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See detailMajor changes of cell function and toxicant sensitivity in cultured cells undergoing mild, quasi-natural genetic drift
Gutbier, Simon; May, Patrick UL; Berthelot, Sylvie et al

in Archives of Toxicology (2018)

Genomic drift affects the functional properties of cell lines, and the reproducibility of data from in vitro studies. While chromosomal aberrations and mutations in single pivotal genes are well explored ... [more ▼]

Genomic drift affects the functional properties of cell lines, and the reproducibility of data from in vitro studies. While chromosomal aberrations and mutations in single pivotal genes are well explored, little is known about effects of minor, possibly pleiotropic, genome changes. We addressed this question for the human dopaminergic neuronal precursor cell line LUHMES by comparing two subpopulations (SP) maintained either at the American-Type-Culture-Collection (ATCC) or by the original provider (UKN). Drastic differences in susceptibility towards the specific dopaminergic toxicant 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+) were observed. Whole-genome sequencing was performed to identify underlying genetic differences. While both SP had normal chromosome structures, they displayed about 70 differences on the level of amino acid changing events. Some of these differences were confirmed biochemically, but none offered a direct explanation for the altered toxicant sensitivity pattern. As second approach, markers known to be relevant for the intended use of the cells were specifically tested. The “ATCC” cells rapidly down-regulated the dopamine-transporter and tyrosine-hydroxylase after differentiation, while “UKN” cells maintained functional levels. As the respective genes were not altered themselves, we conclude that polygenic complex upstream changes can have drastic effects on biochemical features and toxicological responses of relatively similar SP of cells. [less ▲]

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See detailConversion of non-proliferating astrocytes into neurogenic neural stem cells: control by FGF2 and IFN-gamma
Kleiderman, Susanne; Gutbier, Simon; Tufekci, Kemal U. et al

in Stem Cells (2016), 34(12), 28612874

Conversion of astrocytes to neurons, via de-differentiation to neural stem cells (NSC), may be a new approach to treat neurodegenerative diseases and brain injuries. The signaling factors affecting such a ... [more ▼]

Conversion of astrocytes to neurons, via de-differentiation to neural stem cells (NSC), may be a new approach to treat neurodegenerative diseases and brain injuries. The signaling factors affecting such a cell conversion are poorly understood, and they are hard to identify in complex disease models or conventional cell cultures. To address this question, we developed a serum-free, strictly controlled culture system of pure and homogeneous ‘astrocytes generated form murine embryonic stem cells (ESC)’. These stem cell derived astrocytes (mAGES), as well as standard primary astrocytes resumed proliferation upon addition of FGF. The signaling of FGF receptor tyrosine kinase converted GFAP-positive mAGES to nestin-positive NSC. ERK phosphorylation was necessary, but not sufficient, for cell cycle re-entry, as EGF triggered no de-differentiation. The NSC obtained by de-differentiation of mAGES were similar to those obtained directly by differentiation of ESC, as evidenced by standard phenotyping, and also by transcriptome mapping, metabolic profiling, and by differentiation to neurons or astrocytes. The de-differentiation was negatively affected by inflammatory mediators, and in particular, interferon gamma (IFNγ) strongly impaired the formation of NSC from mAGES by a pathway involving phosphorylation of STAT1, but not the generation of nitric oxide. Thus, two antagonistic signaling pathways were identified here that affect fate conversion of astrocytes independent of genetic manipulation. The complex interplay of the respective signaling molecules that promote/inhibit astrocyte de-differentiation may explain why astrocytes do not readily form neural stem cells in most diseases. Increased knowledge of such factors may provide therapeutic opportunities to favor such conversions. [less ▲]

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See detailFunctional and phenotypic differences of pure populations of stem cell-derived astrocytes and neuronal precursor cells
Kleiderman, Susanne; Sá, Joao; Teixeira, Ana et al

in Glia (2016), 64(5), 695-715

Availability of homogeneous astrocyte populations would facilitate research concerning cell plasticity (metabolic and transcriptional adaptations; innate immune responses) and cell cycle reactivation ... [more ▼]

Availability of homogeneous astrocyte populations would facilitate research concerning cell plasticity (metabolic and transcriptional adaptations; innate immune responses) and cell cycle reactivation. Current protocols to prepare astrocyte cultures differ in their final content of immature precursor cells, pre-activated cells or entirely different cell types. A new method taking care of all these issues would improve research on astrocyte functions. We found here that the exposure of a defined population of pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem cells (NSC) to BMP4 results in pure, non-proliferating astrocyte cultures within 24-48 h. These murine astrocytes generated from embryonic stem cells (mAGES) expressed the positive markers GFAP, aquaporin 4 and GLT-1, supported neuronal function, and acquired innate immune functions such as the response to TNF and IL-1. The protocol was applicable to several normal or disease-prone pluripotent cell lines, and the corresponding mAGES all exited the cell cycle and lost most of their nestin expression, in contrast to astrocytes generated by serum-addition or obtained as primary cultures. Comparative gene expression analysis of mAGES and NSC allowed quantification of differences between the two cell types and a definition of an improved maker set to define astrocytes. Inclusion of several published data sets in this transcriptome comparison revealed the similarity of mAGES with cortical astrocytes in vivo. Metabolic analysis of homogeneous NSC and astrocyte populations revealed distinct neurochemical features: both cell types synthesized glutamine and citrate, but only mature astrocytes released these metabolites. Thus, the homogeneous cultures allowed an improved definition of NSC and astrocyte features. [less ▲]

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