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PURPOSE OF REVIEW - The goal of this review is to highlight the potential of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based modeling as a tool for studying human cardiovascular diseases. We present some of the current cardiovascular disease models utilizing genome editing and patient-derived iPSCs.
RECENT FINDINGS - The incorporation of genome-editing and iPSC technologies provides an innovative research platform, providing novel insight into human cardiovascular disease at molecular, cellular, and functional level. In addition, genome editing in diseased iPSC lines holds potential for personalized regenerative therapies. The study of human cardiovascular disease has been revolutionized by cellular reprogramming and genome editing discoveries. These exceptional technologies provide an opportunity to generate human cell cardiovascular disease models and enable therapeutic strategy development in a dish. We anticipate these technologies to improve our understanding of cardiovascular disease pathophysiology leading to optimal treatment for heart diseases in the future.
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.
OBJECTIVE - Homozygous loss-of-function mutations in the gene coding for the homeobox transcription factor (TF) PDX1 leads to pancreatic agenesis, whereas heterozygous mutations can cause Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young 4 (MODY4). Although the function of Pdx1 is well studied in pre-clinical models during insulin-producing β-cell development and homeostasis, it remains elusive how this TF controls human pancreas development by regulating a downstream transcriptional program. Also, comparative studies of PDX1 binding patterns in pancreatic progenitors and adult β-cells have not been conducted so far. Furthermore, many studies reported the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and T2DM, and it has been shown that islet enhancers are enriched in T2DM-associated SNPs. Whether regions, harboring T2DM-associated SNPs are PDX1 bound and active at the pancreatic progenitor stage has not been reported so far.
METHODS - In this study, we have generated a novel induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) line that efficiently differentiates into human pancreatic progenitors (PPs). Furthermore, PDX1 and H3K27ac chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) was used to identify PDX1 transcriptional targets and active enhancer and promoter regions. To address potential differences in the function of PDX1 during development and adulthood, we compared PDX1 binding profiles from PPs and adult islets. Moreover, combining ChIP-seq and GWAS meta-analysis data we identified T2DM-associated SNPs in PDX1 binding sites and active chromatin regions.
RESULTS - ChIP-seq for PDX1 revealed a total of 8088 PDX1-bound regions that map to 5664 genes in iPSC-derived PPs. The PDX1 target regions include important pancreatic TFs, such as PDX1 itself, RFX6, HNF1B, and MEIS1, which were activated during the differentiation process as revealed by the active chromatin mark H3K27ac and mRNA expression profiling, suggesting that auto-regulatory feedback regulation maintains PDX1 expression and initiates a pancreatic TF program. Remarkably, we identified several PDX1 target genes that have not been reported in the literature in human so far, including RFX3, required for ciliogenesis and endocrine differentiation in mouse, and the ligand of the Notch receptor DLL1, which is important for endocrine induction and tip-trunk patterning. The comparison of PDX1 profiles from PPs and adult human islets identified sets of stage-specific target genes, associated with early pancreas development and adult β-cell function, respectively. Furthermore, we found an enrichment of T2DM-associated SNPs in active chromatin regions from iPSC-derived PPs. Two of these SNPs fall into PDX1 occupied sites that are located in the intronic regions of TCF7L2 and HNF1B. Both of these genes are key transcriptional regulators of endocrine induction and mutations in cis-regulatory regions predispose to diabetes.
CONCLUSIONS - Our data provide stage-specific target genes of PDX1 during in vitro differentiation of stem cells into pancreatic progenitors that could be useful to identify pathways and molecular targets that predispose for diabetes. In addition, we show that T2DM-associated SNPs are enriched in active chromatin regions at the pancreatic progenitor stage, suggesting that the susceptibility to T2DM might originate from imperfect execution of a β-cell developmental program.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier GmbH.. All rights reserved.
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a pediatric disorder of dysregulated growth and differentiation caused by loss of function mutations in either the TSC1 or TSC2 genes, which regulate mTOR kinase activity. To study aberrations of early development in TSC, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells using dermal fibroblasts obtained from patients with TSC. During validation, we found that stem cells generated from TSC patients had a very high rate of integration of the reprogramming plasmid containing a shRNA against TP53. We also found that loss of one allele of TSC2 in human fibroblasts is sufficient to increase p53 levels and impair stem cell reprogramming. Increased p53 was also observed in TSC2 heterozygous and homozygous mutant human stem cells, suggesting that the interactions between TSC2 and p53 are consistent across cell types and gene dosage. These results support important contributions of TSC2 heterozygous and homozygous mutant cells to the pathogenesis of TSC and the important role of p53 during reprogramming.
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the result of complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors. Two chemically distinct environmental stressors relevant to PD are the metal manganese and the pesticide rotenone. Both are thought to exert neurotoxicity at least in part via oxidative stress resulting from impaired mitochondrial activity. Identifying shared mechanism of action may reveal clues towards an understanding of the mechanisms underlying PD pathogenesis. Here we compare the effects of manganese and rotenone in human-induced pluripotent stem cells-derived postmitotic mesencephalic dopamine neurons by assessing several different oxidative stress endpoints. Manganese, but not rotenone caused a concentration and time-dependent increase in intracellular reactive oxygen/nitrogen species measured by quantifying the fluorescence of oxidized chloromethyl 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCF) assay. In contrast, rotenone but not manganese caused an increase in cellular isoprostane levels, an indicator of lipid peroxidation. Manganese and rotenone both caused an initial decrease in cellular reduced glutathione; however, glutathione levels remained low in neurons treated with rotenone for 24 h but recovered in manganese-exposed cells. Neurite length, a sensitive indicator of overall neuronal health was adversely affected by rotenone, but not manganese. Thus, our observations suggest that the cellular oxidative stress evoked by these 2 agents is distinct yielding unique oxidative stress signatures across outcome measures. The protective effect of rasagiline, a compound used in the clinic for PD, had negligible impact on any of oxidative stress outcome measures except a subtle significant decrease in manganese-dependent production of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species detected by the DCF assay.
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Toxicology. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: email@example.com.
In a recent study, we found that blocking the protein kinase ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) with the small molecule inhibitor (SMI) KU-55933 can completely abrogate Mn-induced phosphorylation of p53 at serine 15 (p-p53) in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-differentiated striatal neuroprogenitors. However, in the immortalized mouse striatal progenitor cell line STHdh, a concentration of KU55933 far exceeding its IC for ATM was required to inhibit Mn-induced p-p53. This suggested an alternative signaling system redundant with ATM kinase for activating p53 in this cell line- one that was altered by KU55933 at these higher concentrations (i.e. mTORC1, DNApk, PI3K). To test the hypothesis that one or more of these signaling pathways contributed to Mn-induced p-p53, we utilized a set of SMIs (e.g. NU7441 and LY294002) known to block DNApk, PI3K, and mTORC1 at distinct concentrations. We found that the SMIs inhibit Mn-induced p-p53 expression near the expected IC for PI3K, versus other known targets. We hypothesized that inhibiting PI3K reduces intracellular Mn and thereby decreases activation of p53 by Mn. Using the cellular fura-2 manganese extraction assay (CFMEA), we determined that KU55933/60019, NU7441, and LY294002 (at concentrations near their IC for PI3K) all decrease intracellular Mn (∼50%) after a dual, 24-h Mn and SMI exposure. Many pathways are activated by Mn aside from p-p53, including AKT and mTOR pathways. Thus, we explored the activation of these pathways by Mn in STHdh cells as well as the effects of other pathway inhibitors. p-AKT and p-S6 activation by Mn is almost completely blocked upon addition of NU7441(5μM) or LY294002(7μM), supporting PI3K's upstream role in the AKT/mTOR pathway. We also investigated whether PI3K inhibition blocks Mn uptake in other cell lines. LY294002 exposure did not reduce Mn uptake in ST14A, Neuro2A, HEK293, MEF, or hiPSC-derived neuroprogenitors. Next, we sought to determine whether inhibition of PI3K blocked p53 phosphorylation by directly blocking an unknown PI3K/p53 interaction or indirectly reducing intracellular Mn, decreasing p-p53 expression. In-Cell Western and CFMEA experiments using multiple concentrations of Mn exposures demonstrated that intracellular Mn levels directly correlated with p-p53 expression with or without addition of LY294002. Finally, we examined whether PI3K inhibition was able to block Mn-induced p-p53 activity in hiPSC-derived striatal neuroprogenitors. As expected, LY294002 does not block Mn-induced p-p53 as PI3K inhibition is unable to reduce Mn net uptake in this cell line, suggesting the effect of LY294002 on Mn uptake is relatively specific to the STHdh mouse striatal cell line.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Due to their ability to limitlessly proliferate and specialize into almost any cell type, human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) offer an unprecedented opportunity to generate human brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs), which compose the blood-brain barrier (BBB), for research purposes. Unfortunately, the time, expense, and expertise required to differentiate iPSCs to purified BMECs precludes their widespread use. Here, we report the use of a defined medium that accelerates the differentiation of iPSCs to BMECs while achieving comparable performance to BMECs produced by established methods.
METHODS - Induced pluripotent stem cells were seeded at defined densities and differentiated to BMECs using defined medium termed E6. Resultant purified BMEC phenotypes were assessed through trans-endothelial electrical resistance (TEER), fluorescein permeability, and P-glycoprotein and MRP family efflux transporter activity. Expression of endothelial markers and their signature tight junction proteins were confirmed using immunocytochemistry. The influence of co-culture with astrocytes and pericytes on purified BMECs was assessed via TEER measurements. The robustness of the differentiation method was confirmed across independent iPSC lines.
RESULTS - The use of E6 medium, coupled with updated culture methods, reduced the differentiation time of iPSCs to BMECs from thirteen to 8 days. E6-derived BMECs expressed GLUT-1, claudin-5, occludin, PECAM-1, and VE-cadherin and consistently achieved TEER values exceeding 2500 Ω × cm across multiple iPSC lines, with a maximum TEER value of 4678 ± 49 Ω × cm and fluorescein permeability below 1.95 × 10 cm/s. E6-derived BMECs maintained TEER above 1000 Ω × cm for a minimum of 8 days and showed no statistical difference in efflux transporter activity compared to BMECs differentiated by conventional means. The method was also found to support long-term stability of BMECs harboring biallelic PARK2 mutations associated with Parkinson's Disease. Finally, BMECs differentiated using E6 medium responded to inductive cues from astrocytes and pericytes and achieved a maximum TEER value of 6635 ± 315 Ω × cm, which to our knowledge is the highest reported in vitro TEER value to date.
CONCLUSIONS - Given the accelerated differentiation, equivalent performance, and reduced cost to produce BMECs, our updated methods should make iPSC-derived in vitro BBB models more accessible for a wide variety of applications.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), despite their efficacy as anticancer therapeutics, are associated with cardiovascular side effects ranging from induced arrhythmias to heart failure. We used human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs), generated from 11 healthy individuals and 2 patients receiving cancer treatment, to screen U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved TKIs for cardiotoxicities by measuring alterations in cardiomyocyte viability, contractility, electrophysiology, calcium handling, and signaling. With these data, we generated a "cardiac safety index" to reflect the cardiotoxicities of existing TKIs. TKIs with low cardiac safety indices exhibit cardiotoxicity in patients. We also derived endothelial cells (hiPSC-ECs) and cardiac fibroblasts (hiPSC-CFs) to examine cell type-specific cardiotoxicities. Using high-throughput screening, we determined that vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2)/platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)-inhibiting TKIs caused cardiotoxicity in hiPSC-CMs, hiPSC-ECs, and hiPSC-CFs. With phosphoprotein analysis, we determined that VEGFR2/PDGFR-inhibiting TKIs led to a compensatory increase in cardioprotective insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling in hiPSC-CMs. Up-regulating cardioprotective signaling with exogenous insulin or IGF1 improved hiPSC-CM viability during cotreatment with cardiotoxic VEGFR2/PDGFR-inhibiting TKIs. Thus, hiPSC-CMs can be used to screen for cardiovascular toxicities associated with anticancer TKIs, and the results correlate with clinical phenotypes. This approach provides unexpected insights, as illustrated by our finding that toxicity can be alleviated via cardioprotective insulin/IGF signaling.
Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.