ABSTRACT: Human pluripotent stem cells provide a versatile platform for regenerative studies, drug testing and disease modeling. That the expression of only four transcription factors, Oct4, Klf4, Sox2 and c-Myc (OKSM), is sufficient for generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from differentiated somatic cells has revolutionized the field and also highlighted the importance of OKSM as targets for genome editing. A number of novel genome-editing systems have been developed recently. In this review, we focus on successful applications of several such systems for generation of iPSCs. In particular, we discuss genome-editing systems based on zinc-finger fusion proteins (ZFs), transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) and an RNA-guided DNA-specific nuclease, Cas9, derived from the bacterial defense system against viruses that utilizes clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR).
Project description:Brief expression of pluripotency-associated factors such as Oct4, Klf4, Sox2 and c-Myc (OKSM), in combination with differentiation-inducing signals, has been reported to trigger transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into other cell types. Here we show that OKSM expression in mouse fibroblasts gives rise to both induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) under conditions previously shown to induce only iNSCs. Fibroblast-derived iNSC colonies silenced retroviral transgenes and reactivated silenced X chromosomes, both hallmarks of pluripotent stem cells. Moreover, lineage tracing with an Oct4-CreER labeling system demonstrated that virtually all iNSC colonies originated from cells transiently expressing Oct4, whereas ablation of Oct4(+) cells prevented iNSC formation. Lastly, an alternative transdifferentiation cocktail that lacks Oct4 and was reportedly unable to support induced pluripotency yielded iPSCs and iNSCs carrying the Oct4-CreER-derived lineage label. Together, these data suggest that iNSC generation from fibroblasts using OKSM and other pluripotency-related reprogramming factors requires passage through a transient iPSC state.
Project description:The generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from differentiated cells following forced expression of OCT4, KLF4, SOX2, and C-MYC (OKSM) is slow and inefficient, suggesting that transcription factors have to overcome somatic barriers that resist cell fate change. Here, we performed an unbiased serial shRNA enrichment screen to identify potent repressors of somatic cell reprogramming into iPSCs. This effort uncovered the protein modifier SUMO2 as one of the strongest roadblocks to iPSC formation. Depletion of SUMO2 both enhances and accelerates reprogramming, yielding transgene-independent, chimera-competent iPSCs after as little as 38 hr of OKSM expression. We further show that the SUMO2 pathway acts independently of exogenous C-MYC expression and in parallel with small-molecule enhancers of reprogramming. Importantly, suppression of SUMO2 also promotes the generation of human iPSCs. Together, our results reveal sumoylation as a crucial post-transcriptional mechanism that resists the acquisition of pluripotency from fibroblasts using defined factors.
Project description:Central nervous system (CNS) disorders have a social and economic burden on modern societies, and the development of effective therapies is urgently required. Gene editing may prevent or cure a disease by inducing genetic changes at endogenous loci. Genome editing includes not only the insertion, deletion or replacement of nucleotides, but also the modulation of gene expression and epigenetic editing. Emerging technologies based on ZFs, TALEs, and CRISPR/Cas systems have extended the boundaries of genome manipulation and promoted genome editing approaches to the level of promising strategies for counteracting genetic diseases. The parallel development of efficient delivery systems has also increased our access to the CNS. In this review, we describe the various tools available for genome editing and summarize in vivo preclinical studies of CNS genome editing, whilst considering current limitations and alternative approaches to overcome some bottlenecks.
Project description:Cellular reprogramming from somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can be achieved through forced expression of the transcription factors Oct4, Klf4, Sox2, and c-Myc (OKSM) [1-4]. These factors, in combination with environmental cues, induce a stable intrinsic pluripotency network that confers indefinite self-renewal capacity on iPSCs. In addition to Oct4 and Sox2, the homeodomain-containing transcription factor Nanog is an integral part of the pluripotency network [5-11]. Although Nanog expression is not required for the maintenance of pluripotent stem cells, it has been reported to be essential for the establishment of both embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from blastocysts and iPSCs from somatic cells [10, 12]. Here we revisit the role of Nanog in direct reprogramming. Surprisingly, we find that Nanog is dispensable for iPSC formation under optimized culture conditions. We further document that Nanog-deficient iPSCs are transcriptionally highly similar to wild-type iPSCs and support the generation of teratomas and chimeric mice. Lastly, we provide evidence that the presence of ascorbic acid in the culture media is critical for overcoming the previously observed reprogramming block of Nanog knockout cells.
Project description:Despite intensive efforts to optimize the process, reprogramming differentiated cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) remains inefficient. The most common combination of transcription factors employed comprises OCT4, KLF4, SOX2, and MYC (OKSM). If MYC is omitted (OKS), reprogramming efficiency is reduced further. Cells must overcome several obstacles to reach the pluripotent state, one of which is apoptosis. To directly determine how extensively apoptosis limits reprogramming, we exploited mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) lacking the two essential mediators of apoptosis, BAK and BAX. Our results show that reprogramming is enhanced in MEFs deficient in BAK and BAX, but only when MYC is part of the reprogramming cocktail. Thus, the propensity for Myc overexpression to elicit apoptosis creates a significant roadblock to reprogramming under OKSM conditions. Our results suggest that blocking apoptosis during reprogramming may enhance the derivation of iPSCs for research and therapeutic purposes.
Project description:Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are a powerful tool for disease modeling. They are routinely generated from healthy donors and patients from multiple cell types at different developmental stages. However, reprogramming leukemias is an extremely inefficient process. Few studies generated iPSCs from primary chronic myeloid leukemias, but iPSC generation from acute myeloid or lymphoid leukemias (ALL) has not been achieved. We attempted to generate iPSCs from different subtypes of B-ALL to address the developmental impact of leukemic fusion genes. OKSM(L)-expressing mono/polycistronic-, retroviral/lentiviral/episomal-, and Sendai virus vector-based reprogramming strategies failed to render iPSCs in vitro and in vivo. Addition of transcriptomic-epigenetic reprogramming "boosters" also failed to generate iPSCs from B cell blasts and B-ALL lines, and when iPSCs emerged they lacked leukemic fusion genes, demonstrating non-leukemic myeloid origin. Conversely, MLL-AF4-overexpressing hematopoietic stem cells/B progenitors were successfully reprogrammed, indicating that B cell origin and leukemic fusion gene were not reprogramming barriers. Global transcriptome/DNA methylome profiling suggested a developmental/differentiation refractoriness of MLL-rearranged B-ALL to reprogramming into pluripotency.
Project description:The reprogramming of somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) upon overexpression of OCT4, KLF4, SOX2 and c-MYC (OKSM) provides a powerful system to interrogate basic mechanisms of cell fate change. However, iPSC formation with standard methods is typically protracted and inefficient, resulting in heterogeneous cell populations. We show that exposure of OKSM-expressing cells to both ascorbic acid and a GSK3-? inhibitor (AGi) facilitates more synchronous and rapid iPSC formation from several mouse cell types. AGi treatment restored the ability of refractory cell populations to yield iPSC colonies, and it attenuated the activation of developmental regulators commonly observed during the reprogramming process. Moreover, AGi supplementation gave rise to chimera-competent iPSCs after as little as 48 h of OKSM expression. Our results offer a simple modification to the reprogramming protocol, facilitating iPSC induction at unparalleled efficiencies and enabling dissection of the underlying mechanisms in more homogeneous cell populations.
Project description:New technologies of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and genome editing have emerged, allowing for the development of autologous transfusion therapies. We previously demonstrated definitive ?-globin production from human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived erythroid cell generation via hemangioblast-like ES-sacs. In this study, we demonstrated normal ?-globin protein production from biallelic corrected sickle cell disease (SCD) iPSCs. We optimized our ES/iPS-sac method for feeder cell-free hESC maintenance followed by serum-free ES-sac generation, which is preferred for electroporation-based genome editing. Surprisingly, the optimized protocol improved yields of ES-sacs (25.9-fold), hematopoietic-like spherical cells (14.8-fold), and erythroid cells (5.8-fold), compared with our standard ES-sac generation. We performed viral vector-free gene correction in SCD iPSCs, resulting in one clone with monoallelic and one clone with biallelic correction, and using this serum-free iPS-sac culture, corrected iPSC-generated erythroid cells with normal ?-globin, confirmed at DNA and protein levels. Our serum-free ES/iPS-sac protocol with gene correction will be useful to develop regenerative transfusion therapies for SCD.
Project description:We have developed an improved episomal vector system for efficient generation of integration-free induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. More recently, we reported that the use of an optimized CRISPR-Cas9 system together with a double-cut donor increases homology-directed repair-mediated precise gene knockin efficiency by 5- to 10-fold. Here, we report the integration of blood cell reprogramming and genome editing in a single step. We found that expression of Cas9 and KLF4 using a single vector significantly increases genome editing efficiency, and addition of SV40LT further enhances knockin efficiency. After these optimizations, genome editing efficiency of up to 40% in the bulk iPSC population can be achieved without any selection. Most of the edited cells show characteristics of iPSCs and genome integrity. Our improved approach, which integrates reprogramming and genome editing, should expedite both basic research and clinical applications of precision and regenerative medicine.
Project description:Conventional primed human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) exhibit molecular and biological characteristics distinct from pluripotent stem cells in the naïve state. Although naïve pluripotent stem cells show much higher levels of self-renewal ability and multidifferentiation capacity, it is unknown whether naïve iPSCs can be generated directly from patient somatic cells and will be superior to primed iPSCs. In the present study, we used an established 5i/L/FA system to directly reprogram fibroblasts of a patient with ?-thalassemia into transgene-free naïve iPSCs with molecular signatures of ground-state pluripotency. Furthermore, these naïve iPSCs can efficiently produce cross-species chimeras. Importantly, using the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 nuclease genome editing system, these naïve iPSCs exhibit significantly improved gene-correction efficiencies compared with the corresponding primed iPSCs. Furthermore, human naïve iPSCs could be directly generated from noninvasively collected urinary cells, which are easily acquired and thus represent an excellent cell resource for further clinical trials. Therefore, our findings demonstrate the feasibility and superiority of using patient-specific iPSCs in the naïve state for disease modeling, gene editing, and future clinical therapy.In the present study, transgene-free naïve induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) directly converted from the fibroblasts of a patient with ?-thalassemia in a defined culture system were generated. These naïve iPSCs, which show ground-state pluripotency, exhibited significantly improved single-cell cloning ability, recovery capacity, and gene-targeting efficiency compared with conventional primed iPSCs. These results provide an improved strategy for personalized treatment of genetic diseases such as ?-thalassemia.