Chromosome Transplantation: A Possible Approach to Treat Human X-linked Disorders.
ABSTRACT: Many human genetic diseases are associated with gross mutations such as aneuploidies, deletions, duplications, or inversions. For these "structural" disorders, conventional gene therapy, based on viral vectors and/or on programmable nuclease-mediated homologous recombination, is still unsatisfactory. To correct such disorders, chromosome transplantation (CT), defined as the perfect substitution of an endogenous defective chromosome with an exogenous normal one, could be applied. CT re-establishes a normal diploid cell, leaving no marker of the procedure, as we have recently shown in mouse pluripotent stem cells. To prove the feasibility of the CT approach in human cells, we used human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) reprogrammed from Lesch-Nyhan (LN) disease patients, taking advantage of their mutation in the X-linked HPRT gene, making the LN cells selectable and distinguishable from the resistant corrected normal cells. In this study, we demonstrate, for the first time, that CT is feasible in hiPSCs: the normal exogenous X chromosome was first transferred using an improved chromosome transfer system, and the extra sex chromosome was spontaneously lost. These CT cells were functionally corrected and maintained their pluripotency and differentiation capability. By inactivation of the autologous HPRT gene, CT paves the way to the correction of hiPSCs from several X-linked disorders.
Project description:Genomic disorders resulting from large rearrangements of the genome remain an important unsolved issue in gene therapy. Chromosome transplantation, defined as the perfect replacement of an endogenous chromosome with a homologous one, has the potential of curing this kind of disorders. Here we report the first successful case of chromosome transplantation by replacement of an endogenous X chromosome carrying a mutation in the Hprt genewith a normal one in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs), correcting the genetic defect. The defect was also corrected by replacing the Y chromosome with an X chromosome. Chromosome transplanted clones maintained in vitro and in vivo features of stemness and contributed to chimera formation. Genome integrity was confirmed by cytogenetic and molecular genome analysis. The approach here proposed, with some modifications, might be used to cure various disorders due to other X chromosome aberrations in induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells derived from affected patients.
Project description:Rett syndrome (RTT) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects girls due primarily to heterozygous mutations in the X-linked gene encoding methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2). Random X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) results in cellular mosaicism in which some cells express wild-type (WT) MECP2 while other cells express mutant MECP2. The generation of patient-specific human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) facilitates the production of RTT-hiPSC-derived neurons in vitro to investigate disease mechanisms and identify novel drug treatments. The generation of RTT-hiPSCs has been reported by many laboratories, however, the XCI status of RTT-hiPSCs has been inconsistent. Some report RTT-hiPSCs retain the inactive X-chromosome (post-XCI) of the founder somatic cell allowing isogenic RTT-hiPSCs that express only the WT or mutant MECP2 allele to be isolated from the same patient. Post-XCI RTT-hiPSCs-derived neurons retain this allele-specific expression pattern of WT or mutant MECP2. Conversely, others report RTT-hiPSCs in which the inactive X-chromosome of the founder somatic cell reactivates (pre-XCI) upon reprogramming into RTT-hiPSCs. Pre-XCI RTT-hiPSC-derived neurons exhibit random XCI resulting in cellular mosaicism with respect to WT and mutant MECP2 expression. Here we review and attempt to interpret the inconsistencies in XCI status of RTT-hiPSCs generated to date by comparison to other pluripotent systems in vitro and in vivo and the methods used to analyze XCI. Finally, we discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of post- and pre-XCI hiPSCs in the context of RTT, and other X-linked and autosomal disorders for translational medicine.
Project description:Hereditary retinal dystrophies (HRD) represent a significant cause of blindness, affecting mostly retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and photoreceptors (PRs), and currently suffer from a lack of effective treatments. Highly specialized RPE and PR cells interact mutually in the functional retina, therefore primary HRD affecting one cell type leading to a secondary HRD in the other cells. Phagocytosis is one of the primary functions of the RPE and studies have discovered that mutations in the phagocytosis-associated gene Mer tyrosine kinase receptor (<i>MERTK</i>) lead to primary RPE dystrophy. Treatment strategies for this rare disease include the replacement of diseased RPE with healthy autologous RPE to prevent PR degeneration. The generation and directed differentiation of patient-derived human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) may provide a means to generate autologous therapeutically-relevant adult cells, including RPE and PR. However, the continued presence of the <i>MERTK</i> gene mutation in patient-derived hiPSCs represents a significant drawback. Recently, we reported the generation of a hiPSC model of MERTK-associated Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) that recapitulates disease phenotype and the subsequent creation of gene-corrected RP-hiPSCs using Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9. In this study, we differentiated gene-corrected RP-hiPSCs into RPE and found that these cells had recovered both wild-type MERTK protein expression and the lost phagocytosis of fluorescently-labeled photoreceptor outer segments observed in uncorrected RP-hiPSC-RPE. These findings provide proof-of-principle for the utility of gene-corrected hiPSCs as an unlimited cell source for personalized cell therapy of rare vision disorders.
Project description:Genetic comparison between human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells has been hampered by genetic variation. To solve this problem, we have developed an isogenic system that allows direct comparison of induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) to their genetically matched human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). We show that hiPSCs have a highly similar transcriptome to hESCs. Global transcriptional profiling identified 102-154 genes (>2 fold) that showed a difference between isogenic hiPSCs and hESCs. A stringent analysis identified NNAT as a key imprinted gene that was dysregulated in hiPSCs. Furthermore, a disproportionate number of X-chromosome localized genes were over-expressed in female hiPSCs. Our results indicate that despite a remarkably close transcriptome to hESCs, isogenic hiPSCs have alterations in imprinting and regulation of X-chromosome genes.
Project description:Differentiation methods for human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) typically yield progeny from multiple tissue lineages, limiting their use for drug testing and autologous cell transplantation. In particular, early retina and forebrain derivatives often intermingle in pluripotent stem cell cultures, owing to their shared ancestry and tightly coupled development. Here, we demonstrate that three-dimensional populations of retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) can be isolated from early forebrain populations in both human embryonic stem cell and hiPSC cultures, providing a valuable tool for developmental, functional, and translational studies. Using our established protocol, we identified a transient population of optic vesicle (OV)-like structures that arose during a time period appropriate for normal human retinogenesis. These structures were independently cultured and analyzed to confirm their multipotent RPC status and capacity to produce physiologically responsive retinal cell types, including photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). We then applied this method to hiPSCs derived from a patient with gyrate atrophy, a retinal degenerative disease affecting the RPE. RPE generated from these hiPSCs exhibited a disease-specific functional defect that could be corrected either by pharmacological means or following targeted gene repair. The production of OV-like populations from human pluripotent stem cells should facilitate the study of human retinal development and disease and advance the use of hiPSCs in personalized medicine.
Project description:Standard culture of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) requires basic Fibroblast Growth Factor (bFGF) to maintain the pluripotent state, whereas hiPSC more closely resemble epiblast stem cells than true naïve state ES which requires LIF to maintain pluripotency. Here we show that chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2) enhances the expression of pluripotent marker genes through the phosphorylation of the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) protein. Moreover, comparison of transcriptomes between hiPSCs cultured with CCL2 versus with bFGF, we found that CCL2 activates hypoxia related genes, suggesting that CCL2 enhanced pluripotency by inducing a hypoxic-like response.Further, we show that hiPSCs cultured with CCL2 can differentiate at a higher efficiency than culturing withjust bFGF and we show CCL2 can be used in feeder-free conditions [corrected]. Taken together, our finding indicates the novel functions of CCL2 in enhancing its pluripotency in hiPSCs.
Project description:Huntington disease (HD) is a dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by a CAG repeat expansion in HTT. Here we report correction of HD human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) using a CRISPR-Cas9 and piggyBac transposon-based approach. We show that both HD and corrected isogenic hiPSCs can be differentiated into excitable, synaptically active forebrain neurons. We further demonstrate that phenotypic abnormalities in HD hiPSC-derived neural cells, including impaired neural rosette formation, increased susceptibility to growth factor withdrawal, and deficits in mitochondrial respiration, are rescued in isogenic controls. Importantly, using genome-wide expression analysis, we show that a number of apparent gene expression differences detected between HD and non-related healthy control lines are absent between HD and corrected lines, suggesting that these differences are likely related to genetic background rather than HD-specific effects. Our study demonstrates correction of HD hiPSCs and associated phenotypic abnormalities, and the importance of isogenic controls for disease modeling using hiPSCs.
Project description:Three-dimensional (3D) brain organoids derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), appear to recapitulate the brain's 3D cytoarchitectural arrangement and provide new opportunities to explore disease pathogenesis in the human brain. Human iPSC (hiPSC) reprogramming methods, combined with 3D brain organoid tools, may allow patient-derived organoids to serve as a preclinical platform to bridge the translational gap between animal models and human clinical trials. Studies using patient-derived brain organoids have already revealed novel insights into molecular and genetic mechanisms of certain complex human neurological disorders such as microcephaly, autism, and Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore, the combination of hiPSC technology and small-molecule high-throughput screening (HTS) facilitates the development of novel pharmacotherapeutic strategies, while transcriptome sequencing enables the transcriptional profiling of patient-derived brain organoids. Finally, the addition of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing provides incredible potential for personalized cell replacement therapy with genetically corrected hiPSCs. This review describes the history and current state of 3D brain organoid differentiation strategies, a survey of applications of organoids towards studies of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders, and the challenges associated with their use as in vitro models of neurological disorders.
Project description:The deficiency of X-inactive specific transcript (XIST) on the inactive X chromosome affects the behavior of female human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), and further chromosomal erosion can occur with continued passaging of these cells. However, X chromosome instability has not been identified in other species. In the present study, we investigated three female rabbit ESC (rbESC) lines and found that two of them expressed Xist normally and obtained both Xist RNA coating and H3K27me3 foci, thus defined as Xi(Xist)Xa. Interestingly, the third female rbESC line lacked Xist expression during ESC maintenance and differentiation. This line showed H3K27me3 foci but no Xist RNA coating in the early passages and was thus defined as Xi(w/oXist)Xa. Similar to Xi(w/oXist)Xa hESCs or hiPSCs, Xi(w/oXist)Xa rbESCs lose H3K27me3 and undergo Xi erosion (Xe) with passaging. Moreover, Xist-deficient rbESCs also exhibit impaired differentiation ability and upregulation of cancer-related genes. By overexpressing OCT4, SOX2, KLF4, and c-MYC in Xist-deficient rbESCs under optimized culture conditions, we successfully obtained mouse ESC-like (mESC-like) cells. The mESC-like rbESCs displayed dome-shaped colony morphology, activation of the LIF/STAT3-dependent pathway, and conversion of disordered X chromosome. Importantly, the defective differentiation potential was also greatly improved. Our data demonstrate that variations in X chromosome inactivation occur in early passage of rbESCs; thus, Xi disorders are conserved across species and are reversible using the proper epigenetic reprogramming and culture conditions. These findings may be very useful for future efforts toward deriving fully pluripotent rbESCs or rabbit iPSCs (rbiPSCs).
Project description:The derivation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and the stunning discovery that somatic cells can be reprogrammed into human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) holds the promise to revolutionize biomedical research and regenerative medicine. In this Review, we focus on disorders of the central nervous system and explore how advances in human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) coincide with evolutions in genome engineering and genomic technologies to provide realistic opportunities to tackle some of the most devastating complex disorders.