ABSTRACT: Even before the first appearance of the developing pancreas, glucose is the major substrate in the growing embryo. The transport of glucose across cell membranes is facilitated by a family of membranal glucose transporters (GLUT). We analyzed changes in expression of class 1 glucose transporters (GLUT1-4) during human embryonic stem cell (hESC) and human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) differentiation, from undifferentiated cells to 28-day-old embryoid bodies (EBs). We also examined the potential use of GLUT2 as a marker for differentiating pancreatic progenitor cells. Using quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), western blot, and immunofluorescence, we observed enhanced expression of GLUT1 and GLUT2 during differentiation, but only minor change in GLUT3 expression. GLUT4 expression was found to be very low both at the RNA and in the protein levels. Expression of the early pancreatic transcription factor, pancreatic duodenal homeobox gene 1 (PDX1), correlated with GLUT2 expression, suggesting the potential use of GLUT2 as a surface marker for tracking pancreatic precursor cells. After sorting EBs according to their membranal GLUT2 expression, GLUT2 and PDX1 expression were found elevated, as was expression of other endodermal markers such as PAX4, NGN3, CXCR4, and SOX17. This simple method may be used to differentiate embryonic stem cells and to isolate from them, using GLUT2 as a surface marker, an enriched pancreatic progenitor cell population in order to achieve insulin-producing cells. The sorted GLUT2 cells may potentially be used in the future as insulin-producing cells for beta cell therapies.
Stem cells and development 02/2012; 21(10):1653-61. · 4.15 Impact Factor