Comparative proteomic analysis of supportive and unsupportive extracellular matrix substrates for human embryonic stem cell maintenance.
ABSTRACT: Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are pluripotent cells that have indefinite replicative potential and the ability to differentiate into derivatives of all three germ layers. hESCs are conventionally grown on mitotically inactivated mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) or feeder cells of human origin. In addition, feeder-free culture systems can be used to support hESCs, in which the adhesive substrate plays a key role in the regulation of stem cell self-renewal or differentiation. Extracellular matrix (ECM) components define the microenvironment of the niche for many types of stem cells, but their role in the maintenance of hESCs remains poorly understood. We used a proteomic approach to characterize in detail the composition and interaction networks of ECMs that support the growth of self-renewing hESCs. Whereas many ECM components were produced by supportive and unsupportive MEF and human placental stromal fibroblast feeder cells, some proteins were only expressed in supportive ECM, suggestive of a role in the maintenance of pluripotency. We show that identified candidate molecules can support attachment and self-renewal of hESCs alone (fibrillin-1) or in combination with fibronectin (perlecan, fibulin-2), in the absence of feeder cells. Together, these data highlight the importance of specific ECM interactions in the regulation of hESC phenotype and provide a resource for future studies of hESC self-renewal.
Project description:The cellular microenvironment comprises soluble factors, support cells, and components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) that combine to regulate cellular behavior. Pluripotent stem cells utilize interactions between support cells and soluble factors in the microenvironment to assist in the maintenance of self-renewal and the process of differentiation. However, the ECM also plays a significant role in shaping the behavior of human pluripotent stem cells, including embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells. Moreover, it has recently been observed that deposited factors in a hESC-conditioned matrix have the potential to contribute to the reprogramming of metastatic melanoma cells. Therefore, the ECM component of the pluripotent stem cell microenvironment necessitates further analysis. In this study we first compared the self-renewal and differentiation properties of hESCs grown on Matrigel™ pre-conditioned by hESCs to those on unconditioned Matrigel™. We determined that culture on conditioned Matrigel™ prevents differentiation when supportive growth factors are removed from the culture medium. To investigate and identify factors potentially responsible for this beneficial effect, we performed a defined SILAC MS-based proteomics screen of hESC-conditioned Matrigel™. From this proteomics screen, we identified over 80 extracellular proteins in matrix conditioned by hESCs and induced pluripotent stem cells. These included matrix-associated factors that participate in key stem cell pluripotency regulatory pathways, such as Nodal/Activin and canonical Wnt signaling. This work represents the first investigation of stem-cell-derived matrices from human pluripotent stem cells using a defined SILAC MS-based proteomics approach.
Project description:The development of reproducible methods for deriving human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines in compliance with good manufacturing practice (GMP) is essential for the development of hESC-based therapies. Although significant progress has been made toward the development of chemically defined conditions for the maintenance and differentiation of hESCs, efficient derivation of new hESCs requires the use of fibroblast feeder cells. However, GMP-grade feeder cell lines validated for hESC derivation are not readily available.We derived a fibroblast cell line (NclFed1A) from human foreskin in compliance with GMP standards. Consent was obtained to use the cells for the production of hESCs and to generate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). We compared the line with a variety of other cell lines for its ability to support derivation and self-renewal of hESCs.NclFed1A supports efficient rates (33%) of hESC colony formation after explantation of the inner cell mass (ICM) of human blastocysts. This compared favorably with two mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cell lines. NclFed1A also compared favorably with commercially available foreskin fibroblasts and MEFs in promoting proliferation and pluripotency of a number of existing and widely used hESCs. The ability of NclFed1A to maintain self-renewal remained undiminished for up to 28 population doublings from the master cell bank.The human fibroblast line Ncl1Fed1A, produced in compliance with GMP standards and qualified for derivation and maintenance of hESCs, is a useful resource for the advancement of progress toward hESC-based therapies in regenerative medicine.
Project description:Human embryonic stem cell (hESC) culture is routinely performed using inactivated mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) as a feeder cell layer (FL). Although these cells maintain pluripotency of hESCs, the molecular basis for this is unknown. Objectives of this study were to determine whether timing between MEF inactivation and their use as a FL influenced hESC growth and differentiation, and to begin defining the mechanism(s) involved. hESCs were plated on MEFs prepared 1 (MEF-1), 4 (MEF-4), and 7 (MEF-7) days earlier. hESC colony morphology and Oct3/4 expression levels were evaluated to determine the influence of different FLs. Significant enhancement of hESC growth (self-renewal) was observed on MEF-1 compared with MEF-4 and/or MEF-7. Conditioned media (CM) collected from MEF-1 supported significantly better hESC growth in a FL-free system compared to MEF-7 CM. Effects of MEFs on hESC growth were not caused by differences in cell density or viability, although indications of apoptosis were observed in MEF-7. Scanning electron microscopy demonstrated that MEF-7 were morphologically distinct from MEF-1 and MEF-4. Microarray analysis identified 19 genes related to apoptosis with significantly different levels of expression between MEF-1 and MEF-7. Several differentially expressed RNAs had gene ontology classifications associated with extracellular matrix (ECM) structural constituents and growth factors. Because members of Wnt signaling pathway were identified in the array analysis, we examined the ability of the Wnt1 CM and secreted frizzled-related proteins to affect hESC growth and differentiation. The addition of Wnt1 CM to both MEF-1 and MEF-7 significantly increased the number of undifferentiated colonies, while the addition of Sfrps promoted differentiation. Together, these results suggest that microenvironment, ECM, and soluble factors expressed by MEF-1 are significantly better at maintaining self-renewal and pluripotency of hESCs. Our findings have important implications in the optimization of hESC culture when MEFs are used as FL or CM is used in FL-free culture.
Project description:Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have great potential for regenerative medicine as they have self-regenerative and pluripotent properties. Feeder cells or their conditioned medium are required for the maintenance of hESC in the undifferentiated state. Feeder cells have been postulated to produce growth factors and extracellular molecules for maintaining hESC in culture. The present study has aimed at identifying these molecules. The gene expression of supportive feeder cells, namely human foreskin fibroblast (hFF-1) and non-supportive human lung fibroblast (WI-38) was analyzed by microarray and 445 genes were found to be differentially expressed. Gene ontology analysis showed that 20.9% and 15.5% of the products of these genes belonged to the extracellular region and regulation of transcription activity, respectively. After validation of selected differentially expressed genes in both human and mouse feeder cells, transforming growth factor ? (TGF?) was chosen for functional study. The results demonstrated that knockdown or protein neutralization of TGF? in hFF-1 led to increased expression of early differentiation markers and lower attachment rates of hESC. More importantly, TGF? maintained pluripotent gene expression levels, attachment rates and pluripotency by the in vitro differentiation of H9 under non-supportive conditions. TGF? treatment activated the p44/42 MAPK pathway but not the PI3K/Akt pathway. In addition, TGF? treatment increased the expression of pluripotent markers, NANOG and SSEA-3 but had no effects on the proliferation of hESCs. This study of the functional role of TGF? provides insights for the development of clinical grade hESCs for therapeutic applications.
Project description:Despite progress in developing defined conditions for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) cultures, little is known about the cell-surface receptors that are activated under conditions supportive of hESC self-renewal. A simultaneous interrogation of 42 receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) in hESCs following stimulation with mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) conditioned medium (CM) revealed rapid and prominent tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor (IR) and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1R); less prominent tyrosine phosphorylation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family members, including ERBB2 and ERBB3; and trace phosphorylation of fibroblast growth factor receptors. Intense IGF1R and IR phosphorylation occurred in the absence of MEF conditioning (NCM) and was attributable to high concentrations of insulin in the proprietary KnockOut Serum Replacer (KSR). Inhibition of IGF1R using a blocking antibody or lentivirus-delivered shRNA reduced hESC self-renewal and promoted differentiation, while disruption of ERBB2 signaling with the selective inhibitor AG825 severely inhibited hESC proliferation and promoted apoptosis. A simple defined medium containing an IGF1 analog, heregulin-1beta (a ligand for ERBB2/ERBB3), fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2), and activin A supported long-term growth of multiple hESC lines. These studies identify previously unappreciated RTKs that support hESC proliferation and self-renewal, and provide a rationally designed medium for the growth and maintenance of pluripotent hESCs.
Project description:Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and NPY receptors are widely expressed in various organs and cell types and have been shown to have pleiotropic functions. However, their presence or role in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) remains unknown. We now show that undifferentiated hESCs primarily express NPY and its Y1 and Y5 receptors. Inhibition of NPY signalling using either the selective NPY Y1 or Y5 receptor antagonist reduces the maintenance of self-renewal and proliferation of undifferentiated hESCs. We also provide compelling evidence that exogenous NPY supports the long-term growth of undifferentiated hESCs in the absence of feeder cell factors using only knockout serum replacement media. Further, NPY facilitates the use of chemically defined medium made up of N2/B27 supplement and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) for hESC feeder-free culture. Our results indicate that both Y1 and Y5 receptors appear to be involved in the NPY-mediated activation of AKT/protein kinase B and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) in hESCs. Notably, only Y1 receptor, but not Y5 receptor, is responsible for the NPY-induced activation of cAMP-response element binding (CREB) in hESCs. These results provide the first evidence that NPY and its Y1 and Y5 receptors have potential role in maintaining hESC self-renewal and pluripotency. We demonstrate the underlying importance of NPY signalling and its usefulness in the development of a defined and xeno-free culture condition for the large-scale propagation of undifferentiated hESCs.
Project description:Due to their extensive self-renewal and multilineage differentiation capacity, human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have great potential for studying developmental biology, disease modeling, and developing cell replacement therapy. The first hESC line was generated in 1998 by culturing inner cell mass (ICM) cells isolated from human blastocysts using an immunosurgery technique. Since then, many techniques including mechanical ICM isolation, laser dissection, and whole embryo culture have been used to derive hESC lines. However, the hESC derivation efficiency remains low, usually less than 50%, and it requires a large number of human embryos to derive a significant number of hESC lines. Due to a shortage of and restricted access to human embryos, a novel approach with better hESC derivation efficiency is badly needed to decrease the number of embryos used.We hypothesized that the low hESC derivation efficiency might be due to extensive proliferation of trophoblast (TE) cells which could interfere with ICM proliferation. We therefore developed a methodology to minimize TE cell proliferation by culturing ICM in a feeder-free system for 3 days before transferring them onto feeder cells.This minimized trophoblast cell proliferation (MTP) technique could be successfully used to derive hESCs from normal, abnormal, and frozen-thawed embryos with better derivation efficiency of more than 50% (range 50-100%; median 70%).We successfully developed a better hESC derivation methodology using the "MTP" culture system. This methodology can be effectively used to derive hESCs from both normal and abnormal embryos under feeder-free conditions with higher efficiency when compared with other methodologies. With this methodology, large-scale production of clinical-grade hESCs is feasible.
Project description:Signal transduction pathways play diverse, context-dependent roles in vertebrate development. In studies of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), conflicting reports claim Wnt/?-catenin signaling promotes either self-renewal or differentiation. We use a sensitive reporter to establish that Wnt/?-catenin signaling is not active during hESC self-renewal. Inhibiting this pathway over multiple passages has no detrimental effect on hESC maintenance, whereas activating signaling results in loss of self-renewal and induction of mesoderm lineage genes. Following exposure to pathway agonists, hESCs exhibit a delay in activation of ?-catenin signaling, which led us to postulate that Wnt/?-catenin signaling is actively repressed during self-renewal. In support of this hypothesis, we demonstrate that OCT4 represses ?-catenin signaling during self-renewal and that targeted knockdown of OCT4 activates ?-catenin signaling in hESCs. Using a fluorescent reporter of ?-catenin signaling in live hESCs, we observe that the reporter is activated in a very heterogeneous manner in response to stimulation with Wnt ligand. Sorting cells on the basis of their fluorescence reveals that hESCs with elevated ?-catenin signaling express higher levels of differentiation markers. Together these data support a dominant role for Wnt/?-catenin signaling in the differentiation rather than self-renewal of hESCs.
Project description:To reveal the functional intrinsic niche of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) we examined the production of basement membrane (BM) proteins and the presence of their receptors in feeder-free cell culture conditions. In addition, we investigated binding of hESCs to purified human BM proteins and identified the receptors mediating these contacts. Also, we tested whether purified human laminin (Lm) isoforms have a role in hESC self-renewal and growth in short-term cultures. The results show that hESCs synthesize Lm alpha(1) and Lm alpha(5) chains together with Lm beta(1) and gamma(1) chains suggesting the production of Lms-111 and -511 into the culture medium and deposits on cells. hESCs contain functionally important integrin (Int) subunits, Int beta(1), alpha(3), alpha(6), alpha(5), beta(5) and alpha(V), as well as the Lm alpha(5) receptor, Lutheran (Lu) glycoprotein and its truncated form, basal cell adhesion molecule (B-CAM). In cell adhesion experiments, Int beta(1) was crucial for adhesion to most of the purified human BM proteins. Lu/B-CAM mediated adhesion to Lm-511 together with Int alpha(3)beta(1), and was essential for the adhesion of hESCs to embryonic feeder cells. Adhesion to Lm-411 was mediated by Int alpha(6)beta(1). Lm-511 supported hESC growth in defined medium equally well as Matrigel. These results provide consequential information of the biological role of BM in hESCs, warranting further investigation of BM biology of human pluripotent stem cells.
Project description:Substrates used to culture human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are typically 2-dimensional (2-D) in nature, with limited ability to recapitulate in vivo-like 3-dimensional (3-D) microenvironments. We examined critical determinants of hESC self-renewal in poly-d-lysine-pretreated synthetic polymer-based substrates with variable microgeometries, including planar 2-D films, macroporous 3-D sponges, and microfibrous 3-D fiber mats. Completely synthetic 2-D substrates and 3-D macroporous scaffolds failed to retain hESCs or support self-renewal or differentiation. However, synthetic microfibrous geometries made from electrospun polymer fibers were found to promote cell adhesion, viability, proliferation, self-renewal, and directed differentiation of hESCs in the absence of any exogenous matrix proteins. Mechanistic studies of hESC adhesion within microfibrous scaffolds indicated that enhanced cell confinement in such geometries increased cell-cell contacts and altered colony organization. Moreover, the microfibrous scaffolds also induced hESCs to deposit and organize extracellular matrix proteins like laminin such that the distribution of laminin was more closely associated with the cells than the Matrigel treatment, where the laminin remained associated with the coated fibers. The production of and binding to laminin was critical for formation of viable hESC colonies on synthetic fibrous scaffolds. Thus, synthetic substrates with specific 3-D microgeometries can support hESC colony formation, self-renewal, and directed differentiation to multiple lineages while obviating the stringent needs for complex, exogenous matrices. Similar scaffolds could serve as tools for developmental biology studies in 3-D and for stem cell differentiation in situ and transplantation using defined humanized conditions.