[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A wealth of data and comprehensive reviews exist on pancreas development in mammals, primarily mice, and other vertebrates. By contrast, human pancreatic development has been less comprehensively reviewed. Here, we draw together those studies conducted directly in human embryonic and fetal tissue to provide an overview of what is known about human pancreatic development. We discuss the relevance of this work to manufacturing insulin-secreting β-cells from pluripotent stem cells and to different aspects of diabetes, especially permanent neonatal diabetes, and its underlying causes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genomic regulatory programmes that underlie human organogenesis are poorly understood. Pancreas development, in particular, has pivotal implications for pancreatic regeneration, cancer and diabetes. We have now characterized the regulatory landscape of embryonic multipotent progenitor cells that give rise to all pancreatic epithelial lineages. Using human embryonic pancreas and embryonic-stem-cell-derived progenitors we identify stage-specific transcripts and associated enhancers, many of which are co-occupied by transcription factors that are essential for pancreas development. We further show that TEAD1, a Hippo signalling effector, is an integral component of the transcription factor combinatorial code of pancreatic progenitor enhancers. TEAD and its coactivator YAP activate key pancreatic signalling mediators and transcription factors, and regulate the expansion of pancreatic progenitors. This work therefore uncovers a central role for TEAD and YAP as signal-responsive regulators of multipotent pancreatic progenitors, and provides a resource for the study of embryonic development of the human pancreas.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Collectively lung diseases are one of the largest causes of premature death worldwide and represent a major focus in the field of regenerative medicine. Despite significant progress, only few stem cell platforms are currently available for cell based therapy, disease modelling and drug screening in the context of pulmonary disorders. Human foregut stem cells (hFSCs) represent an advantageous progenitor cell type that can be used to amplify large quantities of cells for regenerative medicine applications and can be derived from any human pluripotent stem cell line. Here we further demonstrate the application of hFSCs by generating a near homogeneous population of early pulmonary endoderm cells co-expressesing NKX2.1 and FOXP2. These progenitors are then able to form cells representative of distal airway epithelium that express NKX2.1, GATA6, CFTR and secrete SFTPC. This culture system can be applied to hFSCs carrying the CFTR mutation Δf508 enabling the development of in vitro model for cystic fibrosis. This platform is compatible with drug screening and functional validations of small molecules which can reverse the phenotype associated with CFTR mutation. This is the first demonstration that multipotent endoderm stem cells can not only differentiate into both liver and pancreatic cells but also into lung endoderm. Furthermore our study establishes a new approach for the generation of functional lung cells that can be used for disease modelling as well as drug screening and the study of lung development.
Preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Stem Cells and Development
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background & aims
Hepatocyte-like cells (HLCs) differentiated from pluripotent stem cells by the use of soluble factors can model human liver function and toxicity. However, at present HLC maturity and whether any deficit represents a true fetal state or aberrant differentiation is unclear and compounded by comparison to potentially deteriorated adult hepatocytes. Therefore, we generated HLCs from multiple lineages and two different protocols for direct comparison with fresh fetal and adult hepatocytes.
Protocols were developed for robust differentiation. Multiple transcript, protein and functional analyses compared HLCs to fresh human fetal and adult hepatocytes.
HLCs were comparable to those of other laboratories by multiple parameters. Transcriptional changes during differentiation mimicked human embryogenesis and showed more similarity to pericentral than periportal hepatocytes. Unbiased proteomics demonstrated greater proximity to liver than 30 other human organs or tissues. However, by comparison to fresh material HLC maturity was proven by transcript, protein and function to be fetal-like and short of the adult phenotype. Expression of 81% of phase 1 enzymes in HLCs was significantly upregulated and half were statistically no different from in fetal hepatocytes. HLCs secreted albumin and metabolized testosterone (CYP3A) and dextrorphan (CYP2D6) like fetal hepatocytes. In seven bespoke tests devised by principal components analysis to distinguish fetal from adult hepatocytes HLCs from two different source laboratories consistently demonstrated fetal characteristics.
HLCs from different sources are broadly comparable with unbiased proteomic evidence for faithful differentiation down the liver lineage. This current phenotype mimics human fetal rather than adult hepatocytes.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of Hepatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Appropriate development of stratified, squamous, keratinizing epithelia, such as the epidermis and oral epithelia,
generates an outer protective permeability barrier that prevents water loss, entry of toxins, and microbial invasion. During embryogenesis, the immature ectoderm initially consists of a single layer of undifferentiated, cuboidal epithelial cells that stratifies to produce an outer layer of flattened periderm cells of unknown function. Here, we determined that periderm cells form in a distinct pattern early in embryogenesis, exhibit highly polarized expression of adhesion complexes, and are shed from the outer surface of the embryo late in development. Mice carrying loss-of-function mutations in the genes encoding IFN regulatory factor 6 (IRF6), IκB kinase-α (IKKα), and stratifin (SFN) exhibit abnormal epidermal development, and we determined that mutant animals exhibit dysfunctional periderm formation, resulting in abnormal intracellular adhesions. Furthermore, tissue from a fetus with cocoon syndrome, a lethal disorder that results from a nonsense mutation in IKKA, revealed an absence of periderm. Together, these data indicate that periderm plays a transient but fundamental role during embryogenesis by acting as a protective barrier that prevents pathological adhesion between immature, adhesion-competent epithelia. Furthermore, this study suggests that failure of periderm formation underlies a series of devastating birth defects, including popliteal pterygium syndrome, cocoon syndrome, and Bartsocas-Papas syndrome.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · The Journal of clinical investigation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and Aims
Liver fibrosis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. It is characterised by excessive extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition from activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). Although potentially reversible, treatment remains limited. Understanding how ECM influences the pathogenesis of the disease may provide insight into novel therapeutic targets for the disease. The extracellular protein Epimorphin (EPIM) has been implicated in tissue repair mechanisms in several tissues, partially, through its ability to manipulate proteases. In this study, we have identified that EPIM modulates the ECM environment produced by activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), in part, through down-regulation of pro-fibrotic Sex-determining region Y-box 9 (SOX9).
Influence of EPIM on ECM was investigated in cultured primary rat HSCs. Activated HSCs were treated with recombinant EPIM or SOX9 siRNA. Core fibrotic factors were evaluated by immunoblotting, qPCR and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP).
During HSC activation EPIM became significantly decreased in contrast to pro-fibrotic markers SOX9, Collagen type 1 (COL1), and α- Smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). Treatment of activated HSCs with recombinant EPIM caused a reduction in α-SMA, SOX9, COL1 and Osteopontin (OPN), while increasing expression of the collagenase matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP13). Sox9 abrogation in activated HSCs increased EPIM and MMP13 expression.
These data provide evidence for EPIM and SOX9 functioning by mutual negative feedback to regulate attributes of the quiescent or activated state of HSCs. Further understanding of EPIM's role may lead to opportunities to modulate SOX9 as a therapeutic avenue for liver fibrosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, NEUROG3, is critical in causing endocrine commitment from a progenitor cell population in the developing pancreas. In human, NEUROG3 has been detected from 8 weeks post-conception (wpc). However, the profile of its production and when it ceases to be detected is unknown. In this study we have defined the profile of NEUROG3 detection in the developing pancreas to give insight into when NEUROG3-dependent endocrine commitment is possible in the human fetus. Immunohistochemistry allowed counting of cells with positively stained nuclei from 7 wpc through to term. mRNA was also isolated from sections of human fetal pancreas and NEUROG3 transcription analyzed by quantitative reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction. NEUROG3 was detected as expected at 8 wpc. The number of NEUROG3-positive cells increased to peak levels between 10 wpc and 14 wpc. It declined at and after 18 wpc such that it was not detected in human fetal pancreas at 35-41 wpc. Analysis of NEUROG3 transcription corroborated this profile by demonstrating very low levels of transcript at 35-41 wpc, more than 10-fold lower than levels at 12-16 wpc. These data define the appearance, peak and subsequent disappearance of the critical transcription factor, NEUROG3, in human fetal pancreas for the first time. By inference, the window for pancreatic endocrine differentiation via NEUROG3 action opens at 8 wpc and closes between 21 and 35 wpc.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glucocorticoids (Gc) regulate cell fate and immune function. We identified the metasasis-promoting methyltransferase, metastasis-related methyltransferase 1 (WBSCR22/Merm1) as a novel glucocorticoid receptor (GR) regulator, relevant to human disease. Merm1 binds the GR co-activator GRIP1, but not GR. Loss of Merm1 impaired both GR transactivation, and transrepression, by reducing GR recruitment to its binding sites. This was accompanied by loss of GR-dependent H3K4Me3 at a well characterised promoter. Inflammation promotes Gc resistance, in part through the actions of TNF α and IFN γ. These cytokines suppressed Merm1 protein expression, by driving ubiquitination of two conserved lysine residues. Restoration of Merm1 expression rescued GR transactivation. Cytokine-suppression of Merm1, and of GR function was also seen in human lung explants. In addition, striking loss of Merm1 protein was observed in both inflammatory and neoplastic human lung pathologies. In conclusion, Merm1 is a novel regulator of chromatin structure affecting GR recruitment and function, contributing to loss of Gc sensitivity in inflammation, with suppressed expression in pulmonary disease.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Induced pluripotent stem cell derived hepatocytes (IPSC-Heps) have the potential to reduce the demand for a dwindling number of primary cells used in applications ranging from therapeutic cell infusions to in vitro toxicology studies. However, current differentiation protocols and culture methods produce cells with reduced functionality and fetal-like properties compared to adult hepatocytes. We report a culture method for the maturation of IPSC-Heps using 3-Dimensional (3D) collagen matrices compatible with high throughput screening. This culture method significantly increases functional maturation of IPSC-Heps towards an adult phenotype when compared to conventional 2D systems. Additionally, this approach spontaneously results in the presence of polarized structures necessary for drug metabolism and improves functional longevity to over 75 days. Overall, this research reveals a method to shift the phenotype of existing IPSC-Heps towards primary adult hepatocytes allowing such cells to be a more relevant replacement for the current primary standard.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) could provide an infinite source of clinically relevant cells with potential applications in regenerative medicine. However, hPSC lines vary in their capacity to generate specialized cells, and the development of universal protocols for the production of tissue-specific cells remains a major challenge. Here, we have addressed this limitation for the endodermal lineage by developing a defined culture system to expand and differentiate human foregut stem cells (hFSCs) derived from hPSCs. hFSCs can self-renew while maintaining their capacity to differentiate into pancreatic and hepatic cells. Furthermore, near-homogenous populations of hFSCs can be obtained from hPSC lines which are normally refractory to endodermal differentiation. Therefore, hFSCs provide a unique approach to bypass variability between pluripotent lines in order to obtain a sustainable source of multipotent endoderm stem cells for basic studies and to produce a diversity of endodermal derivatives with a clinical value.