Functional skeletal muscle constructs from transdifferentiated human fibroblasts.
ABSTRACT: Transdifferentiation of human non-muscle cells directly into myogenic cells by forced expression of MyoD represents one route to obtain highly desirable human myogenic cells. However, functional properties of the tissue constructs derived from these transdifferentiated cells have been rarely studied. Here, we report that three-dimensional (3D) tissue constructs engineered with iMyoD-hTERT-NHDFs, normal human dermal fibroblasts transduced with genes encoding human telomerase reverse transcriptase and doxycycline-inducible MyoD, generate detectable contractile forces in response to electrical stimuli upon MyoD expression. Withdrawal of doxycycline in the middle of 3D culture results in 3.05 and 2.28 times increases in twitch and tetanic forces, respectively, suggesting that temporally-controlled MyoD expression benefits functional myogenic differentiation of transdifferentiated myoblast-like cells. Treatment with CHIR99021, a Wnt activator, and DAPT, a Notch inhibitor, leads to further enhanced contractile forces. The ability of these abundant and potentially patient-specific and disease-specific cells to develop into functional skeletal muscle constructs makes them highly valuable for many applications, such as disease modeling.
Project description:Our current understanding of cellular transdifferentiation systems is limited. It is oftentimes unknown, at a genome-wide scale, how much transdifferentiated cells differ quantitatively from both the starting cells and the target cells. Focusing on transdifferentiation of primary human skin fibroblasts by forced expression of myogenic transcription factor MyoD, we performed quantitative analyses of gene expression and chromatin accessibility profiles of transdifferentiated cells compared to fibroblasts and myoblasts. In this system, we find that while many of the early muscle marker genes are reprogrammed, global gene expression and accessibility changes are still incomplete when compared to myoblasts. In addition, we find evidence of epigenetic memory in the transdifferentiated cells, with reminiscent features of fibroblasts being visible both in chromatin accessibility and gene expression. Quantitative analyses revealed a continuum of changes in chromatin accessibility induced by MyoD, and a strong correlation between chromatin-remodeling deficiencies and incomplete gene expression reprogramming. Classification analyses identified genetic and epigenetic features that distinguish reprogrammed from non-reprogrammed sites, and suggested ways to potentially improve transdifferentiation efficiency. Our approach for combining gene expression, DNA accessibility, and protein-DNA binding data to quantify and characterize the efficiency of cellular transdifferentiation on a genome-wide scale can be applied to any transdifferentiation system.
Project description:Direct generation of a homogeneous population of skeletal myoblasts from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and formation of three-dimensional contractile structures for disease modeling in vitro are current challenges in regenerative medicine. Previous studies reported on the generation of myoblasts from ESC-derived embryoid bodies (EB), but not from undifferentiated ESCs, indicating the requirement for mesodermal transition to promote skeletal myogenesis. Here, we show that selective absence of the SWI/SNF component BAF60C (encoded by SMARCD3) confers on hESCs resistance to MyoD-mediated activation of skeletal myogenesis. Forced expression of BAF60C enables MyoD to directly activate skeletal myogenesis in hESCs by instructing MyoD positioning and allowing chromatin remodeling at target genes. BAF60C/MyoD-expressing hESCs are epigenetically committed myogenic progenitors, which bypass the mesodermal requirement and, when cultured as floating clusters, give rise to contractile three-dimensional myospheres composed of skeletal myotubes. These results identify BAF60C as a key epigenetic determinant of hESC commitment to the myogenic lineage and establish the molecular basis for the generation of hESC-derived myospheres exploitable for "disease in a dish" models of muscular physiology and dysfunction.
Project description:Pax3 and Pax7 are paired-box transcription factors with roles in developmental and adult regenerative myogenesis. Pax3 and Pax7 are expressed by postnatal satellite cells or their progeny but are down regulated during myogenic differentiation. We now show that constitutive expression of Pax3 or Pax7 in either satellite cells or C2C12 myoblasts results in an increased proliferative rate and decreased cell size. Conversely, expression of dominant-negative constructs leads to slowing of cell division, a dramatic increase in cell size and altered morphology. Similarly to the effects of Pax7, retroviral expression of Pax3 increases levels of Myf5 mRNA and MyoD protein, but does not result in sustained inhibition of myogenic differentiation. However, expression of Pax3 or Pax7 dominant-negative constructs inhibits expression of Myf5, MyoD and myogenin, and prevents differentiation from proceeding. In fibroblasts, expression of Pax3 or Pax7, or dominant-negative inhibition of these factors, reproduce the effects on cell size, morphology and proliferation seen in myoblasts. Our results show that in muscle progenitor cells, Pax3 and Pax7 function to maintain expression of myogenic regulatory factors, and promote population expansion, but are also required for myogenic differentiation to proceed.
Project description:The current-producing cells of the electric organ, i.e., electrocytes, in Sternopygus macrurus derive from skeletal muscle fibers. Mature electrocytes are not contractile, but they do retain some muscle proteins, are multinucleated, and receive cholinergic innervation. Electrocytes express the myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) MyoD, myogenin, Myf5 and MRF4 despite their incomplete muscle phenotype. Although S. macrurus MRFs share functional domains which are highly conserved and their expression is confined to the myogenic lineage, their capability to induce the muscle phenotype has not been determined. To test the functional conservation of S. macrurus MRFs to transcriptionally activate skeletal muscle gene expression and induce the myogenic program, we transiently over-expressed S. macrurus MyoD (SmMyoD) and myogenin (SmMyoG) in mouse C3H/10T1/2 and NIH3T3 embryonic cells. RT-PCR and immunolabeling studies showed that SmMyoD and SmMyoG can efficiently convert these two cell lines into multinucleated myotubes which expressed differentiated muscle markers. The levels of myogenic induction by SmMyoD and SmMyoG were comparable to those obtained with mouse MRF homologs. Furthermore, SmMyoD and SmMyoG proteins were able to induce mouse MyoD and myogenin in C3H/10T1/2 cells. We conclude that S. macrurus MRFs are functionally conserved as they can transcriptionally activate skeletal muscle gene expression and induce the myogenic program in mammalian non-muscle cells. Hence, these data suggest that the partial muscle phenotype of electrocytes is not likely due to differences in the MRF-dependent transcriptional program between skeletal muscle and electric organ.
Project description:Pancreatic lineage-specific transcription factors (TFs) display instructive roles in converting adult cells to endocrine pancreatic cells through a process known as transdifferentiation. However, little is known about potential factors capable of accelerating transdifferentiation following transduction to achieve the functional maturation of transdifferentiated cells. In this study, we demonstrated, using adult liver-derived progenitor cells, that soluble factors utilized in pancreatic differentiation protocols of pluripotent stem cells promote functional maturation of TFs-mediated transdifferentiated cells. Treatment with an N2 supplement in combination with three soluble factors (glucagon-like peptide-1 [GLP-1] receptor agonist, notch inhibitor, and transforming growth factor-? [TGF-?] inhibitor) enhanced liver-to-pancreas transdifferentiation based on the following findings: i) the incidence of c-peptide-positive cells increased by approximately 1.2-fold after the aforementioned treatment; ii) the c-peptide expression level in the treated cells increased by approximately 12-fold as compared with the level in the untreated cells; iii) the treated cells secreted insulin in a glucose-dependent manner, whereas the untreated cells did not; and iv) transplantation of treated-transdifferentiated cells into streptozotocin-induced immunodeficient diabetic mice led to the amelioration of hyperglycemia. These results suggest that treatment with specific soluble factors promotes the functional maturation of transdifferentiated cells. Our findings could facilitate the development of new modalities for cell-replacement therapy for patients with diabetes.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: Human amniotic fluid stem (hAFS) cells have been shown to differentiate into multiple lineages, including myoblasts. However, molecular mechanisms underlying the myogenic differentiation of hAFS cells and their regenerative potential for muscle injury remain to be elucidated. METHODS: In order to induce myogenic differentiation of hAFS cells, lentiviruses for MYOD were constructed and transduced into hAFS cells. Formation of myotube-like cells was analyzed by immunocytochemistry, and expression of molecular markers for myoblasts was analyzed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting. For in vivo muscle regeneration, MYOD transduced hAFS cells were injected into left tibialis anterior (TA) muscles injured with cardiotoxin, and muscle regeneration was analyzed using hematoxylin and eosin, immunocytochemistry and formation of neuro-muscular junction. RESULTS: MYOD expression in hAFS cells successfully induced differentiation into multinucleated myotube-like cells. Consistently, significant expression of myogenic marker genes, such as MYOG, DES, DMD and MYH, was induced by MYOD. Analysis of pre-myogenic factors showed that expression of PAX3, MEOX1 and EYA2 was significantly increased by MYOD. MYOD was phosphorylated and localized in the nucleus. These results suggest that in hAFS cells, MYOD is phosphorylated and localized in the nucleus, thus inducing expression of myogenic factors, resulting in myogenic differentiation of hAFS cells. To test regenerative potential of MYOD-transduced hAFS cells, we transplanted them into injured muscles of immunodeficient BALB/cSlc-nu mice. The results showed a substantial increase in the volume of TA muscle injected with MYOD-hAFS cells. In addition, TA muscle tissue injected with MYOD-hAFS cells has more numbers of neuro-muscular junctions compared to controls, indicating functional restoration of muscle injury by MYOD-hAFS cells. CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, our data suggest that transduction of hAFS cells with MYOD lentiviruses induces skeletal myogenic differentiation in vitro and morphological and functional regeneration of injured muscle in vivo.
Project description:The steroid receptor RNA activator (SRA) has the unusual property to function as both a non-coding RNA (ncRNA) and a protein SRAP. SRA ncRNA is known to increase the activity of a range of nuclear receptors as well as the master regulator of muscle differentiation MyoD. The contribution of SRA to either a ncRNA or a protein is influenced by alternative splicing of the first intron, the retention of which disrupts the SRAP open reading frame. We reported here that the ratio between non-coding and coding SRA isoforms increased during myogenic differentiation of human satellite cells but not myotonic dystrophy patient satellite cells, in which differentiation capacity is affected. Using constructs that exclusively produce SRA ncRNA or SRAP, we demonstrated that whereas SRA ncRNA was indeed an enhancer of myogenic differentiation and myogenic conversion of non-muscle cells through the co-activation of MyoD activity, SRAP prevented this SRA RNA-dependant co-activation. Interestingly, the SRAP inhibitory effect is mediated through the interaction of SRAP with its RNA counterpart via its RRM-like domain interacting with the functional sub-structure of SRA RNA, STR7. This study thus provides a new model for SRA-mediated regulation of MyoD transcriptional activity in the promotion of normal muscle differentiation, which takes into account the nature of SRA molecules present.
Project description:MYOD-induced microRNA-494-3p expression inhibits fast oxidative myotube formation by downregulating myosin heavy chain 2 (MYH2) in human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) during skeletal myogenesis. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating MYH2 expression via miR-494-3p remain unknown. Here, using bioinformatic analyses, we show that miR-494-3p potentially targets the transcript of the E1A-binding protein p300 at its 3'-untranslated region (UTR). Myogenesis in hiPSCs with the Tet/ON-myogenic differentiation 1 (MYOD1) gene (MyoD-hiPSCs) was induced by culturing them in doxycycline-supplemented differentiation medium for 7 days. p300 protein expression decreased after transient induction of miR-494-3p during myogenesis. miR-494-3p mimics decreased the levels of p300 and its downstream targets MYOD and MYH2 and myotube formation efficiency. p300 knockdown decreased myotube formation efficiency, MYH2 expression, and basal oxygen consumption rate. The binding of miR-494-3p to the wild type p300 3'-UTR, but not the mutated site, was confirmed using luciferase assay. Overexpression of p300 rescued the miR-494-3p mimic-induced phenotype in MyoD-hiPSCs. Moreover, miR-494-3p mimic reduced the levels of p300, MYOD, and MYH2 in skeletal muscles in mice. Thus, miR-494-3p might modulate MYH2 expression and fast oxidative myotube formation by directly regulating p300 levels during skeletal myogenesis in MyoD-hiPSCs and murine skeletal muscle tissues.
Project description:Transcriptional cascades that specify cell fate have been well described in invertebrates. In mammalian development, however, gene hierarchies involved in determination of cell lineage are not understood. With the recent cloning of the MyoD family of myogenic regulatory factors, a model system has become available with which to study the dynamics of muscle determination in mammalian development. Myogenin, along with other members of the MyoD gene family, possesses the apparent ability to redirect nonmuscle cells into the myogenic lineage. This ability appears to be due to the direct activation of an array of subordinate or downstream genes which are responsible for formation and function of the muscle contractile apparatus. Myogenin-directed transcription has been shown to occur through interaction with a DNA consensus sequence known as an E box (CANNTG) present in the control regions of numerous downstream genes. In addition to activating the transcription of subordinate genes, members of the MyoD family positively regulate their own expression and cross-activate one another's expression. These autoregulatory interactions have been suggested as a mechanism for induction and maintenance of the myogenic phenotype, but the molecular details of the autoregulatory circuits are undefined. Here we show that the myogenin promoter contains a binding site for the myocyte-specific enhancer-binding factor, MEF-2, which can function as an intermediary of myogenin autoactivation. Since MEF-2 can be induced by myogenin, these results suggest that myogenin and MEF-2 participate in a transcriptional cascade in which MEF-2, once induced by myogenin, acts to amplify and maintain the myogenic phenotype by acting as a positive regulator of myogenin expression.
Project description:CMF1 protein is expressed in developing striated muscle before the expression of contractile proteins, and depletion of CMF1 in myoblasts results in inability to express muscle-specific proteins. Previous studies of CMF1 identify a functional Rb-binding domain, which is conserved in the murine and human homologues. Here, we show that CMF1 binds Rb family members, while a CMF1 protein with deletion of the Rb-binding domain (Rb-del CMF1) does not. Myogenic cell lines over-expressing Rb-del CMF1 proliferate normally, but exhibit markedly impaired differentiation, including dramatically reduced contractile proteins gene expression and failure to fuse into myotubes. Furthermore, by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, MyoD and Myf5 mRNA levels are comparable to wild-type, while myogenin and contractile protein mRNA levels are significantly attenuated. These data demonstrate that CMF1 regulates myocyte differentiation by interaction with Rb family members to induce expression of myogenic regulatory factors.