[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Non-human primate (NHP) embryonic stem (ES) cells show unlimited proliferative capacities and a great potential to generate multiple cell lineages. These properties make them an ideal resource both for investigating early developmental processes and for assessing their therapeutic potential in numerous models of degenerative diseases. They share the same markers and the same properties with human ES cells, and thus provide an invaluable transitional model that can be used to address the safety issues related to the clinical use of human ES cells. Here, we review the available information on the derivation and the specific features of monkey ES cells. We comment on the capacity of primate ES cells to differentiate into neural lineages and the current protocols to generate self-renewing neural stem cells. We also highlight the signalling pathways involved in the maintenance of these neural cell types. Finally, we discuss the potential of monkey ES cells for neuronal differentiation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) activates the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), which results in the maintenance of mouse embryonic stem cells in the pluripotent state by inhibiting both mesodermal and endodermal differentiation. How the LIF/STAT3 pathway inhibits commitment to both mesoderm and endoderm lineages is presently unknown. Using a hormone-dependent STAT3 and with microarray analysis, we identified 58 targets of STAT3 including 20 unknown genes. Functional analysis showed that 22 among the 23 STAT3 target genes analyzed contribute to the maintenance of the undifferentiated state, as evidenced by an increase in the frequency of differentiated colonies in a self-renewal assay and a concomitant elevation of early differentiation markers upon knockdown. Fourteen of them, including Dact1, Klf4, Klf5, Rgs16, Smad7, Ccrn4l, Cnnm1, Ocln, Ier3, Pim1, Cyr61, and Sgk, were also regulated by Nanog. Analysis of lineage-specific markers showed that the STAT3 target genes fell into three distinct categories, depending on their capacity to inhibit either mesoderm or endoderm differentiation or both. The identification of genes that harness self-renewal and are downstream targets of both STAT3 and Nanog shed light on the mechanisms underlying functional redundancy between STAT3 and Nanog in mouse embryonic stem cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Embryonic stem cells (ESC) have the ability of indefinite self-renewal and multilineage differentiation, and they carry great potential in cell-based therapies. The rhesus macaque is the most relevant preclinical model for assessing the benefit, safety, and efficacy of ESC-based transplantations in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In the case of neural cell grafting, tracing both the neurons and their axonal projections in vivo is essential for studying the integration of the grafted cells in the host brain. Tau-Green fluorescent protein (tau-GFP) is a powerful viable lineage tracer, allowing visualization of cell bodies, dendrites, and axons in exquisite detail. Here, we report the first rhesus monkey ESC line that ubiquitously and stably expresses tau-GFP. First, we derived a new line of rhesus monkey ESC (LYON-ES1) that show marker expression and cell cycle characteristics typical of primate ESCs. LYON-ES1 cells are pluripotent, giving rise to derivatives of the three germ layers in vitro and in vivo through teratoma formation. They retain all their undifferentiated characteristics and a normal karyotype after prolonged culture. Using lentiviral infection, we then generated a monkey ESC line stably expressing tau-GFP that retains all the characteristics of the parental wild-type line and is clonogenic. We show that neural precursors derived from the tau-GFP ESC line are multipotent and that their fate can be precisely mapped in vivo after grafting in the adult rat brain. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.