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MLC-2v is a myosin light chain regulatory protein which is specifically expressed in ventricular cardiomyocytes and slow twitch skeletal muscle cells. MLC-2v plays critical roles in ventricular maturation during heart development. Mice lacking MLC-2v are embryonic lethal due to heart failure associated with abnormal myofibrillar organization of ventricular cardiomyocytes. To study the development of ventricular cardiac muscle and slow twitch skeletal muscle, we generated a new MLC-2v reporter mouse line by knocking-in a tdTomato reporter cassette into 3' UTR of the MLC-2v gene without disrupting the endogenous gene. Our results demonstrated specific MLC-2v-tdTomato knock-in reporter expression in ventricular cardiomyocytes and slow twitch muscle during myogenesis, precisely recapitulating the spatiotemporal expression pattern of endogenous MLC-2v. No tdTomato expression was observed in the atria, fast twitch muscle or other organs throughout development into adulthood. Isolated neonatal and adult ventricular cardiomyocytes uniformly express tdTomato. Taken together, MLC-2v-tdTomato knock-in reporter mouse model described in this article will serve as a valuable tool to study cardiac chamber and skeletal muscle specification during development and regeneration by overcoming the pitfalls of transgenic strategies.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
We used the CRISPR/Cas9 system to knock-in reporter transgenes at the kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) locus and isolated human proximal tubule cell (HK-2) clones. PCR verified targeted knock-in of the luciferase and eGFP reporter at the KIM-1 locus. HK-2-KIM-1 reporter cells responded to various stimuli including hypoxia, cisplatin, and high glucose, indicative of upregulation of KIM-1 expression. We attempted using CRISPR/Cas9 to also engineer the KIM-1 reporter in telomerase-immortalized human RPTEC cells. However, these cells demonstrated an inability to undergo homologous recombination at the target locus. KIM-1-reporter human proximal tubular cells could be valuable tools in drug discovery for molecules inhibiting kidney injury. Additionally, our gene targeting strategy could be used in other cell lines to evaluate the biology of KIM-1 in vitro or in vivo.
Lung epithelial lineages have been difficult to maintain in pure form in vitro, and lineage-specific reporters have proven invaluable for monitoring their emergence from cultured pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). However, reporter constructs for tracking proximal airway lineages generated from PSCs have not been previously available, limiting the characterization of these cells. Here, we engineer mouse and human PSC lines carrying airway secretory lineage reporters that facilitate the tracking, purification, and profiling of this lung subtype. Through bulk and single-cell-based global transcriptomic profiling, we find PSC-derived airway secretory cells are susceptible to phenotypic plasticity exemplified by the tendency to co-express both a proximal airway secretory program as well as an alveolar type 2 cell program, which can be minimized by inhibiting endogenous Wnt signaling. Our results provide global profiles of engineered lung cell fates, a guide for improving their directed differentiation, and a human model of the developing airway.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Lung alveoli, which are unique to air-breathing organisms, have been challenging to generate from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) in part because there are limited model systems available to provide the necessary developmental roadmaps for in vitro differentiation. Here we report the generation of alveolar epithelial type 2 cells (AEC2s), the facultative progenitors of lung alveoli, from human PSCs. Using multicolored fluorescent reporter lines, we track and purify human SFTPC+ alveolar progenitors as they emerge from endodermal precursors in response to stimulation of Wnt and FGF signaling. Purified PSC-derived SFTPC+ cells form monolayered epithelial "alveolospheres" in 3D cultures without the need for mesenchymal support, exhibit self-renewal capacity, and display additional AEC2 functional capacities. Footprint-free CRISPR-based gene correction of PSCs derived from patients carrying a homozygous surfactant mutation (SFTPB) restores surfactant processing in AEC2s. Thus, PSC-derived AEC2s provide a platform for disease modeling and future functional regeneration of the distal lung.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
While innate behaviors are conserved throughout the animal kingdom, it is unknown whether common signaling pathways regulate the development of neuronal populations mediating these behaviors in diverse organisms. Here, we demonstrate that the Wnt/ß-catenin effector Lef1 is required for the differentiation of anxiolytic hypothalamic neurons in zebrafish and mice, although the identity of Lef1-dependent genes and neurons differ between these 2 species. We further show that zebrafish and Drosophila have common Lef1-dependent gene expression in their respective neuroendocrine organs, consistent with a conserved pathway that has diverged in the mouse. Finally, orthologs of Lef1-dependent genes from both zebrafish and mouse show highly correlated hypothalamic expression in marmosets and humans, suggesting co-regulation of 2 parallel anxiolytic pathways in primates. These findings demonstrate that during evolution, a transcription factor can act through multiple mechanisms to generate a common behavioral output, and that Lef1 regulates circuit development that is fundamentally important for mediating anxiety in a wide variety of animal species.
Antibodies are the principal immune effectors that mediate protection against reinfection following viral infection or vaccination. Robust techniques for human mAb isolation have been developed in the last decade. The study of human mAbs isolated from subjects with prior immunity has become a mainstay for rational structure-based, next-generation vaccine development. The plethora of detailed molecular and genetic studies coupling the structure of antigen-antibody complexes with their antiviral function has begun to reveal common principles of critical interactions on which we can build better vaccines and therapeutic antibodies. This review outlines the approaches to isolating and studying human antiviral mAbs and discusses the common principles underlying the basis for their activity. This review also examines progress toward the goal of achieving a comprehensive understanding of the chemical and physical basis for molecular recognition of viral surface proteins in order to build predictive molecular models that can be used for vaccine design.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Inc.
EGF receptor (EGFR) is a critical signaling node throughout life. However, it has not been possible to directly visualize endogenous Egfr in mice. Using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, we appended a fluorescent reporter to the C terminus of the Egfr. Homozygous reporter mice appear normal and EGFR signaling is intact in vitro and in vivo. We detect distinct patterns of Egfr expression in progenitor and differentiated compartments in embryonic and adult mice. Systemic delivery of EGF or amphiregulin results in markedly different patterns of Egfr internalization and trafficking in hepatocytes. In the normal intestine, Egfr localizes to the crypt rather than villus compartment, expression is higher in adjacent epithelium than in intestinal tumors, and following colonic injury expression appears in distinct cell populations in the stroma. This reporter, under control of its endogenous regulatory elements, enables in vivo monitoring of the dynamics of Egfr localization and trafficking in normal and disease states.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Methods enabling kidney-specific gene transfer in adult mice are needed to develop new therapies for kidney disease. We attempted kidney-specific gene transfer following hydrodynamic tail vein injection using the kidney-specific podocin and gamma-glutamyl transferase promoters, but found expression primarily in the liver. In order to achieve kidney-specific transgene expression, we tested direct hydrodynamic injection of a DNA solution into the renal pelvis and found that luciferase expression was strong in the kidney and absent from extra-renal tissues. We observed heterogeneous, low-level transfection of the collecting duct, proximal tubule, distal tubule, interstitial cells, and rarely glomerular cells following injection. To assess renal injury, we performed the renal pelvis injections on uninephrectomised mice and found that their blood urea nitrogen was elevated at two days post-transfer but resolved within two weeks. Although luciferase expression quickly decreased following renal pelvis injection, the use of the piggyBac transposon system improved long-term expression. Immunosuppression with cyclophosphamide stabilised luciferase expression, suggesting immune clearance of the transfected cells occurs in immunocompetent animals. Injection of a transposon expressing erythropoietin raised the haematocrit, indicating that the developed injection technique can elicit a biologic effect in vivo. Hydrodynamic renal pelvis injection enables transposon mediated-kidney specific gene transfer in adult mice.
The comprehensive understanding of cellular signaling pathways remains a challenge due to multiple layers of regulation that may become evident only when the pathway is probed at different levels or critical nodes are eliminated. To discover regulatory mechanisms in canonical WNT signaling, we conducted a systematic forward genetic analysis through reporter-based screens in haploid human cells. Comparison of screens for negative, attenuating and positive regulators of WNT signaling, mediators of R-spondin-dependent signaling and suppressors of constitutive signaling induced by loss of the tumor suppressor adenomatous polyposis coli or casein kinase 1α uncovered new regulatory features at most levels of the pathway. These include a requirement for the transcription factor AP-4, a role for the DAX domain of AXIN2 in controlling β-catenin transcriptional activity, a contribution of glycophosphatidylinositol anchor biosynthesis and glypicans to R-spondin-potentiated WNT signaling, and two different mechanisms that regulate signaling when distinct components of the β-catenin destruction complex are lost. The conceptual and methodological framework we describe should enable the comprehensive understanding of other signaling systems.
Transposons are highly abundant in eukaryotic genomes, but their mobilization must be finely tuned to maintain host organism fitness and allow for transposon propagation. Forty percent of the human genome is comprised of transposable element sequences, and the most abundant cut-and-paste transposons are from the hAT superfamily. We found that the hAT transposase TcBuster from Tribolium castaneum formed filamentous structures, or rodlets, in human tissue culture cells, after gene transfer to adult mice, and ex vivo in cell-free conditions, indicating that host co-factors or cellular structures were not required for rodlet formation. Time-lapsed imaging of GFP-laced rodlets in human cells revealed that they formed quickly in a dynamic process involving fusion and fission. We delayed the availability of the transposon DNA and found that transposition declined after transposase concentrations became high enough for visible transposase rodlets to appear. In combination with earlier findings for maize Ac elements, these results give insight into transposase overproduction inhibition by demonstrating that the appearance of transposase protein structures and the end of active transposition are simultaneous, an effect with implications for genetic engineering and horizontal gene transfer.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research 2016. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.