Lorenz Studer

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, United States

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Publications (116)1584.1 Total impact

  • Lorenz Studer, Elsa Vera, Daniela Cornacchia
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    ABSTRACT: The ability to reprogram adult somatic cells back to pluripotency presents a powerful tool for studying cell-fate identity and modeling human disease. However, the reversal of cellular age during reprogramming results in an embryonic-like state of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and their derivatives, which presents specific challenges for modeling late onset disease. This age reset requires novel methods to mimic age-related changes but also offers opportunities for studying cellular rejuvenation in real time. Here, we discuss how iPSC research may transform studies of aging and enable the precise programming of cellular age in parallel to cell-fate specification. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Cell stem cell 06/2015; 16(6). DOI:10.1016/j.stem.2015.05.004 · 22.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a common virus that can rarely invade the human central nervous system (CNS), causing devastating encephalitis. The permissiveness to HSV-1 of the various relevant cell types of the CNS, neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia cells, as well as their response to viral infection, has been extensively studied in humans and other animals. Nevertheless, human CNS cell-based models of anti-HSV-1 immunity are of particular importance, as responses to any given neurotropic virus may differ between humans and other animals. Human CNS neuron cell lines as well as primary human CNS neurons, astrocytes, and microglia cells cultured/isolated from embryos or cadavers, have enabled the study of cell-autonomous anti-HSV-1 immunity in vitro. However, the paucity of biological samples and their lack of purity have hindered progress in the field, which furthermore suffers from the absence of testable primary human oligodendrocytes. Recently, the authors have established a human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs)-based model of anti-HSV-1 immunity in neurons, oligodendrocyte precursor cells, astrocytes, and neural stem cells, which has widened the scope of possible in vitro studies while permitting in-depth explorations. This mini-review summarizes the available data on human primary and iPSC-derived CNS cells for anti-HSV-1 immunity. The hiPSC-mediated study of anti-viral immunity in both healthy individuals and patients with viral encephalitis will be a powerful tool in dissecting the disease pathogenesis of CNS infections with HSV-1 and other neurotropic viruses.
    Frontiers in Immunology 05/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2015.00208
  • Julius A Steinbeck, Lorenz Studer
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    ABSTRACT: Stem cell-based therapies hold considerable promise for many currently devastating neurological disorders. Substantial progress has been made in the derivation of disease-relevant human donor cell populations. Behavioral data in relevant animal models of disease have demonstrated therapeutic efficacy for several cell-based approaches. Consequently, cGMP grade cell products are currently being developed for first in human clinical trials in select disorders. Despite the therapeutic promise, the presumed mechanism of action of donor cell populations often remains insufficiently validated. It depends greatly on the properties of the transplanted cell type and the underlying host pathology. Several new technologies have become available to probe mechanisms of action in real time and to manipulate in vivo cell function and integration to enhance therapeutic efficacy. Results from such studies generate crucial insight into the nature of brain repair that can be achieved today and push the boundaries of what may be possible in the future. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Neuron 04/2015; 86(1):187-206. DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.03.002 · 15.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epigenetic regulation of key transcriptional programs is a critical mechanism that controls hematopoietic development, and, thus, aberrant expression patterns or mutations in epigenetic regulators occur frequently in hematologic malignancies. We demonstrate that the Polycomb protein L3MBTL1, which is monoallelically deleted in 20q- myeloid malignancies, represses the ability of stem cells to drive hematopoietic-specific transcriptional programs by regulating the expression of SMAD5 and impairing its recruitment to target regulatory regions. Indeed, knockdown of L3MBTL1 promotes the development of hematopoiesis and impairs neural cell fate in human pluripotent stem cells. We also found a role for L3MBTL1 in regulating SMAD5 target gene expression in mature hematopoietic cell populations, thereby affecting erythroid differentiation. Taken together, we have identified epigenetic priming of hematopoietic-specific transcriptional networks, which may assist in the development of therapeutic approaches for patients with anemia. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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    ABSTRACT: Hypothalamic neurons orchestrate many essential physiological and behavioral processes via secreted neuropeptides, and are relevant to human diseases such as obesity, narcolepsy and infertility. We report the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into many of the major types of neuropeptidergic hypothalamic neurons, including those producing pro-opiolemelanocortin, agouti-related peptide, hypocretin/orexin, melanin-concentrating hormone, oxytocin, arginine vasopressin, corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) or thyrotropin-releasing hormone. Hypothalamic neurons can be generated using a 'self-patterning' strategy that yields a broad array of cell types, or via a more reproducible directed differentiation approach. Stem cell-derived human hypothalamic neurons share characteristic morphological properties and gene expression patterns with their counterparts in vivo, and are able to integrate into the mouse brain. These neurons could form the basis of cellular models, chemical screens or cellular therapies to study and treat common human diseases. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
    Development 02/2015; 142(4):633-43. DOI:10.1242/dev.117978 · 6.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown evidence of behavioral recovery after transplantation of human pluripotent stem cell (PSC)-derived neural cells in animal models of neurological disease. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying graft function. Here we use optogenetics to modulate in real time electrophysiological and neurochemical properties of mesencephalic dopaminergic (mesDA) neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). In mice that had recovered from lesion-induced Parkinsonian motor deficits, light-induced selective silencing of graft activity rapidly and reversibly re-introduced the motor deficits. The re-introduction of motor deficits was prevented by the dopamine agonist apomorphine. These results suggest that functionality depends on graft neuronal activity and dopamine release. Combining optogenetics, slice electrophysiology and pharmacological approaches, we further show that mesDA-rich grafts modulate host glutamatergic synaptic transmission onto striatal medium spiny neurons in a manner reminiscent of endogenous mesDA neurons. Thus, application of optogenetics in cell therapy can link transplantation, animal behavior and postmortem analysis to enable the identification of mechanisms that drive recovery.
    Nature Biotechnology 01/2015; DOI:10.1038/nbt.3124 · 39.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The long-term risk of malignancy associated with stem cell therapies is a significant concern in the clinical application of this exciting technology. We report a cancer-selective strategy to enhance the safety of stem cell therapies. Briefly, using a cell engineering approach, we show that aggressive cancers derived from human or murine induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are strikingly sensitive to temporary MYC blockade. On the other hand, differentiated tissues derived from human or mouse iPSCs can readily tolerate temporary MYC inactivation. In cancer cells, endogenous MYC is required to maintain the metabolic and epigenetic functions of the embryonic and cancer-specific pyruvate kinase M2 isoform (PKM2). In summary, our results implicate PKM2 in cancer's increased MYC dependence and indicate dominant MYC inhibition as a cancer-selective fail-safe for stem cell therapies.
    Cell Reports 09/2014; 8(6). DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2014.08.039 · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    Justine Miller, Lorenz Studer
    Aging 04/2014; 6(4). · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Subsets of rodent neurons are reported to express major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I), but such expression has not been reported in normal adult human neurons. Here we provide evidence from immunolabel, RNA expression and mass spectrometry analysis of postmortem samples that human catecholaminergic substantia nigra and locus coeruleus neurons express MHC-I, and that this molecule is inducible in human stem cell-derived dopamine (DA) neurons. Catecholamine murine cultured neurons are more responsive to induction of MHC-I by gamma-interferon than other neuronal populations. Neuronal MHC-I is also induced by factors released from microglia activated by neuromelanin or alpha-synuclein, or high cytosolic DA and/or oxidative stress. DA neurons internalize foreign ovalbumin and display antigen derived from this protein by MHC-I, which triggers DA neuronal death in the presence of appropriate cytotoxic T cells. Thus, neuronal MHC-I can trigger antigenic response, and catecholamine neurons may be particularly susceptible to T-cell-mediated cytotoxic attack.
    Nature Communications 04/2014; 5:3633. DOI:10.1038/ncomms4633 · 10.74 Impact Factor
  • Viviane Tabar, Lorenz Studer
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    ABSTRACT: After years of incremental progress, several recent studies have succeeded in deriving disease-relevant cell types from human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) sources. The prospect of an unlimited cell source, combined with promising preclinical data, indicates that hPSC technology may be on the verge of clinical translation. In this Review, we discuss recent progress in directed differentiation, some of the new technologies that have facilitated the success of hPSC therapies and the remaining hurdles on the road towards developing hPSC-based cell therapies.
    Nature Reviews Genetics 01/2014; 15(2):82-92. DOI:10.1038/nrg3563 · 39.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) have great potential for studying human embryonic development, for modeling human diseases in the dish and as a source of transplantable cells for regenerative applications after disease or accidents. Neural crest (NC) cells are the precursors for a large variety of adult somatic cells, such as cells from the peripheral nervous system and glia, melanocytes and mesenchymal cells. They are a valuable source of cells to study aspects of human embryonic development, including cell fate specification and migration. Further differentiation of NC progenitor cells into terminally differentiated cell types offers the possibility to model human diseases in vitro, investigate disease mechanisms and generate cells for regenerative medicine. This article presents the adaptation of a currently available in vitro differentiation protocol for the derivation of NC cells from hPSCs. This new protocol requires 18 days of differentiation, is feeder-free, easily scalable and highly reproducible among human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines as well as human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) lines. Both old and new protocols yield NC cells of equal identity.
    Journal of Visualized Experiments 01/2014; DOI:10.3791/51609
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    ABSTRACT: Reprogramming somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) resets their identity back to an embryonic age and, thus, presents a significant hurdle for modeling late-onset disorders. In this study, we describe a strategy for inducing aging-related features in human iPSC-derived lineages and apply it to the modeling of Parkinson's disease (PD). Our approach involves expression of progerin, a truncated form of lamin A associated with premature aging. We found that expression of progerin in iPSC-derived fibroblasts and neurons induces multiple aging-related markers and characteristics, including dopamine-specific phenotypes such as neuromelanin accumulation. Induced aging in PD iPSC-derived dopamine neurons revealed disease phenotypes that require both aging and genetic susceptibility, such as pronounced dendrite degeneration, progressive loss of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression, and enlarged mitochondria or Lewy-body-precursor inclusions. Thus, our study suggests that progerin-induced aging can be used to reveal late-onset age-related disease features in hiPSC-based disease models.
    Cell stem cell 12/2013; 13(6):691-705. DOI:10.1016/j.stem.2013.11.006 · 22.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There has been considerable progress in obtaining engraftable embryonic stem (ES) cell-derived midbrain dopamine neurons for cell replacement therapy in models of Parkinson's disease; however, limited integration and striatal reinnervation of ES-derived grafts remain a major challenge for future clinical translation. In this paper, we show that enhanced expression of polysialic acid results in improved graft efficiency in correcting behavioral deficits in Parkinsonian mice. This result is accompanied by two potentially relevant cellular changes: greater survival of transplanted ES-derived dopamine neurons and robust sprouting of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive processes into host tissue. Because the procedures used to enhance polysialic acid are easily translated to other cell types and species, this approach may represent a general strategy to improve graft integration in cell-based therapies.
    STEM CELLS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE 12/2013; 3(1). DOI:10.5966/sctm.2013-0084 · 3.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The neural crest (NC) is a transient population of multipotent cells giving rise to the peripheral nervous system, skin pigmentation, heart, and facial mesenchyme. The broad cell fate potential of NC makes it an attractive cell fate to derive from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) for exploring embryonic development, modeling disease, and generating cells for transplantation. Here, we discuss recent publications and methods for efficiently differentiating hPSCs into NC. We also provide methods to direct NC into two different terminal fates: melanocytes and sensory neurons.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 12/2013; DOI:10.1007/7651_2013_59 · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cranial placodes are embryonic structures essential for sensory and endocrine organ development. Human placode development has remained largely inaccessible despite the serious medical conditions caused by the dysfunction of placode-derived tissues. Here, we demonstrate the efficient derivation of cranial placodes from human pluripotent stem cells. Timed removal of the BMP inhibitor Noggin, a component of the dual-SMAD inhibition strategy of neural induction, triggers placode induction at the expense of CNS fates. Concomitant inhibition of fibroblast growth factor signaling disrupts placode derivation and induces surface ectoderm. Further fate specification at the preplacode stage enables the selective generation of placode-derived trigeminal ganglia capable of in vivo engraftment, mature lens fibers, and anterior pituitary hormone-producing cells that upon transplantation produce human growth hormone and adrenocorticotropic hormone in vivo. Our results establish a powerful experimental platform to study human cranial placode development and set the stage for the development of human cell-based therapies in sensory and endocrine disease.
    Cell Reports 11/2013; 5(5). DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2013.10.048 · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A major barrier in understanding nervous system development is modeling the cellular interactions that form the human brain. Recently, in the journal Nature, Lancaster et al. (2013) established a protocol for culturing pluripotent stem cell (PSC)-derived "cerebral organoids" that mimics the developing human brain's cellular organization, segregates into distinct brain regions, and models microcephaly.
    Cell stem cell 10/2013; 13(4):377-378. DOI:10.1016/j.stem.2013.09.010 · 22.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human pluripotent stem cells are a powerful tool for modeling brain development and disease. The human cortex is composed of two major neuronal populations: projection neurons and local interneurons. Cortical interneurons comprise a diverse class of cell types expressing the neurotransmitter GABA. Dysfunction of cortical interneurons has been implicated in neuropsychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia, autism, and epilepsy. Here, we demonstrate the highly efficient derivation of human cortical interneurons in an NKX2.1::GFP human embryonic stem cell reporter line. Manipulating the timing of SHH activation yields three distinct GFP+ populations with specific transcriptional profiles, neurotransmitter phenotypes, and migratory behaviors. Further differentiation in a murine cortical environment yields parvalbumin- and somatostatin-expressing neurons that exhibit synaptic inputs and electrophysiological properties of cortical interneurons. Our study defines the signals sufficient for modeling human ventral forebrain development in vitro and lays the foundation for studying cortical interneuron involvement in human disease pathology.
    Cell stem cell 05/2013; 12(5):559-72. DOI:10.1016/j.stem.2013.04.008 · 22.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melanocytes are pigment-producing cells of neural crest (NC) origin that are responsible for protecting the skin against UV irradiation. Pluripotent stem cell (PSC) technology offers a promising approach for studying human melanocyte development and disease. Here, we report that timed exposure to activators of WNT, BMP, and EDN3 signaling triggers the sequential induction of NC and melanocyte precursor fates under dual-SMAD-inhibition conditions. Using a SOX10::GFP human embryonic stem cell (hESC) reporter line, we demonstrate that the temporal onset of WNT activation is particularly critical for human NC induction. Subsequent maturation of hESC-derived melanocytes yields pure populations that match the molecular and functional properties of adult melanocytes. Melanocytes from Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome and Chediak-Higashi syndrome patient-specific induced PSCs (iPSCs) faithfully reproduce the ultrastructural features of disease-associated pigmentation defects. Our data define a highly specific requirement for WNT signaling during NC induction and enable the generation of pure populations of human iPSC-derived melanocytes for faithful modeling of pigmentation disorders.
    Cell Reports 04/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2013.03.025 · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neonatal engraftment by oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) permits the myelination of the congenitally dysmyelinated brain. To establish a potential autologous source of these cells, we developed a strategy by which to differentiate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) into OPCs. From three hiPSC lines, as well as from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), we generated highly enriched OLIG2(+)/PDGFRα(+)/NKX2.2(+)/SOX10(+) human OPCs, which could be further purified using fluorescence-activated cell sorting. hiPSC OPCs efficiently differentiated into both myelinogenic oligodendrocytes and astrocytes, in vitro and in vivo. Neonatally engrafted hiPSC OPCs robustly myelinated the brains of myelin-deficient shiverer mice and substantially increased their survival. The speed and efficiency of myelination by hiPSC OPCs was higher than that previously observed using fetal-tissue-derived OPCs, and no tumors from these grafts were noted as long as 9 months after transplant. These results suggest the potential utility of hiPSC-derived OPCs in treating disorders of myelin loss.
    Cell stem cell 02/2013; 12(2):252-64. DOI:10.1016/j.stem.2012.12.002 · 22.15 Impact Factor
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Publication Stats

9k Citations
1,584.10 Total Impact Points


  • 2000–2015
    • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
      • • Division of Developmental Biology
      • • Department of Radiology
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2012
    • Johns Hopkins University
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2006–2008
    • City of Hope National Medical Center
      • Department of Neurosciences
      Дуарте, California, United States
  • 2003–2004
    • Weill Cornell Medical College
      • Department of Neurology and Neuroscience
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2000–2001
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Laboratory of Molecular Biology
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 1996
    • Universität Bern
      Berna, Bern, Switzerland