Dynamic Trk and G Protein Signalings Regulate Dopaminergic Neurodifferentiation in Human Trophoblast Stem Cells.
ABSTRACT: Understanding the mechanisms in the generation of neural stem cells from pluripotent stem cells is a fundamental step towards successful management of neurodegenerative diseases in translational medicine. Albeit all-trans retinoic acid (RA) has been associated with axon outgrowth and nerve regeneration, the maintenance of differentiated neurons, the association with degenerative disease like Parkinson's disease, and its regulatory molecular mechanism from pluripotent stem cells to neural stem cells remain fragmented. We have previously reported that RA is capable of differentiation of human trophoblast stem cells to dopamine (DA) committed progenitor cells. Intracranial implantation of such neural progenitor cells into the 6-OHDA-lesioned substantia nigra pars compacta successfully regenerates dopaminergic neurons and integrity of the nigrostriatal pathway, ameliorating the behavioral deficits in the Parkinson's disease rat model. Here, we demonstrated a dynamic molecular network in systematic analysis by addressing spatiotemporal molecular expression, intracellular protein-protein interaction and inhibition, imaging study, and genetic expression to explore the regulatory mechanisms of RA induction in the differentiation of human trophoblast stem cells to DA committed progenitor cells. We focused on the tyrosine receptor kinase (Trk), G proteins, canonical Wnt2B/?-catenin, genomic and non-genomic RA signaling transductions with Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) gene expression as the differentiation endpoint. We found that at the early stage, integration of TrkA and G protein signalings aims for axonogenesis and morphogenesis, involving the novel RXR?/G?q/11 and RAR?/G? signaling pathways. While at the later stage, five distinct signaling pathways together with epigenetic histone modifications emerged to regulate expression of TH, a precursor of dopamine. RA induction generated DA committed progenitor cells in one day. Our results provided substantial mechanistic evidence that human trophoblast stem cell-derived neural stem cells can potentially be used for neurobiological study, drug discovery, and as an alternative source of cell-based therapy in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease.
Project description:Stem cell-based replacement therapy has emerged as a potential strategy to alleviate specific features of movement disorder in Parkinson's disease. However, the current strategy to produce dopamine (DA) neurons from embryonic stem cells has many limitations, including the difficulty of generating DA neurons with high yields. Further insights into the mechanisms that control the neurogenesis of DA neurons will reduce or mitigate such limitations. It is well established that the ventral midbrain (vMB) contains the neurogenic niche that produces DA neurons. However, it is unclear how the microenvironment within this niche controls DA neurogenesis. Here, we show that beta-catenin controls DA neurogenesis by maintaining the integrity of the neurogenic niche and the progression from progenitors to DA neurons. Using conditional gene targeting approaches, we show that regional deletion of beta-catenin in the vMB by using Shh-Cre disrupts adherent junctions of progenitors and the integrity of radial glia in the vMB, which leads to a severe reduction in DA neurogenesis and perturbs the migration and segregation of DA neurons. By contrast, Th-IRES-Cre removes beta-catenin in a subset of neural progenitor cells without perturbing the cellular and structural integrity of the vMB. Interestingly, loss of beta-catenin in Th-IRES-Cre;beta-Ctn(fl/fl) mutants negatively regulates neurogenesis by interfering with the progression of committed progenitors to DA neurons. Taken together, these results provide new insights into the indispensable functions of beta-catenin at multiple stages during DA neurogenesis. They also suggest that beta-catenin-mediated signaling pathways can be targeted to promote and expand DA neurons in cell-based therapeutic strategies.
Project description:Human pluripotent stem cells can be differentiated into midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neurons by directing cells through a floor plate progenitor stage. The developmental identity of mDA neurons produced using floor plate protocols is similar to substantia nigra neurons, and this has improved the ability to model Parkinson's disease (PD) in a dish. Combined with the unlimited growth potential of pluripotent stem cells, mDA neural progenitor cell production can provide a scalable source of human dopaminergic (DA) neurons for diverse applications. However, due to the complexity and length of the protocols and inherent differences between cell lines, considerable variability of the final population of neurons is often observed. One solution to this problem is to cryopreserve committed mDA neural progenitor cells in a ready-to-use format. Creating a bank of cryopreserved mDA neural progenitor cells poised for neuronal differentiation could significantly improve reproducibility and facilitate collaborations. Here we have compared six (6) different commercial cryopreservation media and different freezing conditions for mDA neural progenitor cells differentiated from human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines. Significant differences in cell recovery were observed at 24 h post-thawing, but no differences were observed immediately upon thawing. The presence of ROCK inhibitors improved cell recovery at 24 h for all cryopreservation media tested. A faster cooling rate of 1-2°C/min was significantly better than 0.5°C/min for all conditions tested, while rapid thawing at 37°C was not always superior to slow thawing at 4°C. Importantly, cryopreservation of mDA neural progenitor cells did not alter their potential to resume differentiation into mDA neurons. Banks of cryopreserved committed mDA neural progenitor cells provide a method to generate human DA neurons with reduced batch-to-batch variability, and establish a mechanism to share lineage-primed cells for collaborative research.
Project description:The main motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease are due to the loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the ventral midbrain (VM). For the future treatment of Parkinson's disease with cell transplantation it is important to develop efficient differentiation methods for production of human iPSCs and hESCs-derived midbrain-type DA neurons. Here we describe an efficient differentiation and sorting strategy for DA neurons from both human ES/iPS cells and non-human primate iPSCs. The use of non-human primate iPSCs for neuronal differentiation and autologous transplantation is important for preclinical evaluation of safety and efficacy of stem cell-derived DA neurons. The aim of this study was to improve the safety of human- and non-human primate iPSC (PiPSC)-derived DA neurons. According to our results, NCAM(+) /CD29(low) sorting enriched VM DA neurons from pluripotent stem cell-derived neural cell populations. NCAM(+) /CD29(low) DA neurons were positive for FOXA2/TH and EN1/TH and this cell population had increased expression levels of FOXA2, LMX1A, TH, GIRK2, PITX3, EN1, NURR1 mRNA compared to unsorted neural cell populations. PiPSC-derived NCAM(+) /CD29(low) DA neurons were able to restore motor function of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesioned rats 16 weeks after transplantation. The transplanted sorted cells also integrated in the rodent brain tissue, with robust TH+/hNCAM+ neuritic innervation of the host striatum. One year after autologous transplantation, the primate iPSC-derived neural cells survived in the striatum of one primate without any immunosuppression. These neural cell grafts contained FOXA2/TH-positive neurons in the graft site. This is an important proof of concept for the feasibility and safety of iPSC-derived cell transplantation therapies in the future.
Project description:Stem cells have been widely assumed to be capable of replacing lost or damaged cells in a number of diseases, including Parkinson's disease (PD), in which neurons of the substantia nigra (SN) die and fail to provide the neurotransmitter, dopamine (DA), to the striatum. We report that undifferentiated human neural stem cells (hNSCs) implanted into 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-treated Parkinsonian primates survived, migrated, and had a functional impact as assessed quantitatively by behavioral improvement in this DA-deficit model, in which Parkinsonian signs directly correlate to reduced DA levels. A small number of hNSC progeny differentiated into tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and/or dopamine transporter (DAT) immunopositive cells, suggesting that the microenvironment within and around the lesioned adult host SN still permits development of a DA phenotype by responsive progenitor cells. A much larger number of hNSC-derived cells that did not express neuronal or DA markers was found arrayed along the persisting nigrostriatal path, juxtaposed with host cells. These hNSCs, which express DA-protective factors, were therefore well positioned to influence host TH+ cells and mediate other homeostatic adjustments, as reflected in a return to baseline endogenous neuronal number-to-size ratios, preservation of extant host nigrostriatal circuitry, and a normalizing effect on alpha-synuclein aggregation. We propose that multiple modes of reciprocal interaction between exogenous hNSCs and the pathological host milieu underlie the functional improvement observed in this model of PD.
Project description:The cardinal motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) are caused by the vulnerability to dysfunction and degeneration of ventral midbrain (VM) dopaminergic (DA) neurons. A major limitation for experimental studies of current ES/iPS cell differentiation protocols is the lack of VM DA neurons with a stable phenotype as defined by an expression marker code of FOXA2/TH/?-tubulin. Here we demonstrate a combination of three modifications that were required to produce VM DA neurons. Firstly, early and specific exposure to 10(-)(8)M (low dose) retinoic acid improved the regional identity of neural progenitor cells derived from human ES cells, PD or healthy subject-specific iPS cells. Secondly, a high activity form of human sonic hedgehog established a sizeable FOXA2(+) neural progenitor cell population in vitro. Thirdly, early exposure to FGF8a, rather than Fgf8b, and WNT1 was required for robust differentiation of the FOXA2(+) floor plate-like human neural progenitor cells into FOXA2(+) DA neurons. FOXA2(+) DA neurons were also generated when this protocol was adapted to feeder-free conditions. In summary, this new human ES and iPS cell differentiation protocol using FGF8a, WNT1, low dose retinoic acid and a high activity form of SHH can generate human VM DA neurons that are required for relevant new bioassays, drug discovery and cell based therapies for PD.
Project description:Cell type-specific surface markers offer a powerful tool for purifying defined cell types for restorative therapies and drug screenings. Midbrain dopaminergic neurons (mesDA) are the nerve cells preferentially lost in the brains of Parkinson's disease patients. Clinical trials of transplantation of fetal neural precursors suggest that cell therapy may offer a cure for this devastating neurological disease. Many lines of preclinical studies demonstrate that neural progenitors committed to dopaminergic fate survive and integrate better than postmitotic DA neurons. We show that the folate-receptor 1 (FolR1), a GPI-anchored cell surface molecule, specifically marks mesDA neural progenitors and immature mesDA neurons. FolR1 expression superimposes with Lmx1a, a bona-fide mesDA lineage marker, during the active phase of mesDA neurogenesis from E9.5 to E14.5 during mouse development, as well as in ESC-derived mesDA lineage. FolR1(+) neural progenitors can be isolated by FACS or magnetic sorting (MAC) which give rise to dopamine neurons expressing TH and Pitx3, whilst FolR1 negative cells generate non-dopaminergic neurons and glia cells. This study identifies FolR1 as a new cell surface marker selectively expressed in mesDA progenitors in vivo and in vitro and that can be used to enrich in vitro differentiated TH neurons.
Project description:The primary clinical motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) result from loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). Consequently, neurogenesis of this group of neurons in the adult brain has drawn considerable interest for the purpose of harnessing endogenous neurogenerative potential as well as devising better strategies for stem cell therapy for PD. However, the existence of adult neurogenesis for DA neurons within the SN remains controversial. To overcome technical and design limitations associated with previous studies, our group has developed a novel genetic mouse model for assessing adult nigral DA neurogenesis. This system utilizes transgenic mice that express a tamoxifen-activatable Cre recombinase (Cre(ERT2)) under the control of the neuronal progenitor cell promoters nestin or Sox2 leading to suppression of the DA neuron marker tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) via excision of exon 1 by flanking loxP sites in adult animals. This study reports that six months following initiation of a six week treatment with tamoxifen mice with nestin-mediated Th excision displayed a significant reduction in TH+ neurons in the SN. This finding indicates that nestin-expressing cells regenerate DA neurons within the SN of adult animals. Interestingly, no reduction was observed in TH+ cells following Sox2-mediated Th excision suggesting that a nestin+/SOX2- precursor cell population drives DA neurogenesis in the adult SN. This information represents a substantial leap in current knowledge of adult DA neurogenesis, will enable improved in vitro and in vivo modeling, as well as facilitate the harnessing of this process for therapeutic intervention for PD.
Project description:During mammalian cerebral cortex development, the G1-phase of the cell cycle is known to lengthen, but it has been unclear which neural stem and progenitor cells are affected. In this paper, we develop a novel approach to determine cell-cycle parameters in specific classes of neural stem and progenitor cells, identified by molecular markers rather than location. We found that G1 lengthening was associated with the transition from stem cell-like apical progenitors to fate-restricted basal (intermediate) progenitors. Unexpectedly, expanding apical and basal progenitors exhibit a substantially longer S-phase than apical and basal progenitors committed to neuron production. Comparative genome-wide gene expression analysis of expanding versus committed progenitor cells revealed changes in key factors of cell-cycle regulation, DNA replication and repair and chromatin remodelling. Our findings suggest that expanding neural stem and progenitor cells invest more time during S-phase into quality control of replicated DNA than those committed to neuron production.
Project description:We have assessed the impact of ?-synuclein overexpression on the differentiation potential and phenotypic signatures of two neural-committed induced pluripotent stem cell lines derived from a Parkinson's disease patient with a triplication of the human SNCA genomic locus. In parallel, comparative studies were performed on two control lines derived from healthy individuals and lines generated from the patient iPS-derived neuroprogenitor lines infected with a lentivirus incorporating a small hairpin RNA to knock down the SNCA mRNA. The SNCA triplication lines exhibited a reduced capacity to differentiate into dopaminergic or GABAergic neurons and decreased neurite outgrowth and lower neuronal activity compared with control cultures. This delayed maturation phenotype was confirmed by gene expression profiling, which revealed a significant reduction in mRNA for genes implicated in neuronal differentiation such as delta-like homolog 1 (DLK1), gamma-aminobutyric acid type B receptor subunit 2 (GABABR2), nuclear receptor related 1 protein (NURR1), G-protein-regulated inward-rectifier potassium channel 2 (GIRK-2) and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). The differentiated patient cells also demonstrated increased autophagic flux when stressed with chloroquine. We conclude that a two-fold overexpression of ?-synuclein caused by a triplication of the SNCA gene is sufficient to impair the differentiation of neuronal progenitor cells, a finding with implications for adult neurogenesis and Parkinson's disease progression, particularly in the context of bioenergetic dysfunction.
Project description:Wnt/?-catenin signaling is required for specification and neurogenesis of midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neurons, the pivotal neuronal population that degenerates in Parkinson's disease (PD), and in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model of PD. Wnt/?-catenin signaling plays a vital role in adult neurogenesis but whether it might engage DA neurogenesis/neurorepair in the affected PD brain is yet unresolved. Recently, the adult midbrain aqueduct periventricular regions (Aq-PVRs) were shown to harbor multipotent clonogenic neural stem/progenitor cells (mNPCs) with DA potential in vitro, but restrictive mechanisms in vivo are believed to limit their DA regenerative capacity. Using in vitro mNPC culture systems we herein demonstrate that aging is one most critical factor restricting mNPC neurogenic potential via dysregulation of Wnt/?-catenin signaling. Coculture paradigms between young/aged (Y/A) mNPCs and Y/A astrocytes identified glial age and a decline of glial-derived factors including Wnts as key determinants of impaired neurogenic potential, whereas Wnt activation regimens efficiently reversed the diminished proliferative, neuronal, and DA differentiation potential of A-mNPCs. Next, in vivo studies in wild (Wt) and transgenic ?-catenin reporter mice uncovered Wnt/?-catenin signaling activation and remarkable astrocyte remodeling of Aq-PVR in response to MPTP-induced DA neuron death. Spatio-temporal analyses unveiled ?-catenin signaling in predopaminergic (Nurr1(+)/TH(-)) and imperiled or rescuing DAT(+) neurons during MPTP-induced DA neuron injury and self-repair. Aging inhibited Wnt signaling, whereas ?-catenin activation in situ with a specific GSK-3? antagonist promoted a significant degree of DA neurorestoration associated with reversal of motor deficit, with implications for neurorestorative approaches in PD.