Joseph Collin

Newcastle University, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (4)20.47 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Blindness represents an increasing global problem with significant social and economic impact upon affected patients and society as a whole. In Europe, approximately one in 30 individuals experience sight loss and 75% of those are unemployed, a social burden which is very likely to increase as the population of Europe ages. Diseases affecting the retina account for approximately 26% of blindness globally and 70% of blindness in the United Kingdom. To date, there are no treatments to restore lost retinal cells and improve visual function, highlighting an urgent need for new therapeutic approaches. A pioneering breakthrough has demonstrated the ability to generate synthetic retina from pluripotent stem cells under laboratory conditions, a finding with immense relevance for basic research, in vitro disease modeling, drug discovery, and cell replacement therapies. This review summarizes the current achievements in pluripotent stem cell differentiation toward retinal cells and highlights the steps that need to be completed in order to generate human synthetic retinae with high efficiency and reproducibly from patient-specific pluripotent stem cells.
    Visual Neuroscience 05/2014; · 1.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a serious congenital cardiovascular malformation resulting in hypoplasia or atresia of the left ventricle, ascending aorta, and aortic and mitral valves. Diminished flow through the left side of the heart is clearly a key contributor to the condition, but any myocardial susceptibility component is as yet undefined. Using recent advances in the field of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), we have been able to generate an iPSC model of HLHS malformation and characterize the properties of cardiac myocytes (CMs) differentiated from these and control-iPSC lines. Differentiation of HLHS-iPSCs to cardiac lineages revealed changes in the expression of key cardiac markers and a lower ability to give rise to beating clusters when compared with control-iPSCs and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). HLHS-iPSC-derived CMs show a lower level of myofibrillar organization, persistence of a fetal gene expression pattern, and changes in commitment to ventricular versus atrial lineages, and they display different calcium transient patterns and electrophysiological responses to caffeine and β-adrenergic antagonists when compared with hESC- and control-iPSC-derived CMs, suggesting that alternative mechanisms to release calcium from intracellular stores such as the inositol trisphosphate receptor may exist in HLHS in addition to the ryanodine receptor thought to function in control-iPSC-derived CMs. Together our findings demonstrate that CMs derived from an HLHS patient demonstrate a number of marker expression and functional differences to hESC/control iPSC-derived CMs, thus providing some evidence that cardiomyocyte-specific factors may influence the risk of HLHS.
    STEM CELLS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE 03/2014; · 3.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The function of the proteasome is essential for maintenance of cellular homeostasis, and in pluripotent stem cells, this has been extended to the removal of nascent proteins in a manner that restricts differentiation. In this study, we show enhanced expression of genes encoding subunits of the 20S proteasome in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) coupled to their downregulation as the cells progress into differentiation. The decrease in expression is particularly marked for the alternative catalytic subunits of the 20S proteasome variant known as the immunoproteasome indicating the possibility of a hitherto unknown function for this proteasome variant in pluripotent cells. The immunoproteasome is normally associated with antigen-presenting cells where it provides peptides of an appropriate length for antibody generation; however, our data suggest that it may be involved in maintaining the pluripotency in hESCs. Selective inhibition of two immunoproteasome subunits (PSMB9 and PSMB8) results in downregulation of cell surface and transcriptional markers that characterize the pluripotent state, subtle cell accumulation in G1 at the expense of S-phase, and upregulation of various markers characterizing the differentiated primitive and definitive lineages arising from hESC. Our data also support a different function for each of these two subunits in hESC that may be linked to their selectivity in driving proteasome-mediated degradation of cell cycle regulatory components and/or differentiation inducing factors.
    Stem Cells 04/2012; 30(7):1373-84. · 7.70 Impact Factor
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    Joseph Collin, Majlinda Lako
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    ABSTRACT: Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) encompassing human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have a wide appeal for numerous basic biology studies and for therapeutic applications because of their potential to give rise to almost any cell type in the human body and immense ability to self-renew. Much attention in the stem cell field is focused toward the study of gene-based anomalies relating to the causative affects of human disease and their correction with the potential for patient-specific therapies using gene corrected hiPSCs. Therefore, the genetic manipulation of stem cells is clearly important for the development of future medicine. Although successful targeted genetic engineering in hPSCs has been reported, these cases are surprisingly few because of inherent technical limitations with the methods used. The development of more robust and efficient means by which to achieve specific genomic modifications in hPSCs has far reaching implications for stem cell research and its applications. Recent proof-of-principle reports have shown that genetic alterations with minimal toxicity are now possible through the use of zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) and the inherent DNA repair mechanisms within the cell. In light of recent comprehensive reviews that highlight the applications, methodologies, and prospects of ZFNs, this article focuses on the application of ZFNs to stem cell biology, discussing the published work to date, potential problems, and future uses for this technology both experimentally and therapeutically.
    Stem Cells 05/2011; 29(7):1021-33. · 7.70 Impact Factor