Immortalization of common marmoset monkey fibroblasts by piggyBac transposition of hTERT.
ABSTRACT: Following a certain type-specific number of mitotic divisions, terminally differentiated cells undergo proliferative senescence, thwarting efforts to expand different cell populations in vitro for the needs of scientific research or medical therapies. The primary cause of this phenomenon is the progressive shortening of the telomeres and the subsequent activation of cell cycle control pathways leading to a block of cell proliferation. Restoration of telomere length by transgenic expression of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) usually results in bypassing of the replicative senescence and ultimately in cell immortalization. To date, there have not been any reports regarding immortalization of cells from common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), an important non-human primate model for various human diseases, with the use of exogenous human TERT (hTERT). In this study, marmoset fibroblasts were successfully immortalized with transposon-integrated transgenic hTERT and expanded in vitro for over 500 population doublings. Calculation of population doubling levels (PDL) showed that the derived hTERT-transgenic lines had significantly higher proliferation potential than the wild-type fibroblasts, which reached only a maximum of 46 doublings. However, the immortalized cells exhibited differences in the morphology compared with the control fibroblasts and transcriptome analysis also revealed changes in the gene expression patterns. Finally, the karyotypes of all hTERT-transgenic cell lines showed various aberrations such as presence of extra Chromosome 17, isochromosome 21q, or tetraploidy. By single-cell expansion of the least affected monoclonal immortalized line, one sub-clonal line with normal karyotype was established, suggesting the possibility to derive immortal marmoset cells with normal karyotypes. The results of this study are an important step towards the development and optimization of methods for the production of immortalized cells from common marmoset monkeys.
Project description:Many human primary somatic cells can be immortalized by inducing telomerase activity through the exogenous expression of the human telomerase catalytic subunit (hTERT). This approach has been extended to the immortalization of cell lines from several mammals. Here, we show that hTERT expression is not sufficient to immortalize primary fibroblasts from three equid species, namely donkey, Burchelli's zebra and Grevy's zebra. In vitro analysis of a reconstituted telomerase composed by hTERT and an equid RNA component of telomerase (TERC) revealed a low activity of this enzyme compared to human telomerase, suggesting a low compatibility of equid and human telomerase subunits. This conclusion was also strengthened by comparison of human and equid TERC sequences, which revealed nucleotide differences in key regions for TERC and TERT interaction. We then succeeded in immortalizing equid fibroblasts by expressing hTERT and hTERC concomitantly. Expression of both human telomerase subunits led to telomerase activity and telomere elongation, indicating that human telomerase is compatible with the other equid telomerase subunits and proteins involved in telomere metabolism. The immortalization procedure described herein could be extended to primary cells from other mammals. The availability of immortal cells from endangered species could be particularly useful for obtaining new information on the organization and function of their genomes, which is relevant for their preservation.
Project description:Fibroblasts can be transdifferentiated directly into other somatic cells such as cardiomyocytes, hematopoietic cells, and neurons. An advantage of somatic cell differentiation without first generating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is that it avoids contamination of the differentiated cells with residual iPSCs, which may cause teratoma. However, since primary fibroblasts from biopsy undergo senescence during repeated culture, it may be difficult to grow transdifferentiated cells in sufficient numbers for future therapeutic purposes. To circumvent this problem, we reversibly immortalized primary fibroblasts by using the piggyBac transposon to deliver the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene hTERT plus SV40 Large T. Both approaches enabled fibroblasts to grow continuously without senescence, and neither caused teratoma formation in immunodeficient mice. However, fibroblasts immortalized with hTERT plus SV40 large T antigen accumulated chromosomal rearrangements, whereas fibroblasts immortalized with hTERT retained the normal karyotype. To transdifferentiate hTERT-immortalized fibroblasts into other somatic lineage cells, we transiently transfected them with episomal OCT4 and cultured them under neural cell growth condition with transposase to remove the transposon. Tripotent neural progenitor cells were seamlessly and efficiently generated. Thus, reversible immortalization of primary fibroblasts with hTERT will allow potential autologous cell-based therapeutics that bypass and simulate iPSC generation.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Immortalization of primary prostate epithelial cells (PrEC) with just hTERT expression is particularly inefficient in the absence of DNA tumor viral proteins or p16<sup>INK4A</sup> knockdown.<h4>Materials and methods</h4>Here, we describe the establishment of immortalized normal prostate epithelial cell line models using CRISPR technology to inactivate the CDKN2A locus concomitantly with ectopic expression of an hTERT transgene.<h4>Results</h4>Using this approach, we have obtained immortal cell clones that exhibit fundamental characteristics of normal cells, including diploid genomes, near normal karyotypes, normal p53 and pRB cell responses, the ability to form non-invasive spheroids, and a non-transformed phenotype. Based on marker expression, these clones are of basal cell origin.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Use of this approach resulted in the immortalization of independent clones of PrEC that retained normal characteristics, were stable, and non-transformed. Thus, this approach could be used for the immortalization of normal primary prostate cells. This technique could also be useful for establishing cell lines from prostate tumor tissues of different tumor grades and/or from patients of diverse ethnicities to generate cell line models that facilitate the study of the molecular basis of disease disparity.
Project description:Immortalized cell lines have been used in a wide range of applications in research on immune disorders and cellular metabolic regulation due to the stability and uniformity of their cellular characteristics. At present, the investigation into molecular functions and signaling pathways within bovine cells remains largely limited by the lack of immortalized model cells. Current methods for immortalizing bovine cells are mainly restricted to the ectopic expression of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) through transient transfection or virus-mediated delivery, which have defects in efficiency and reliability. In this study, we identified bovine TERT (bTERT) as a novel potent biofactor for immortalizing bovine cells with great advantages over hTERT, and established an efficient and easily manipulated strategy for the immortalization of bovine primary cells. Through the homology-mediated end-joining-based insertion of bTERT at the ROSA26 locus, we successfully generated immortalized bovine fetal fibroblast cell lines with stable characteristics. The observed limitation of this strategy in immortalizing bovine bone marrow-derived macrophages was attributed to the post-translational modification of bTERT, causing inhibited nuclear localization and depressed activity of bTERT in this terminally differentiated cell. In summary, we constructed an innovative method to achieve the high-quality immortalization of bovine primary cells, thereby expanding the prospects for the future application of immortalized bovine model cell lines.
Project description:Telomerase maintains cell viability and chromosomal stability through the addition of telomere repeats to chromosome ends. The reactivation of telomerase through the upregulation of TERT, the telomerase protein subunit, is an important step during cancer development, yet TERT protein function and regulation remain incompletely understood. Despite its close sequence similarity to human TERT (hTERT), we find that mouse TERT (mTERT) does not immortalize primary human fibroblasts. Here we exploit these differences in activity to understand TERT protein function by creating chimeric mouse-human TERT proteins. Through the analysis of these chimeric TERT proteins, we find that sequences in the human carboxy-terminal domain are critical for telomere maintenance in human fibroblasts. The substitution of the human carboxy-terminal sequences into the mouse TERT protein is sufficient to confer immortalization and maintenance of telomere length and function. Strikingly, we find that hTERT protein accumulates to markedly higher levels than does mTERT protein and that the sequences governing this difference in protein regulation also reside in the carboxy-terminal domain. These elevated protein levels, which are characteristic of hTERT, are necessary but not sufficient for telomere maintenance because stabilized mTERT mutants cannot immortalize human cells. Thus, the TERT carboxy terminus contains sequences that regulate TERT protein levels and determinants that are required for productive action on telomere ends.
Project description:The expression of hTERT, the catalytic subunit of telomerase, immortalizes normal human urothelial cells (NHUC). Expression of a modified hTERT, without the ability to act in telomere maintenance, did not immortalize NHUC, confirming that effects at telomeres are required for urothelial immortalization. Previous studies indicate that inhibition of telomerase has an immediate effect on urothelial carcinoma (UC) cell line viability, before sufficient divisions to account for telomere attrition, implicating non-telomere effects of telomerase in UC. We analyzed the effects of telomerase on gene expression in isogenic mortal and hTERT-transduced NHUC. hTERT expression led to consistent alterations in the expression of genes predicted to be of phenotypic significance in tumorigenesis. A subset of expression changes were detected soon after transduction with hTERT and persisted with continued culture. These genes (NME5, PSCA, TSPYL5, LY75, IGFBP2, IGF2, CEACAM6, XG, NOX5, KAL1, and HPGD) include eight previously identified as polycomb group targets. TERT-NHUC showed overexpression of the polycomb repressor complex (PRC1 and PRC4) components, BMI1 and SIRT1, and down-regulation of multiple PRC targets and genes associated with differentiation. TERT-NHUC at 100 population doublings, but not soon after transduction, showed increased saturation density and an attenuated differentiation response, indicating that these are not acute effects of telomerase expression. Some of the changes in gene expression identified may contribute to tumorigenesis. Expression of NME5 and NDN was down-regulated in UC cell lines and tumors. Our data supports the concept of both telomere-based and non-telomere effects of telomerase and provides further rationale for the use of telomerase inhibitors in UC.
Project description:Senescence is a highly regulated process that limits cellular replication by enforcing a G1 arrest in response to various stimuli. Replicative senescence occurs in response to telomeric DNA erosion, and telomerase expression can offset replicative senescence leading to immortalization of many human cells. Limited data exists regarding changes of microRNA (miRNA) expression during senescence in human cells and no reports correlate telomerase expression with regulation of senescence-related miRNAs. We used miRNA microarrays to provide a detailed account of miRNA profiles for early passage and senescent human foreskin (BJ) fibroblasts as well as early and late passage immortalized fibroblasts (BJ-hTERT) that stably express the human telomerase reverse transcriptase subunit hTERT. Selected miRNAs that were differentially expressed in senescence were assayed for expression in quiescent cells to identify miRNAs that are specifically associated with senescence-associated growth arrest. From this group of senescence-associated miRNAs, we confirmed the ability of miR-143 to induce growth arrest after ectopic expression in young fibroblasts. Remarkably, miR-143 failed to induce growth arrest in BJ-hTERT cells. Importantly, the comparison of late passage immortalized fibroblasts to senescent wild type fibroblasts reveals that miR-146a, a miRNA with a validated role in regulating the senescence associated secretory pathway, is also regulated during extended cell culture independently of senescence. The discovery that miRNA expression is impacted by expression of ectopic hTERT as well as extended passaging in immortalized fibroblasts contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the connections between telomerase expression, senescence and processes of cellular aging.
Project description:Immortalizing primary cells with human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) has been common practice to enable primary cells to be of extended use in the laboratory because they avoid replicative senescence. Studying exogenously expressed hTERT in cells also affords scientists models of early carcinogenesis and telomere behavior. Control and the premature ageing disease-Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) primary dermal fibroblasts, with and without the classical G608G mutation have been immortalized with exogenous hTERT. However, hTERT immortalization surprisingly elicits genome reorganization not only in disease cells but also in the normal control cells, such that whole chromosome territories normally located at the nuclear periphery in proliferating fibroblasts become mislocalized in the nuclear interior. This includes chromosome 18 in the control fibroblasts and both chromosomes 18 and X in HGPS cells, which physically express an isoform of the LINC complex protein SUN1 that has previously only been theoretical. Additionally, this HGPS cell line has also become genomically unstable and has a tetraploid karyotype, which could be due to the novel SUN1 isoform. Long-term treatment with the hTERT inhibitor BIBR1532 enabled the reduction of telomere length in the immortalized cells and resulted that these mislocalized internal chromosomes to be located at the nuclear periphery, as assessed in actively proliferating cells. Taken together, these findings reveal that elongated telomeres lead to dramatic chromosome mislocalization, which can be restored with a drug treatment that results in telomere reshortening and that a novel SUN1 isoform combined with elongated telomeres leads to genomic instability. Thus, care should be taken when interpreting data from genomic studies in hTERT-immortalized cell lines.
Project description:Even though prion (encoded by the PRNP gene) diseases like bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) are fatal neurodegenerative diseases in cattle, their study via gene deletion has been limited due to the absence of cell lines or mutant models. In this study, we aim to develop an immortalized fibroblast cell line in which genome-engineering technology can be readily applied to create gene-modified clones for studies. To this end, this study is designed to 1) investigate the induction of primary fibroblasts to immortalization by introducing Bmi-1 and hTert genes; 2) investigate the disruption of the PRNP in those cells; and 3) evaluate the gene expression and embryonic development using knockout (KO) cell lines. Primary cells from a male neonate were immortalized with Bmi-1and hTert. Immortalized cells were cultured for more than 180 days without any changes in their doubling time and morphology. Furthermore, to knockout the PRNP gene, plasmids that encode transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) pairs were transfected into the cells, and transfected single cells were propagated. Mutated clonal cell lines were confirmed by T7 endonuclease I assay and sequencing. Four knockout cell lines were used for somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), and the resulting embryos were developed to the blastocyst stage. The genes (CSNK2A1, FAM64A, MPG and PRND) were affected after PRNP disruption in immortalized cells. In conclusion, we established immortalized cattle fibroblasts using Bmi-1 and hTert genes, and used TALENs to knockout the PRNP gene in these immortalized cells. The efficient PRNP KO is expected to be a useful technology to develop our understanding of in vitro prion protein functions in cattle.
Project description:Telomerase-a complex ribonucleoprotein enzyme-synthesizes telomeric repeats to avoid telomere loss that accompanies cell division and chromosomal replication. Expression of telomerase is detectable in embryonic cells and cancer cells, but not in normal human cells. On the other hand, in mice, substantial expression of telomerase is detected in normal cells and tissues as well as in immortalized cells. These results suggest that the regulatory mechanisms of telomerase activity in humans and mice differ. Considering these results along with the fact that the expression of the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene is a rate-limiting step for telomerase activity, we compared transcriptional regulatory mechanisms of both the species. A series of luciferase assays and RT-PCR analyses demonstrated that c-Myc, a dominant transactivator for human TERT (hTERT), is not involved in the regulation of mouse TERT (mTERT). These results suggest that distinct molecules and pathways are involved in the process of immortalization and tumorigenesis in human and mouse cells.