MNs including expression of specific motor pool markers and axon guidance receptors. Importantly, they preferentially project axons towards limb muscle explants in vitro and distal limb muscles in vivo upon transplantation-hallmarks of bona fide LMC MNs. These results present an effective approach for generating specific MN populations from stem cells for studying MN development and disease.Nature Communications 04/2015; 6:6778. DOI:10.1038/ncomms7778 · 10.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Among the range of materials used in bioengineering, parylene-C has been used in combination with silicon oxide and in presence of the serum proteins, in cell patterning. However, the structural properties of adsorbed serum proteins on these substrates still remain elusive. In this study, we use an optical biosensing technique to decipher the properties of fibronectin (Fn) and serum albumin adsorbed on parylene-C and silicon oxide substrates. Our results show the formation of layers with distinct structural and adhesive properties. Thin, dense layers are formed on parylene-C, whereas thicker, more diffuse layers are formed on silicon oxide. These results suggest that Fn acquires a compact structure on parylene-C and a more extended structure on silicon oxide. Nonetheless, parylene-C and silicon oxide substrates coated with Fn host cell populations that exhibit focal adhesion complexes and good cell attachment. Albumin adopts a deformed structure on parylene-C and a globular structure on silicon oxide, and does not support significant cell attachment on either surface. Interestingly, the co-incubation of Fn and albumin at the ratio found in serum, results in the preferential adsorption of albumin on parylene-C and Fn on silicon oxide. This finding is supported by the exclusive formation of focal adhesion complexes in differentiated mouse embryonic stem cells (CGR8), cultured on Fn/albumin coated silicon oxide, but not on parylene-C. The detailed information provided in this study on the distinct properties of layers of serum proteins on substrates such as parylene-C and silicon oxide is highly significant in developing methods for cell patterning.Colloids and surfaces B: Biointerfaces 12/2014; 126. DOI:10.1016/j.colsurfb.2014.12.020 · 4.29 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Colinear HOX expression during hindbrain and spinal cord development diversifies and assigns regional neural phenotypes to discrete rhombomeric and vertebral domains. Despite the precision of HOX patterning in vivo, in vitro approaches for differentiating human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) to posterior neural fates coarsely pattern HOX expression thereby generating cultures broadly specified to hindbrain or spinal cord regions. Here, we demonstrate that successive activation of fibroblast growth factor, Wnt/β-catenin, and growth differentiation factor signaling during hPSC differentiation generates stable, homogenous SOX2(+)/Brachyury(+) neuromesoderm that exhibits progressive, full colinear HOX activation over 7 days. Switching to retinoic acid treatment at any point during this process halts colinear HOX activation and transitions the neuromesoderm into SOX2(+)/PAX6(+) neuroectoderm with predictable, discrete HOX gene/protein profiles that can be further differentiated into region-specific cells, e.g., motor neurons. This fully defined approach significantly expands capabilities to derive regional neural phenotypes from diverse hindbrain and spinal cord domains. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.04/2015; 33. DOI:10.1016/j.stemcr.2015.02.018