Induced Pluripotent Cells Derived from Differentiated Rod Photoreceptors Undergo Efficient Retinogenesis in Three-Dimensional Cultures
ABSTRACT: "Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are used to study lineage-specific differentiation in culture. We developed a standardized quantitative protocol called STEM-RET to compare eye field specification, optic cup formation, and retinal differentiation across stem cell populations. We reprogrammed individual rod photoreceptors into iPSCs by inducible expression of Oct3/4, Klf4, Sox2, and Myc. We also developed ESC lines from rods by somatic cell nuclear transfer. Using the STEM-RET protocol, we compared the abilities of ESCs, fibroblast-derived iPSCs (f-iPSCs), rod photoreceptor-derived iPSCs (r-iPSCs), and rod photoreceptorderived ESCs to form retinae using STEM-RET. r-iPSCs were the most efficient at producing differentiated retina. Retinae derived from f-iPSCs lacked an inner nuclear layer (INL) and had a concomitant reduction in amacrine cells and other INL cell populations. The INL-specific LIM homeobox gene, Lhx9, was hypermethylated in fiPSCs and concomitantly downregulated in retinae derived from those stem cells. ChIP-seq analysis for H3K36me3, H3K4me1, H3K4me3, H3K9/14Ac, H3K27me3, H3K9me3, CTCF and 5 hydroxymethyl cytosine showed that the major difference between the r-iPSCs and the f-iPSCs were in the genes marked by the CTCF insulator protein. Importantly, CTCF binding enrichment at rod photoreceptor specific genes was at least 10-fold higher in r-iPSCs relative to f-iPSCs. Taken together, our data suggest that both inhibitory and permissive epigenetic marks important for retinal development can be retained in iPSCs and such marks can be exploited to select the most favorable stem cell population to study retinal development or produce photoreceptor precursors for cell transplantation."
Project description:Cell-based therapies to treat retinal degeneration are now being tested in clinical trials. However, it is not known whether the source of stem cells is important for the production of differentiated cells suitable for transplantation. To test this, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from murine rod photoreceptors (r-iPSCs) and scored their ability to make retinae by using a standardized quantitative protocol called STEM-RET. We discovered that r-iPSCs more efficiently produced differentiated retinae than did embryonic stem cells (ESCs) or fibroblast-derived iPSCs (f-iPSCs). Retinae derived from f-iPSCs had fewer amacrine cells and other inner nuclear layer cells. Integrated epigenetic analysis showed that DNA methylation contributes to the defects in f-iPSC retinogenesis and that rod-specific CTCF insulator protein-binding sites may promote r-iPSC retinogenesis. Together, our data suggest that the source of stem cells is important for producing retinal neurons in three-dimensional (3D) organ cultures.
Project description:Pluripotent genomes are folded in a topological hierarchy that reorganizes during differentiation. The extent to which chromatin architecture is reconfigured during somatic cell reprogramming is poorly understood. Here we integrate fine-resolution architecture maps with epigenetic marks and gene expression in embryonic stem cells (ESCs), neural progenitor cells (NPCs), and NPC-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). We find that most pluripotency genes reconnect to target enhancers during reprogramming. Unexpectedly, some NPC interactions around pluripotency genes persist in our iPSC clone. Pluripotency genes engaged in both "fully-reprogrammed" and "persistent-NPC" interactions exhibit over/undershooting of target expression levels in iPSCs. Additionally, we identify a subset of "poorly reprogrammed" interactions that do not reconnect in iPSCs and display only partially recovered, ESC-specific CTCF occupancy. 2i/LIF can abrogate persistent-NPC interactions, recover poorly reprogrammed interactions, reinstate CTCF occupancy, and restore expression levels. Our results demonstrate that iPSC genomes can exhibit imperfectly rewired 3D-folding linked to inaccurately reprogrammed gene expression.
Project description:Diverse cell types can be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells by ectopic expression of Oct4 (Pou5f1), Klf4, Sox3, and Myc. Many of these induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) retain memory, in terms of DNA methylation and histone modifications (epigenetic memory), of their cellular origins, and this may bias subsequent differentiation. Neurons are difficult to reprogram, and there has not been a systematic side-by-side characterization of reprogramming efficiency or epigenetic memory across different neuronal subtypes. Here, we compare reprogramming efficiency of five different retinal cell types at two different stages of development. Retinal differentiation from each iPSC line was measured using a quantitative standardized scoring system called STEM-RET and compared to the epigenetic memory. Neurons with the lowest reprogramming efficiency produced iPSC lines with the best retinal differentiation and were more likely to retain epigenetic memory of their cellular origins. In addition, we identified biomarkers of iPSCs that are predictive of retinal differentiation.
Project description:This study was designed to determine whether adult mouse induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), could be used to produce retinal precursors and subsequently photoreceptor cells for retinal transplantation to restore retinal function in degenerative hosts. iPSCs were generated using adult dsRed mouse dermal fibroblasts via retroviral induction of the transcription factors Oct4, Sox2, KLF4 and c-Myc. As with normal mouse ES cells, adult dsRed iPSCs expressed the pluripotency genes SSEA1, Oct4, Sox2, KLF4, c-Myc and Nanog. Following transplantation into the eye of immune-compromised retinal degenerative mice these cells proceeded to form teratomas containing tissue comprising all three germ layers. At 33 days post-differentiation a large proportion of the cells expressed the retinal progenitor cell marker Pax6 and went on to express the photoreceptor markers, CRX, recoverin, and rhodopsin. When tested using calcium imaging these cells were shown to exhibit characteristics of normal retinal physiology, responding to delivery of neurotransmitters. Following subretinal transplantation into degenerative hosts differentiated iPSCs took up residence in the retinal outer nuclear layer and gave rise to increased electro retinal function as determined by ERG and functional anatomy. As such, adult fibroblast-derived iPSCs provide a viable source for the production of retinal precursors to be used for transplantation and treatment of retinal degenerative disease.
Project description:The reprogramming of human somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has broad applications in regenerative medicine. The generation of self-organized retinal structures from these iPSCs offers the opportunity to study retinal development and model-specific retinal disease with patient-specific iPSCs and provides the basis for cell replacement strategies. In this study, we demonstrated that the major type of glial cells of the human retina, Müller cells, can be reprogrammed into iPSCs that acquire classical signature of pluripotent stem cells. These Müller glial cell-derived iPSCs were able to differentiate toward retinal fate and generate concomitantly retinal pigmented epithelial cells and self-forming retinal organoid structures containing retinal progenitor cells. Retinal organoids recapitulated retinal neurogenesis with differentiation of retinal progenitor cells into all retinal cell types in a sequential overlapping order. With a modified retinal maturation protocol characterized by the presence of serum and high glucose levels, our study revealed that the retinal organoids contained pseudolaminated neural retina with important features reminiscent of mature photoreceptors, both rod and cone subtypes. This advanced maturation of photoreceptors not only supports the possibility to use 3D retinal organoids for studying photoreceptor development but also offers a novel opportunity for disease modeling, particularly for inherited retinal diseases.
Project description:The glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) family ligands (GFLs) [GDNF, NRTN (neurturin), ARTN (artemin), and PSPN (persephin)] interact with GDNF family receptors (GFRalphas) and activate intracellular signaling through the Ret receptor tyrosine kinase. To characterize the role of Ret signaling in retinal activity, we examined Ret hypomorphic and Ret conditional mice using electroretinography. We found that aberrant Ret function resulted in markedly diminished scotopic and photopic responses. Using mice deficient in individual GFLs, we found that only NRTN deficiency led to reduced retinal activity. To determine the potential target cell type for NRTN, we examined the retinal expression of its coreceptors (GFRalpha1 and GFRalpha2) and Ret using mice expressing fluorescence reporter enhanced green fluorescent protein from their respective loci. We found robust GFRalpha1 and Ret expression in horizontal, amacrine, and ganglion cells, whereas GFRalpha2 expression was only detected in a subset of amacrine and ganglion cells. In contrast to previous studies, no expression of GFRalpha1, GFRalpha2, or Ret was detected in photoreceptors or Müller cells, suggesting that these cells are not directly affected by Ret. Finally, detailed morphologic analyses of retinas from NRTN- and Ret-deficient mice demonstrated a reduction in normal horizontal cell dendrites and axons, abnormal extensions of horizontal cell and bipolar cell processes into the outer nuclear layer, and mislocalized synaptic complexes. These anatomic abnormalities indicate a possible basis for the abnormal retinal activity in the Ret and NRTN mutant mice.
Project description:The relevance of retinal diseases, both in society's economy and in the quality of people's life who suffer with them, has made stem cell therapy an interesting topic for research. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and adipose derived mesenchymal stem cells (ADMSCs) are the focus in current endeavors as a source of different retinal cells, such as photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelial cells. The aim is to apply them for cell replacement as an option for treating retinal diseases which so far are untreatable in their advanced stage. ESCs, despite the great potential for differentiation, have the dangerous risk of teratoma formation as well as ethical issues, which must be resolved before starting a clinical trial. iPSCs, like ESCs, are able to differentiate in to several types of retinal cells. However, the process to get them for personalized cell therapy has a high cost in terms of time and money. Researchers are working to resolve this since iPSCs seem to be a realistic option for treating retinal diseases. ADMSCs have the advantage that the procedures to obtain them are easier. Despite advancements in stem cell application, there are still several challenges that need to be overcome before transferring the research results to clinical application. This paper reviews recent research achievements of the applications of these three types of stem cells as well as clinical trials currently based on them.
Project description:The generation of vascular progenitors (VPs) from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) has great potential for treating vascular disorders such as ischemic retinopathies. However, long-term in vivo engraftment of hiPSC-derived VPs into the retina has not yet been reported. This goal may be limited by the low differentiation yield, greater senescence, and poor proliferation of hiPSC-derived vascular cells. To evaluate the potential of hiPSCs for treating ischemic retinopathies, we generated VPs from a repertoire of viral-integrated and nonintegrated fibroblast and cord blood (CB)-derived hiPSC lines and tested their capacity for homing and engrafting into murine retina in an ischemia-reperfusion model.VPs from human embryonic stem cells and hiPSCs were generated with an optimized vascular differentiation system. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting purification of human embryoid body cells differentially expressing endothelial/pericytic markers identified a CD31(+)CD146(+) VP population with high vascular potency. Episomal CB-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated these VPs with higher efficiencies than fibroblast-iPSC. Moreover, in contrast to fibroblast-iPSC-VPs, CB-iPSC-VPs maintained expression signatures more comparable to human embryonic stem cell VPs, expressed higher levels of immature vascular markers, demonstrated less culture senescence and sensitivity to DNA damage, and possessed fewer transmitted reprogramming errors. Luciferase transgene-marked VPs from human embryonic stem cells, CB-iPSCs, and fibroblast-iPSCs were injected systemically or directly into the vitreous of retinal ischemia-reperfusion-injured adult nonobese diabetic-severe combined immunodeficient mice. Only human embryonic stem cell- and CB-iPSC-derived VPs reliably homed and engrafted into injured retinal capillaries, with incorporation into damaged vessels for up to 45 days.VPs generated from CB-iPSCs possessed augmented capacity to home, integrate into, and repair damaged retinal vasculature.
Project description:We sought to determine if human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from blood could produce optic vesicle-like structures (OVs) with the capacity to stratify and express markers of intercellular communication.Activated T-lymphocytes from a routine peripheral blood sample were reprogrammed by retroviral transduction to iPSCs. The T-lymphocyte-derived iPSCs (TiPSCs) were characterized for pluripotency and differentiated to OVs using our previously published protocol. TiPSC-OVs were then manually isolated, pooled, and cultured en masse to more mature stages of retinogenesis. Throughout this stepwise differentiation process, changes in anterior neural, retinal, and synaptic marker expression were monitored by PCR, immunocytochemistry, and/or flow cytometry.TiPSCs generated abundant OVs, which contained a near homogeneous population of proliferating neuroretinal progenitor cells (NRPCs). These NRPCs differentiated into multiple neuroretinal cell types, similar to OV cultures from human embryonic stem cells and fibroblast-derived iPSCs. In addition, portions of some TiPSC-OVs maintained their distinctive neuroepithelial appearance and spontaneously formed primitive laminae, reminiscent of the developing retina. Retinal progeny from TiPSC-OV cultures expressed numerous genes and proteins critical for synaptogenesis and gap junction formation, concomitant with the emergence of glia and the upregulation of thrombospondins in culture.We demonstrate for the first time that human blood-derived iPSCs can generate retinal cell types, providing a highly convenient donor cell source for iPSC-based retinal studies. We also show that cultured TiPSC-OVs have the capacity to self-assemble into rudimentary neuroretinal structures and express markers indicative of chemical and electrical synapses.
Project description:Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are a type of stem cells that can be derived from human somatic cells by introducing certain transcription factors. Induced pluripotent stem cells can divide indefinitely and are able to differentiate into every cell type, which make them viable for transplantation and individual disease modeling. Recently, various ocular cells, including corneal epithelial-like cells, retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells displaying functions similar to native RPE, photoreceptors, and retinal ganglion cells, have all been successfully derived from iPSCs. Transplantation of these cells in animal models showed great promise for reversing blindness, and the first clinical trial on humans started in 2013. Despite these promising results, more research is in demand for preventing inadvertent tumor growth, developing precise functionality of the cells, and promoting integration into the host tissue.