Isolation and characterization of the murine Nanog gene promoter. (1/5687)

Nanog protein is expressed in the interior cells of compacted morulae and maintained till epiblasts but downregulated by implantation stage. It is also expressed in embryonic stem cells, embryonic carcinoma cells and embryonic germ cells but disappeared in differentiated ES cells. In this study, we have isolated, sequenced, and performed the first characterization of the Nanog promoter. The transcription start sites were mapped by primer extension analysis. Two promoter regions were found upstream the transcription start sites and the expression of major Nanog promoter/reporter gene construct is abolished in differentiated F9 EC cells as compared to the undifferentiated counterpart. We also showed that a putative octamer motif (ATGCAAAA) is necessary for the major promoter activity. Gel shift and supershift assays showed that Oct-1, Oct-4 and Oct-6 protein selectively bind to the octamer motif.  (+info)

Human embryonic stem cell lines derived from the Chinese population. (2/5687)

Six human embryonic stem cell lines were established from surplus blastocysts. The cell lines expressed alkaline phosphatase and molecules typical of primate embryonic stem cells, including Oct-4, Nanog, TDGF1, Sox2, EBAF, Thy-1, FGF4, Rex-1, SSEA-3, SSEA-4, TRA-1-60 and TRA-1-81. Five of the six lines formed embryoid bodies that expressed markers of a variety of cell types; four of them formed teratomas with tissue types representative of all three embryonic germ layers. These human embryonic stem cells are capable of producing clones of undifferentiated morphology, and one of them was propagated to become a subline. Human embryonic stem cell lines from the Chinese population should facilitate stem cell research and may be valuable in studies of population genetics and ecology.  (+info)

Derivation of multipotent mesenchymal precursors from human embryonic stem cells. (3/5687)

BACKGROUND: Human embryonic stem cells provide access to the earliest stages of human development and may serve as a source of specialized cells for regenerative medicine. Thus, it becomes crucial to develop protocols for the directed differentiation of embryonic stem cells into tissue-restricted precursors. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Here, we present culture conditions for the derivation of unlimited numbers of pure mesenchymal precursors from human embryonic stem cells and demonstrate multilineage differentiation into fat, cartilage, bone, and skeletal muscle cells. CONCLUSION: Our findings will help to elucidate the mechanism of mesoderm specification during embryonic stem cell differentiation and provide a platform to efficiently generate specialized human mesenchymal cell types for future clinical applications.  (+info)

Identification and isolation of embryonic stem cells in reproductive endocrinology: theoretical protocols for conservation of human embryos derived from in vitro fertilization. (4/5687)

BACKGROUND: Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are pluripotent cells obtained from the inner cell mass (ICM) of blastocysts derived from in vitro culture associated with reproductive endocrinology therapy. Human ESCs are regarded as highly significant since they retain the capacity to differentiate into any of approximately 200 unique cell types. Human ESC research is controversial because to acquire such cells, the ICM of human blastocysts must be manipulated in a way that renders embryos nonviable and unsuitable for transfer in utero. Techniques to yield competent ESCs with conservation of source blastocysts would satisfy many objections against ESC research, but at present such approaches remain largely untested. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: We contrast experimental culture of single blastomeres obtained by 1) non-destructive biopsy of embryos destined for transfer, and 2) isolation of karyotypically normal blastomeres from disaggregated ("dead") embryos considered unsuitable for transfer, and evaluate these approaches with regard to production of ESCs. Pluripotency was confirmed by morphological criteria and by quantification of divergent homeodomain proteins specific to undifferentiated cell development. Following ESC isolation and identification, assessment was conducted according to a novel ESC grading system, also proposed here. CONCLUSION: The role of reproductive endocrinology in ESC research remains paramount. In this report, we hypothesize new and expand on existing strategies having the potential to enhance human ESC isolation, identification and in vitro maintenance.  (+info)

LIF and BMP signaling generate separate and discrete types of GFAP-expressing cells. (5/5687)

Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) signaling both promote the differentiation of neural stem/progenitor cells into glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunoreactive cells. This study compares the cellular and molecular characteristics, and the potentiality, of GFAP(+) cells generated by these different signaling pathways. Treatment of cultured embryonic subventricular zone (SVZ) progenitor cells with LIF generates GFAP(+) cells that have a bipolar/tripolar morphology, remain in cell cycle, contain progenitor cell markers and demonstrate self-renewal with enhanced neurogenesis - characteristics that are typical of adult SVZ and subgranular zone (SGZ) stem cells/astrocytes. By contrast, BMP-induced GFAP(+) cells are stellate, exit the cell cycle, and lack progenitor traits and self-renewal--characteristics that are typical of astrocytes in the non-neurogenic adult cortex. In vivo, transgenic overexpression of BMP4 increases the number of GFAP(+) astrocytes but depletes the GFAP(+) progenitor cell pool, whereas transgenic inhibition of BMP signaling increases the size of the GFAP(+) progenitor cell pool but reduces the overall numbers of astrocytes. We conclude that LIF and BMP signaling generate different astrocytic cell types, and propose that these cells are, respectively, adult progenitor cells and mature astrocytes.  (+info)

Embryonic stem cells cultured in biodegradable scaffold repair infarcted myocardium in mice. (6/5687)

Our previous findings demonstrated that directly injecting embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into ischemic region of the heart improved cardiac function in animals with experimental myocardial infarction (MI). Tissue engineering with stem cells may provide tissue creation and repair. This study was designed to investigate the effectiveness of grafting of ESC-seeded biodegradable patch on infarcted heart. MI in mice was induced by ligation of the left coronary artery. Mouse ESCs were seeded on polyglycolic-acid (PGA) material patches. Three days after culture, an ESC-seeded patch was transplanted on the surface of ischemic and peri-ischemic myocardium. Eight weeks after MI operation and patch transplantation, hemodynamics and cardiac function were evaluated in four (sham-operated, MI, MI + cell-free patch, and MI + ESC-patch) groups of mice. The blood pressure and left ventricular function were significantly reduced in the MI animals. Compared with MI alone and MI + cell-free patch groups, the animals received MI + ESC-seeded patches significantly improved blood pressure and ventricular function. The survival rate of the MI mice grafted with MI + ESC-seeded patches was markedly higher than that in MI alone or MI + cell-free patch animals. GFP-positive tissue was detected in infarcted area with grafting of ESC-seeded patch, which suggests the survivors of ESCs and possible myocardial regeneration. Our data demonstrate that grafting of ESC-seeded bioabsorbable patch can repair infarcted myocardium and improve cardiac function in MI mice. This novel approach of combining stem cells and biodegradable materials may provide a therapeutic modality for repairing injured heart.  (+info)

Neural induction promotes large-scale chromatin reorganisation of the Mash1 locus. (7/5687)

Determining how genes are epigenetically regulated to ensure their correct spatial and temporal expression during development is key to our understanding of cell lineage commitment. Here we examined epigenetic changes at an important proneural regulator gene Mash1 (Ascl1), as embryonic stem (ES) cells commit to the neural lineage. In ES cells where the Mash1 gene is transcriptionally repressed, the locus replicated late in S phase and was preferentially positioned at the nuclear periphery with other late-replicating genes (Neurod, Sprr2a). This peripheral location was coupled with low levels of histone H3K9 acetylation at the Mash1 promoter and enhanced H3K27 methylation but surprisingly location was not affected by removal of the Ezh2/Eed HMTase complex or several other chromatin-silencing candidates (G9a, SuV39h-1, Dnmt-1, Dnmt-3a and Dnmt-3b). Upon neural induction however, Mash1 transcription was upregulated (>100-fold), switched its time of replication from late to early in S phase and relocated towards the interior of the nucleus. This spatial repositioning was selective for neural commitment because Mash1 was peripheral in ES-derived mesoderm and other non-neural cell types. A bidirectional analysis of replication timing across a 2 Mb region flanking the Mash1 locus showed that chromatin changes were focused at Mash1. These results suggest that Mash1 is regulated by changes in chromatin structure and location and implicate the nuclear periphery as an important environment for maintaining the undifferentiated state of ES cells.  (+info)

Transcriptional profiling of reporter genes used for molecular imaging of embryonic stem cell transplantation. (8/5687)

Stem cell therapy offers exciting promise for treatment of ischemic heart disease. Recent advances in molecular imaging techniques now allow investigators to monitor cell fate noninvasively and repetitively. Here we examine the effects of a triple-fusion reporter gene on embryonic stem (ES) cell transcriptional profiles. Murine ES cells were stably transfected with a self-inactivating lentiviral vector carrying a triple-fusion (TF) construct consisting of fluorescence, bioluminescence, and positron emission tomography (PET) reporter genes. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis allowed isolation of stably transfected populations. Microarray studies comparing gene expression in nontransduced control ES cells vs. stably transduced ES cells expressing triple fusion (ES-TF) revealed some increases in transcriptional variability. Annotation analysis showed that ES-TF cells downregulated cell cycling, cell death, and protein and nucleic acid metabolism genes while upregulating homeostatic and anti-apoptosis genes. Despite these transcriptional changes, expression of the TF reporter gene had no significant effects on ES cell viability, proliferation, and differentiation capability. Importantly, transplantation studies in murine myocardium demonstrated the feasibility of tracking ES-TF cells in living subjects using bioluminescence and PET imaging. Taken together, this is the first study to analyze in detail the effects of reporter genes on molecular imaging of ES cells.  (+info)