Project description:The self-renewal and differentiation capacities of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) make them a promising source of material for cell transplantation therapy, drug development, and studies of cellular differentiation and development. However, the large numbers of cells necessary for many of these applications require extensive expansion of hPSC cultures, a process that has been associated with genetic and epigenetic alterations. We have performed a combinatorial study on both hESCs and hiPSCs to compare the effects of enzymatic vs. mechanical passaging, and feeder-free vs. mouse embryonic fibroblast feeder substrate, on the genetic and epigenetic stability and the phenotypic characteristics of hPSCs. In extensive experiments involving over 100 continuous passages, we observed that both enzymatic passaging and feeder-free culture were associated with genetic instability, higher rates of cell proliferation, and persistence of OCT4/POU5F1-positive cells in teratomas, with enzymatic passaging having the stronger effect. In all combinations of culture conditions except for mechanical passaging on feeder layers, we noted recurrent deletions in the genomic region containing the tumor suppressor gene TP53, which was associated with decreased mRNA expression of TP53, as well as alterations in the expression of several downstream genes consistent with a decrease in the activity of the TP53 pathway. Among the hESC cultures, we also observed culture-associated variations in global gene expression and DNA methylation. The effects of enzymatic passaging and feeder-free conditions were also observed in hiPSC cultures. Our results highlight the need for careful assessment of the effects of culture conditions on cells intended for clinical therapies.
Project description:Human embryonic stem cells (hESC) show great promise for clinical and research applications, but their well-known proneness to genomic instability hampers the development to their full potential. Here, we demonstrate that medium acidification linked to culture density is the main cause of DNA damage and genomic alterations in hESC grown on feeder layers, and this even in the short time span of a single passage. In line with this, we show that increasing the frequency of the medium refreshments minimizes the levels of DNA damage and genetic instability. Also, we show that cells cultured on laminin-521 do not present this increase in DNA damage when grown at high density, although the (long-term) impact on their genomic stability remains to be elucidated. Our results explain the high levels of genome instability observed over the years by many laboratories worldwide, and show that the development of optimal culture conditions is key to solving this problem.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To compare different biological characteristics of human embryonic stem cells (HESCs) between those with normal and those with abnormal karyotype. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Culture-adapted HESCs (chHES-3) with abnormal karyotype were compared with karyotypically normal cells, with regard to pluripotency and differentiation capacity, ultrastructure, growth characteristics, gene expression profiles and signalling pathways. RESULTS:We found a new abnormal karyotype of HESCs. We observed that chHES-3 cells with normal and abnormal karyotypes shared similarities in expression markers of pluripotency; however, karyotypically abnormal chHES-3 cells had a tendency for differentiation towards ectoderm lineages and were easily maintained in suboptimal culturing conditions. Abnormal chHES-3 cells displayed relatively mature cell organelles compared to normal cells, and karyotypically abnormal chHES-3 cells had increased survival and population growth. Genes related to cell proliferation and apoptosis were up-regulated, but genes associated with genetic instability (p53, Rb, BRCA1) were down-regulated in the karyotypically abnormal cells. CONCLUSION:Karyotypically abnormal chHES-3 cells had a more developed capacity for proliferation, resistance to apoptosis and less genetic stability compared to normal chHES-3 cells and may be an excellent model for studying and characterizing initial stages that determine transition of embryonic stem cells into cancer stem cells.
Project description:The self-renewal and differentiation capacities of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) make them good sources of cells for cell transplantation therapy, drug development, and studies of cellular differentiation and development. However, the large numbers of cells necessary for many of these applications require extensive expansion of hPSC cultures, a process that has been associated with applications require extensive expansion of hPSC cultures, a process that has been associated with genetic and epigenetic alterations. We have performed a systematic study over more than 100continuous passages to identify characteristics of culture conditions (including passage method, substrate, and media type) that influence the genetic and epigenetic stability and the phenotypic characteristics of hPSCs. The predominant effects we observed were increased genetic instability with enzymatic passage, higher cell proliferation with feeder-free substrate, and variations among cultures in global gene expression and DNA methylation with time in culture. We observed recurrent duplications in two genomic regions that have been noted in earlier studies to be hotspots for duplication in hPSCs, as well as a previously unreported recurrent deletion of the tumor suppressor gene TP53 in all but one of the long-term culture conditions; the exception was the condition using mechanical passaging on feeder layers. The deletion of TP53 is associated with decreased mRNA expression of TP53, as well as alterations in the expression of several other genes in the TP53 pathway, which taken together indicate a decrease in the function of the TP53 pathway. Our results highlight the need for careful assessment of effects of culture conditions on cells intended for clinical therapies. Total RNA extracted at different passages from Human Embryonic Stem Cells in different culture conditions. Total DNA extracted at different passages from Human Embryonic Stem Cells in different culture conditions.
Project description:Embryonic Stem Cells (ESCs) are expected to show a stable euploid karyotype, but in the last decade (sub)chromosomal aberrations have been systematically described in these cell lines when maintained in vitro. Culture conditions and long-term culture have been traditionally proposed as possible factors involved in the acquisition of chromosomal abnormalities. Thus, we analyzed the chromosome constitution, the undifferentiated state and the functional pluripotency of three different mouse ESCs grown under the same culture conditions. Two cell lines were unstable from early passages, whereas the third one retained its chromosome integrity after long-term culture despite using enzymatic methods for cell disaggregation. Trisomy 8 and 11 were clonally selected in both unstable cell lines, which also showed a higher growth rate than our normal cell line and suffered morphological changes in colony shape with increasing passage number. Regardless of the length of culture or the chromosome instability, all cell lines preserved their differentiation potential. These results confirm that double trisomy 8 and 11 confers a growth advantage to the abnormal cells, but not at the expense of cell differentiation. The presence of chromosome instability, widely related to tumor development and cancer disease, highlights the risk of using pluripotent cells in regenerative medicine.
Project description:Embryonic stem cells are intrinsically unstable and differentiate spontaneously if they are not shielded from external stimuli. Although the nature of such instability is still controversial, growing evidence suggests that protein translation control may play a crucial role.We performed an integrated analysis of RNA and proteins at the transition between naïve embryonic stem cells and cells primed to differentiate. During this transition, mRNAs coding for chromatin regulators are specifically released from translational inhibition mediated by RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). This suggests that, prior to differentiation, the propensity of embryonic stem cells to change their epigenetic status is hampered by RNA interference. The expression of these chromatin regulators is reinstated following acute inactivation of RISC and it correlates with loss of stemness markers and activation of early cell differentiation markers in treated embryonic stem cells.We propose that RISC-mediated inhibition of specific sets of chromatin regulators is a primary mechanism for preserving embryonic stem cell pluripotency while inhibiting the onset of embryonic developmental programs.
Project description:UNLABELLED: BACKGROUND: During normal development primordial germ cells (PGCs) derived from the epiblast are the precursors of spermatogonia and oogonia. In culture, PGCs can be induced to dedifferentiate to pluripotent embryonic germ (EG) cells in the presence of various growth factors. Several recent studies have now demonstrated that spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) can also revert back to pluripotency as embryonic stem (ES)-like cells under certain culture conditions. However, the potential dedifferentiation of SSCs into PGCs or the potential generation of oocytes from SSCs has not been demonstrated before. RESULTS: We report that mouse male SSCs can be converted into oocyte-like cells in culture. These SSCs-derived oocytes (SSC-Oocs) were similar in size to normal mouse mature oocytes. They expressed oocyte-specific markers and gave rise to embryos through parthenogenesis. Interestingly, the Y- and X-linked testis-specific genes in these SSC-Oocs were significantly down-regulated or turned off, while oocyte-specific X-linked genes were activated. The gene expression profile appeared to switch to that of the oocyte across the X chromosome. Furthermore, these oocyte-like cells lost paternal imprinting but acquired maternal imprinting. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that SSCs might maintain the potential to be reprogrammed into oocytes with corresponding epigenetic reversals. This study provides not only further evidence for the remarkable plasticity of SSCs but also a potential system for dissecting molecular and epigenetic regulations in germ cell fate determination and imprinting establishment during gametogenesis.
Project description:The occurrence of repetitive genomic changes that provide a selective growth advantage in pluripotent stem cells is of concern for their clinical application. However, the effect of different culture conditions on the underlying mutation rate is unknown. Here we show that the mutation rate in two human embryonic stem cell lines derived and banked for clinical application is low and not substantially affected by culture with Rho Kinase inhibitor, commonly used in their routine maintenance. However, the mutation rate is reduced by >50% in cells cultured under 5% oxygen, when we also found alterations in imprint methylation and reversible DNA hypomethylation. Mutations are evenly distributed across the chromosomes, except for a slight increase on the X-chromosome, and an elevation in intergenic regions suggesting that chromatin structure may affect mutation rate. Overall the results suggest that pluripotent stem cells are not subject to unusually high rates of genetic or epigenetic alterations.