Project description:With extended stays aboard the International Space Station (ISS) becoming commonplace, there is a need to better understand the effects of microgravity on cardiac function. We utilized human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) to study the effects of microgravity on cell-level cardiac function and gene expression. The hiPSC-CMs were cultured aboard the ISS for 5.5 weeks and their gene expression, structure, and functions were compared to ground control hiPSC-CMs. Exposure to microgravity on the ISS caused alterations in hiPSC-CM calcium handling. RNA-sequencing analysis demonstrated 2,635 genes were differentially expressed among flight, post-flight, and ground control samples, including genes involved in mitochondrial metabolism. This study represents the first use of hiPSCs to model the effects of spaceflight on human cardiomyocyte structure and function. Overall design: Examination of the effect of microgravity exposure on mRNA expression.
Project description:Cardiomyocytes differentiated from human pluripotent stem cells can serve as an unexhausted source for a cellular cardiac disease model. Although small molecule-mediated cardiomyocyte differentiation methods have been established, the differentiation efficiency is relatively unsatisfactory in multiple lines due to line-to-line variation. Additionally, hurdles including line-specific low expression of endogenous growth factors and the high apoptotic tendency of human pluripotent stem cells also need to be overcome to establish robust and efficient cardiomyocyte differentiation.We used the H9-human cardiac troponin T-eGFP reporter cell line to screen for small molecules that promote cardiac differentiation in a monolayer-based and growth factor-free differentiation model. We found that collaterally treating human pluripotent stem cells with rapamycin and CHIR99021 during the initial stage was essential for efficient and reliable cardiomyocyte differentiation. Moreover, this method maintained consistency in efficiency across different human embryonic stem cell and human induced pluripotent stem cell lines without specifically optimizing multiple parameters (the efficiency in H7, H9, and UQ1 human induced pluripotent stem cells is 98.3%, 93.3%, and 90.6%, respectively). This combination also increased the yield of cardiomyocytes (1:24) and at the same time reduced medium consumption by about 50% when compared with the previous protocols. Further analysis indicated that inhibition of the mammalian target of rapamycin allows efficient cardiomyocyte differentiation through overcoming p53-dependent apoptosis of human pluripotent stem cells during high-density monolayer culture via blunting p53 translation and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production.We have demonstrated that mammalian target of rapamycin exerts a stage-specific and multifaceted regulation over cardiac differentiation and provides an optimized approach for generating large numbers of functional cardiomyocytes for disease modeling and in vitro drug screening.
Project description:Spaceflight results in a number of adaptations to skeletal muscle, including atrophy and shifts toward faster muscle fiber types. To identify changes in gene expression that may underlie these adaptations, we used both microarray expression analysis and real-time polymerase chain reaction to quantify shifts in mRNA levels in the gastrocnemius from mice flown on the 11-day, 19-h STS-108 shuttle flight and from normal gravity controls. Spaceflight data also were compared with the ground-based unloading model of hindlimb suspension, with one group of pure suspension and one of suspension followed by 3.5 h of reloading to mimic the time between landing and euthanization of the spaceflight mice. Analysis of microarray data revealed that 272 mRNAs were significantly altered by spaceflight, the majority of which displayed similar responses to hindlimb suspension, whereas reloading tended to counteract these responses. Several mRNAs altered by spaceflight were associated with muscle growth, including the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase regulatory subunit p85alpha, insulin response substrate-1, the forkhead box O1 transcription factor, and MAFbx/atrogin1. Moreover, myostatin mRNA expression tended to increase, whereas mRNA levels of the myostatin inhibitor FSTL3 tended to decrease, in response to spaceflight. In addition, mRNA levels of the slow oxidative fiber-associated transcriptional coactivator peroxisome proliferator-associated receptor (PPAR)-gamma coactivator-1alpha and the transcription factor PPAR-alpha were significantly decreased in spaceflight gastrocnemius. Finally, spaceflight resulted in a significant decrease in levels of the microRNA miR-206. Together these data demonstrate that spaceflight induces significant changes in mRNA expression of genes associated with muscle growth and fiber type.
Project description:The environment experienced during spaceflight may impact the immune system and the thymus appears to undergo atrophy during spaceflight. However, molecular aspects of this thymic atrophy remain to be elucidated. In this study, we analysed the thymi of mice on board the international space station (ISS) for approximately 1 month. Thymic size was significantly reduced after spaceflight. Notably, exposure of mice to 1?×?g using centrifugation cages in the ISS significantly mitigated the reduction in thymic size. Although spaceflight caused thymic atrophy, the global thymic structure was not largely changed. However, RNA sequencing analysis of the thymus showed significantly reduced expression of cell cycle-regulating genes in two independent spaceflight samples. These reductions were partially countered by 1?×?g exposure during the space flights. Thus, our data suggest that spaceflight leads to reduced proliferation of thymic cells, thereby reducing the size of the thymus, and exposure to 1?×?g might alleviate the impairment of thymus homeostasis induced by spaceflight.
Project description:Although methods for generating cardiomyocytes from pluripotent stem cells have been reported, current methods produce heterogeneous mixtures of cardiomyocytes and noncardiomyocyte cells. Here, we report an entirely novel system in which pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes are purified by cardiomyocyte-specific molecular beacons (MBs). MBs are nanoscale probes that emit a fluorescence signal when hybridized to target mRNAs.Five MBs targeting mRNAs of either cardiac troponin T or myosin heavy chain 6/7 were generated. Among 5 MBs, an MB that targeted myosin heavy chain 6/7 mRNA (MHC1-MB) identified up to 99% of HL-1 cardiomyocytes, a mouse cardiomyocyte cell line, but <3% of 4 noncardiomyocyte cell types in flow cytometry analysis, which indicates that MHC1-MB is specific for identifying cardiomyocytes. We delivered MHC1-MB into cardiomyogenically differentiated pluripotent stem cells through nucleofection. The detection rate of cardiomyocytes was similar to the percentages of cardiac troponin T- or cardiac troponin I-positive cardiomyocytes, which supports the specificity of MBs. Finally, MHC1-MB-positive cells were sorted by fluorescence-activated cell sorter from mouse and human pluripotent stem cell differentiating cultures, and ?97% cells expressed cardiac troponin T or cardiac troponin I as determined by flow cytometry. These MB-based sorted cells maintained their cardiomyocyte characteristics, which was verified by spontaneous beating, electrophysiological studies, and expression of cardiac proteins. When transplanted in a myocardial infarction model, MB-based purified cardiomyocytes improved cardiac function and demonstrated significant engraftment for 4 weeks without forming tumors.We developed a novel cardiomyocyte selection system that allows production of highly purified cardiomyocytes. These purified cardiomyocytes and this system can be valuable for cell therapy and drug discovery.
Project description:Geometric factors including the size, shape, density, and spacing of pluripotent stem cell colonies play a significant role in the maintenance of pluripotency and in cell fate determination. These factors are impossible to control using standard tissue culture methods. As such, there can be substantial batch-to-batch variability in cell line maintenance and differentiation yield. Here, we demonstrate a simple, robust technique for pluripotent stem cell expansion and cardiomyocyte differentiation by patterning cell colonies with a silicone stencil. We have observed that patterning human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) colonies improves the uniformity and repeatability of their size, density, and shape. Uniformity of colony geometry leads to improved homogeneity in the expression of pluripotency markers SSEA4 and Nanog as compared with conventional clump passaging. Patterned cell colonies are capable of undergoing directed differentiation into spontaneously beating cardiomyocyte clusters with improved yield and repeatability over unpatterned cultures seeded either as cell clumps or uniform single cell suspensions. Circular patterns result in a highly repeatable 3D ring-shaped band of cardiomyocytes which electrically couple and lead to propagating contraction waves around the ring. Because of these advantages, geometrically patterning stem cells using stencils may offer greater repeatability from batch-to-batch and person-to-person, an increase in differentiation yield, a faster experimental workflow, and a simpler protocol to communicate and follow. Furthermore, the ability to control where cardiomyocytes arise across a culture well during differentiation could greatly aid the design of electrophysiological assays for drug-screening.
Project description:The proliferation of cardiomyocytes is highly restricted after postnatal maturation, limiting heart regeneration. Elucidation of the regulatory machineries for the proliferation and growth arrest of cardiomyocytes is imperative. Chemical biology is efficient to dissect molecular mechanisms of various cellular events and often provides therapeutic potentials. We have been investigating cardiovascular differentiation with pluripotent stem cells. The combination of stem cell and chemical biology can provide novel approaches to investigate the molecular mechanisms and manipulation of cardiomyocyte proliferation.To identify chemicals that regulate cardiomyocyte proliferation, we performed a screening of a defined chemical library based on proliferation of mouse pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and identified 4 chemical compound groups: inhibitors of glycogen synthase kinase-3, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II, and activators of extracellular signal-regulated kinase. Several appropriate combinations of chemicals synergistically enhanced proliferation of cardiomyocytes derived from both mouse and human pluripotent stem cells, notably up to a 14-fold increase in mouse cardiomyocytes. We also examined the effects of identified chemicals on cardiomyocytes in various developmental stages and species. Whereas extracellular signal-regulated kinase activators and Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II inhibitors showed proliferative effects only on cardiomyocytes in early developmental stages, glycogen synthase kinase-3 and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitors substantially and synergistically induced re-entry and progression of cell cycle in neonatal but also as well as adult cardiomyocytes.Our approach successfully uncovered novel molecular targets and mechanisms controlling cardiomyocyte proliferation in distinct developmental stages and offered pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes as a potent tool to explore chemical-based cardiac regenerative strategies.
Project description:Understanding the effects of spaceflight on microbial communities is crucial for the success of long-term, manned space missions. Surface-associated bacterial communities, known as biofilms, were abundant on the Mir space station and continue to be a challenge on the International Space Station. The health and safety hazards linked to the development of biofilms are of particular concern due to the suppression of immune function observed during spaceflight. While planktonic cultures of microbes have indicated that spaceflight can lead to increases in growth and virulence, the effects of spaceflight on biofilm development and physiology remain unclear. To address this issue, Pseudomonas aeruginosa was cultured during two Space Shuttle Atlantis missions: STS-132 and STS-135, and the biofilms formed during spaceflight were characterized. Spaceflight was observed to increase the number of viable cells, biofilm biomass, and thickness relative to normal gravity controls. Moreover, the biofilms formed during spaceflight exhibited a column-and-canopy structure that has not been observed on Earth. The increase in the amount of biofilms and the formation of the novel architecture during spaceflight were observed to be independent of carbon source and phosphate concentrations in the media. However, flagella-driven motility was shown to be essential for the formation of this biofilm architecture during spaceflight. These findings represent the first evidence that spaceflight affects community-level behaviors of bacteria and highlight the importance of understanding how both harmful and beneficial human-microbe interactions may be altered during spaceflight.
Project description:Human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs) exhibit a fetal phenotype that limits in vitro and therapeutic applications. Strategies to promote cardiomyocyte maturation have focused interventions on differentiated hPSC-CMs, but this study tests priming of early cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (pIC) to accelerate cardiomyocyte maturation. CPCs were differentiated from hPSCs using a monolayer differentiation protocol with defined small molecule Wnt temporal modulation, and pIC was added during the formation of early CPCs. pIC priming did not alter the expression of cell surface markers for CPCs (>80% KDR+/PDGFR?+), expression of common cardiac transcription factors, or final purity of differentiated hPSC-CMs (?90%). However, CPC differentiation in basal medium revealed that pIC priming resulted in hPSC-CMs with enhanced maturity manifested by increased cell size, greater contractility, faster electrical upstrokes, increased oxidative metabolism, and more mature sarcomeric structure and composition. To investigate the mechanisms of CPC priming, RNAseq revealed that cardiac progenitor-stage pIC modulated early Notch signaling and cardiomyogenic transcriptional programs. Chromatin immunoprecipitation of CPCs showed that pIC treatment increased deposition of the H3K9ac activating epigenetic mark at core promoters of cardiac myofilament genes and the Notch ligand, JAG1. Inhibition of Notch signaling blocked the effects of pIC on differentiation and cardiomyocyte maturation. Furthermore, primed CPCs showed more robust formation of hPSC-CMs grafts when transplanted to the NSGW mouse kidney capsule. Overall, epigenetic modulation of CPCs with pIC accelerates cardiomyocyte maturation enabling basic research applications and potential therapeutic uses. Stem Cells 2019;37:910-923.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family is essential to normal heart development. Yet, its contribution to cardiomyocyte differentiation from stem cells has not been systemically studied. In this study, we examined the mechanisms and characters of cardiomyocyte differentiation from FGF family protein treated embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We used mouse ES cells stably transfected with a cardiac-specific ?-myosin heavy chain (?MHC) promoter-driven enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) and mouse iPS cells to investigate cardiomyocyte differentiation. During cardiomyocyte differentiation from mouse ES cells, FGF-3, -8, -10, -11, -13 and -15 showed an expression pattern similar to the mesodermal marker Brachyury and the cardiovascular progenitor marker Flk-1. Among them, FGF-10 induced cardiomyocyte differentiation in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. FGF-10 neutralizing antibody, small molecule FGF receptor antagonist PD173074 and FGF-10 and FGF receptor-2 short hairpin RNAs inhibited cardiomyocyte differentiation. FGF-10 also increased mouse iPS cell differentiation into cardiomyocyte lineage, and this effect was abolished by FGF-10 neutralizing antibody or PD173074. Following Gene Ontology analysis, microarray data indicated that genes involved in cardiac development were upregulated after FGF-10 treatment. In vivo, intramyocardial co-administration of FGF-10 and ES cells demonstrated that FGF-10 also promoted cardiomyocyte differentiation. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: FGF-10 induced cardiomyocyte differentiation from ES cells and iPS cells, which may have potential for translation into clinical applications.