Cell ablation is a powerful tool for studying cell lineage and/or function; however, current cell-ablation models have limitations. Intermedilysin (ILY), a cytolytic pore-forming toxin that is secreted by
Dechun Feng, Shen Dai, Fengming Liu, Yosuke Ohtake, Zhou Zhou, Hua Wang, Yonggang Zhang, Alison Kearns, Xiao Peng, Faliang Zhu, Umar Hayat, Man Li, Yong He, Mingjiang Xu, Chunling Zhao, Min Cheng, Lining Zhang, Hong Wang, Xiaofeng Yang, Cynthia Ju, Elizabeth C. Bryda, Jennifer Gordon, Kamel Khalili, Wenhui Hu, Shuxin Li, Xuebin Qin, Bin Gao
Hemodynamic shear forces are intimately linked with cardiac development, during which trabeculae form a network of branching outgrowths from the myocardium. Mutations that alter Notch signaling also result in trabeculation defects. Here, we assessed whether shear stress modulates trabeculation to influence contractile function. Specifically, we acquired 4D (3D + time) images with light sheets by selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) for rapid scanning and deep axial penetration during zebrafish morphogenesis. Reduction of blood viscosity via
Juhyun Lee, Peng Fei, René R. Sevag Packard, Hanul Kang, Hao Xu, Kyung In Baek, Nelson Jen, Junjie Chen, Hilary Yen, C.-C. Jay Kuo, Neil C. Chi, Chih-Ming Ho, Rongsong Li, Tzung K. Hsiai
Here, we have described and validated a strategy for monitoring skeletal muscle protein synthesis rates in rodents and humans over days or weeks from blood samples. We based this approach on label incorporation into proteins that are synthesized specifically in skeletal muscle and escape into the circulation. Heavy water labeling combined with sensitive tandem mass spectrometric analysis allowed integrated synthesis rates of proteins in muscle tissue across the proteome to be measured over several weeks. Fractional synthesis rate (FSR) of plasma creatine kinase M-type (CK-M) and carbonic anhydrase 3 (CA-3) in the blood, more than 90% of which is derived from skeletal muscle, correlated closely with FSR of CK-M, CA-3, and other proteins of various ontologies in skeletal muscle tissue in both rodents and humans. Protein synthesis rates across the muscle proteome generally changed in a coordinate manner in response to a sprint interval exercise training regimen in humans and to denervation or clenbuterol treatment in rodents. FSR of plasma CK-M and CA-3 revealed changes and interindividual differences in muscle tissue proteome dynamics. In human subjects, sprint interval training primarily stimulated synthesis of structural and glycolytic proteins. Together, our results indicate that this approach provides a virtual biopsy, sensitively revealing individualized changes in proteome-wide synthesis rates in skeletal muscle without a muscle biopsy. Accordingly, this approach has potential applications for the diagnosis, management, and treatment of muscle disorders.
Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Chelsea L. King, Thomas E. Angel, William E. Holmes, Kelvin W. Li, Marc Colangelo, John C. Price, Scott M. Turner, Christopher Bell, Karyn L. Hamilton, Benjamin F. Miller, Marc K. Hellerstein
Magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) facilitates noninvasive image-guided conformal thermal therapy of cancer. Yet in many scenarios, the sensitive tissues surrounding the tumor constrain the margins of ablation; therefore, augmentation of MRgFUS with chemotherapy may be required to destroy remaining tumor. Here, we used 64Cu-PET-CT, MRI, autoradiography, and fluorescence imaging to track the kinetics of long-circulating liposomes in immunocompetent mammary carcinoma–bearing FVB/n and BALB/c mice. We observed a 5-fold and 50-fold enhancement of liposome and drug concentration, respectively, within MRgFUS thermal ablation–treated tumors along with dense accumulation within the surrounding tissue rim. Ultrasound-enhanced drug accumulation was rapid and durable and greatly increased total tumor drug exposure over time. In addition, we found that the small molecule gadoteridol accumulates around and within ablated tissue. We further demonstrated that dilated vasculature, loss of vascular integrity resulting in extravasation of blood cells, stromal inflammation, and loss of cell-cell adhesion and tissue architecture all contribute to the enhanced accumulation of the liposomes and small molecule probe. The locally enhanced liposome accumulation was preserved even after a multiweek protocol of doxorubicin-loaded liposomes and partial ablation. Finally, by supplementing ablation with concurrent liposomal drug therapy, a complete and durable response was obtained using protocols for which a sub-mm rim of tumor remained after ablation.
Andrew W. Wong, Brett Z. Fite, Yu Liu, Azadeh Kheirolomoom, Jai W. Seo, Katherine D. Watson, Lisa M. Mahakian, Sarah M. Tam, Hua Zhang, Josquin Foiret, Alexander D. Borowsky, Katherine W. Ferrara
Increased sodium influx via incomplete inactivation of the major cardiac sodium channel NaV1.5 is correlated with an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in humans. Here, we sought to determine whether increased sodium entry is sufficient to cause the structural and electrophysiological perturbations that are required to initiate and sustain AF. We used mice expressing a human NaV1.5 variant with a mutation in the anesthetic-binding site (F1759A-NaV1.5) and demonstrated that incomplete Na+ channel inactivation is sufficient to drive structural alterations, including atrial and ventricular enlargement, myofibril disarray, fibrosis and mitochondrial injury, and electrophysiological dysfunctions that together lead to spontaneous and prolonged episodes of AF in these mice. Using this model, we determined that the increase in a persistent sodium current causes heterogeneously prolonged action potential duration and rotors, as well as wave and wavelets in the atria, and thereby mimics mechanistic theories that have been proposed for AF in humans. Acute inhibition of the sodium-calcium exchanger, which targets the downstream effects of enhanced sodium entry, markedly reduced the burden of AF and ventricular arrhythmias in this model, suggesting a potential therapeutic approach for AF. Together, our results indicate that these mice will be important for assessing the cellular mechanisms and potential effectiveness of antiarrhythmic therapies.
Elaine Wan, Jeffrey Abrams, Richard L. Weinberg, Alexander N. Katchman, Joseph Bayne, Sergey I. Zakharov, Lin Yang, John P. Morrow, Hasan Garan, Steven O. Marx
Optical imaging of whole, living animals has proven to be a powerful tool in multiple areas of preclinical research and has allowed noninvasive monitoring of immune responses, tumor and pathogen growth, and treatment responses in longitudinal studies. However, fluorescence-based studies in animals are challenging because tissue absorbs and autofluoresces strongly in the visible light spectrum. These optical properties drive development and use of fluorescent labels that absorb and emit at longer wavelengths. Here, we present a far-red absorbing fluoromodule–based reporter/probe system and show that this system can be used for imaging in living mice. The probe we developed is a fluorogenic dye called SC1 that is dark in solution but highly fluorescent when bound to its cognate reporter, Mars1. The reporter/probe complex, or fluoromodule, produced peak emission near 730 nm. Mars1 was able to bind a variety of structurally similar probes that differ in color and membrane permeability. We demonstrated that a tool kit of multiple probes can be used to label extracellular and intracellular reporter–tagged receptor pools with 2 colors. Imaging studies may benefit from this far-red excited reporter/probe system, which features tight coupling between probe fluorescence and reporter binding and offers the option of using an expandable family of fluorogenic probes with a single reporter gene.
Ming Zhang, Subhasish K. Chakraborty, Padma Sampath, Juan J. Rojas, Weizhou Hou, Saumya Saurabh, Steve H. Thorne, Marcel P. Bruchez, Alan S. Waggoner
Cyclic dinucleotides (CDNs) are agonists of stimulator of IFN genes (STING) and have potential as vaccine adjuvants. However, cyclic di-GMP (cdGMP) injected s.c. shows minimal uptake into lymphatics/draining lymph nodes (dLNs) and instead is rapidly distributed to the bloodstream, leading to systemic inflammation. Here, we encapsulated cdGMP within PEGylated lipid nanoparticles (NP-cdGMP) to redirect this adjuvant to dLNs. Compared with unformulated CDNs, encapsulation blocked systemic dissemination and markedly enhanced dLN accumulation in murine models. Delivery of NP-cdGMP increased CD8+ T cell responses primed by peptide vaccines and enhanced therapeutic antitumor immunity. A combination of a poorly immunogenic liposomal HIV gp41 peptide antigen and NP-cdGMP robustly induced type I IFN in dLNs, induced a greater expansion of vaccine-specific CD4+ T cells, and greatly increased germinal center B cell differentiation in dLNs compared with a combination of liposomal HIV gp41 and soluble CDN. Further, NP-cdGMP promoted durable antibody titers that were substantially higher than those promoted by the well-studied TLR agonist monophosphoryl lipid A and comparable to a much larger dose of unformulated cdGMP, without the systemic toxicity of the latter. These results demonstrate that nanoparticulate delivery safely targets CDNs to the dLNs and enhances the efficacy of this adjuvant. Moreover, this approach can be broadly applied to other small-molecule immunomodulators of interest for vaccines and immunotherapy.
Melissa C. Hanson, Monica P. Crespo, Wuhbet Abraham, Kelly D. Moynihan, Gregory L. Szeto, Stephanie H. Chen, Mariane B. Melo, Stefanie Mueller, Darrell J. Irvine
Current strategies to alter disease-associated epigenetic modifications target ubiquitously expressed epigenetic regulators. This approach does not allow specific genes to be controlled in specific cell types; therefore, tools to selectively target epigenetic modifications in the desired cell type and strategies to more efficiently correct aberrant gene expression in disease are needed. Here, we have developed a method for directing DNA methylation to specific gene loci by conjugating catalytic domains of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) to engineered transcription activator–like effectors (TALEs). We demonstrated that these TALE-DNMTs direct DNA methylation specifically to the targeted gene locus in human cells. Further, we determined that minimizing direct nucleotide sequence repeats within the TALE moiety permits efficient lentivirus transduction, allowing easy targeting of primary cell types. Finally, we demonstrated that directed DNA methylation with a TALE-DNMT targeting the
Diana L. Bernstein, John E. Le Lay, Elena G. Ruano, Klaus H. Kaestner
Adoptive transfer of tumor-reactive T cells can successfully reduce tumor burden; however, in rare cases, lethal on-target/off-tumor effects have been reported. A noninvasive method to track engineered cells with high sensitivity and resolution would allow observation of correct cell homing and/or identification of dangerous off-target locations in preclinical and clinical applications. Human deoxycytidine kinase triple mutant (hdCK3mut) is a nonimmunogenic PET reporter that was previously shown to be an effective tool to monitor whole-body hematopoiesis. Here, we engineered a construct in which hdCK3mut is coexpressed with the anti-melanoma T cell receptor F5, introduced this construct into human CD34 cells or PBMCs, and evaluated this approach in multiple immunotherapy models. Expression of hdCK3mut allowed engrafted cells to be visualized within recipient bone marrow, while accumulation of [18F]-L-FMAU in hdCK3mut-expressing T cells permitted detection of intratumoral homing. Animals that received T cells coexpressing hdCK3mut and the anti-melanoma T cell receptor had demonstrably higher signals in HLA-matched tumors compared with those in animals that received cells solely expressing hdCK3mut. Engineered T cells caused cytotoxicity in HLA/antigen-matched tumors and induced IFN-γ production and activation. Moreover, hdCK3mut permitted simultaneous monitoring of engraftment and tumor infiltration, without affecting T cell function. Our findings suggest that hdCK3mut reporter imaging can be applied in clinical immunotherapies for whole-body detection of engineered cell locations.
Melissa N. McCracken, Dimitrios N. Vatakis, Dhaval Dixit, Jami McLaughlin, Jerome A. Zack, Owen N. Witte
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of serious viral bronchiolitis in infants, young children, and the elderly. Currently, there is not an FDA-approved vaccine available for RSV, though the mAb palivizumab is licensed to reduce the incidence of RSV disease in premature or at-risk infants. The palivizumab epitope is a well-characterized, approximately 24-aa helix-loop-helix structure on the RSV fusion (F) protein (F254–277). Here, we genetically inserted this epitope and multiple site variants of this epitope within a versatile woodchuck hepadnavirus core–based virus-like particle (WHcAg-VLP) to generate hybrid VLPs that each bears 240 copies of the RSV epitope in a highly immunogenic arrayed format. A challenge of such an epitope-focused approach is that to be effective, the conformational F254–277 epitope must elicit antibodies that recognize the intact virus. A number of hybrid VLPs containing RSV F254–277 were recognized by palivizumab in vitro and elicited high-titer and protective neutralizing antibody in rodents. Together, the results from this proof-of-principle study suggest that the WHcAg-VLP technology may be an applicable approach to eliciting a response to other structural epitopes.
Jeanne H. Schickli, David C. Whitacre, Roderick S. Tang, Jasmine Kaur, Heather Lawlor, Cory J. Peters, Joyce E. Jones, Darrell L. Peterson, Michael P. McCarthy, Gary Van Nest, David R. Milich
Here, we describe the multiple lentiviral expression (MuLE) system that allows multiple genetic alterations to be introduced simultaneously into mammalian cells. We created a toolbox of MuLE vectors that constitute a flexible, modular system for the rapid engineering of complex polycistronic lentiviruses, allowing combinatorial gene overexpression, gene knockdown, Cre-mediated gene deletion, or CRISPR/Cas9-mediated (where CRISPR indicates clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) gene mutation, together with expression of fluorescent or enzymatic reporters for cellular assays and animal imaging. Examples of tumor engineering were used to illustrate the speed and versatility of performing combinatorial genetics using the MuLE system. By transducing cultured primary mouse cells with single MuLE lentiviruses, we engineered tumors containing up to 5 different genetic alterations, identified genetic dependencies of molecularly defined tumors, conducted genetic interaction screens, and induced the simultaneous CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of 3 tumor-suppressor genes. Intramuscular injection of MuLE viruses expressing oncogenic
Joachim Albers, Claudia Danzer, Markus Rechsteiner, Holger Lehmann, Laura P. Brandt, Tomas Hejhal, Antonella Catalano, Philipp Busenhart, Ana Filipa Gonçalves, Simone Brandt, Peter K. Bode, Beata Bode-Lesniewska, Peter J. Wild, Ian J. Frew
Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) represent an alternative hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) source for treating hematopoietic disease. The limited engraftment of human PSC–derived (hPSC-derived) multipotent progenitor cells (MPP) has hampered the clinical application of these cells and suggests that MPP require additional cues for definitive hematopoiesis. We hypothesized that the presence of a vascular niche that produces Notch ligands jagged-1 (JAG1) and delta-like ligand-4 (DLL4) drives definitive hematopoiesis. We differentiated hes2 human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and
Jennifer L. Gori, Jason M. Butler, Yan-Yi Chan, Devikha Chandrasekaran, Michael G. Poulos, Michael Ginsberg, Daniel J. Nolan, Olivier Elemento, Brent L. Wood, Jennifer E. Adair, Shahin Rafii, Hans-Peter Kiem
Astrocytes are integral components of the homeostatic neural network as well as active participants in pathogenesis of and recovery from nearly all neurological conditions. Evolutionarily, compared with lower vertebrates and nonhuman primates, humans have an increased astrocyte-to-neuron ratio; however, a lack of effective models has hindered the study of the complex roles of human astrocytes in intact adult animals. Here, we demonstrated that after transplantation into the cervical spinal cords of adult mice with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), human pluripotent stem cell–derived (PSC-derived) neural progenitors migrate a long distance and differentiate to astrocytes that nearly replace their mouse counterparts over a 9-month period. The human PSC-derived astrocytes formed networks through their processes, encircled endogenous neurons, and extended end feet that wrapped around blood vessels without altering locomotion behaviors, suggesting structural, and potentially functional, integration into the adult mouse spinal cord. Furthermore, in SCID mice transplanted with neural progenitors derived from induced PSCs from patients with ALS, astrocytes were generated and distributed to a similar degree as that seen in mice transplanted with healthy progenitors; however, these mice exhibited motor deficit, highlighting functional integration of the human-derived astrocytes. Together, these results indicate that this chimeric animal model has potential for further investigating the roles of human astrocytes in disease pathogenesis and repair.
Hong Chen, Kun Qian, Wei Chen, Baoyang Hu, Lisle W. Blackbourn IV, Zhongwei Du, Lixiang Ma, Huisheng Liu, Karla M. Knobel, Melvin Ayala, Su-Chun Zhang
For a targeted cancer vaccine to be effective, the antigen of interest needs to be naturally processed and presented on MHC by the target cell or an antigen-presenting cell (APC) in the tumor stroma. The presence of these characteristics is often assumed based on animal models, evaluation of antigen-overexpressing APCs in vitro, or assays of material-consuming immune precipitation from fresh solid tissue. Here, we evaluated the use of an alternative approach that uses the proximity ligation assay (PLA) to identify the presentation of an MHC class II–restricted antigen in paraffin-embedded tissue sections from patients with brain tumors. This approach required a specific antibody directed against the epitope that was presented. We used an antibody that specifically binds an epitope of mutated isocitrate dehydrogenase type 1 (IDH1R132H), which is frequently expressed in gliomas and other types of tumors. In situ PLA showed that the IDH1R132H epitope colocalizes with MHC class II in IDH1R132H-mutated glioma tissue. Moreover, PLA demonstrated colocalization between the class II epitope-containing melanoma antigen New York esophageal 1 and MHC class II. Collectively, our data suggest that PLA may be a useful tool to acquire information on whether an antigen is presented in situ, and this technique has potential to guide clinical studies that use antigen-specific cancer immunotherapy.
Lukas Bunse, Theresa Schumacher, Felix Sahm, Stefan Pusch, Iris Oezen, Katharina Rauschenbach, Marina Gonzalez, Gergely Solecki, Matthias Osswald, David Capper, Benedikt Wiestler, Frank Winkler, Christel Herold-Mende, Andreas von Deimling, Wolfgang Wick, Michael Platten
The hypothalamus is the central regulator of systemic energy homeostasis, and its dysfunction can result in extreme body weight alterations. Insights into the complex cellular physiology of this region are critical to the understanding of obesity pathogenesis; however, human hypothalamic cells are largely inaccessible for direct study. Here, we developed a protocol for efficient generation of hypothalamic neurons from human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) obtained from patients with monogenetic forms of obesity. Combined early activation of sonic hedgehog signaling followed by timed NOTCH inhibition in human ESCs/iPSCs resulted in efficient conversion into hypothalamic NKX2.1+ precursors. Application of a NOTCH inhibitor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) further directed the cells into arcuate nucleus hypothalamic-like neurons that express hypothalamic neuron markers proopiomelanocortin (POMC), neuropeptide Y (NPY), agouti-related peptide (AGRP), somatostatin, and dopamine. These hypothalamic-like neurons accounted for over 90% of differentiated cells and exhibited transcriptional profiles defined by a hypothalamic-specific gene expression signature that lacked pituitary markers. Importantly, these cells displayed hypothalamic neuron characteristics, including production and secretion of neuropeptides and increased p-AKT and p-STAT3 in response to insulin and leptin. Our results suggest that these hypothalamic-like neurons have potential for further investigation of the neurophysiology of body weight regulation and evaluation of therapeutic targets for obesity.
Liheng Wang, Kana Meece, Damian J. Williams, Kinyui Alice Lo, Matthew Zimmer, Garrett Heinrich, Jayne Martin Carli, Charles A. Leduc, Lei Sun, Lori M. Zeltser, Matthew Freeby, Robin Goland, Stephen H. Tsang, Sharon L. Wardlaw, Dieter Egli, Rudolph L. Leibel
The demonstrated ability to differentiate both human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) into hepatocyte-like cells (HLCs) holds great promise for both regenerative medicine and liver disease research. Here, we determined that, despite an immature phenotype, differentiated HLCs are permissive to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and mount an interferon response to HCV infection in vitro. HLCs differentiated from hESCs and hiPSCs could be engrafted in the liver parenchyma of immune-deficient transgenic mice carrying the urokinase-type plasminogen activator gene driven by the major urinary protein promoter. The HLCs were maintained for more than 3 months in the livers of chimeric mice, in which they underwent further maturation and proliferation. These engrafted and expanded human HLCs were permissive to in vivo infection with HCV-positive sera and supported long-term infection of multiple HCV genotypes. Our study demonstrates efficient engraftment and in vivo HCV infection of human stem cell–derived hepatocytes and provides a model to study chronic HCV infection in patient-derived hepatocytes, action of antiviral therapies, and the biology of HCV infection.
Arnaud Carpentier, Abeba Tesfaye, Virginia Chu, Ila Nimgaonkar, Fang Zhang, Seung Bum Lee, Snorri S. Thorgeirsson, Stephen M. Feinstone, T. Jake Liang
Animal models suggest that acetylcarnitine production is essential for maintaining metabolic flexibility and insulin sensitivity. Because current methods to detect acetylcarnitine involve biopsy of the tissue of interest, noninvasive alternatives to measure acetylcarnitine concentrations could facilitate our understanding of its physiological relevance in humans. Here, we investigated the use of long–echo time (TE) proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) to measure skeletal muscle acetylcarnitine concentrations on a clinical 3T scanner. We applied long-TE 1H-MRS to measure acetylcarnitine in endurance-trained athletes, lean and obese sedentary subjects, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients to cover a wide spectrum in insulin sensitivity. A long-TE 1H-MRS protocol was implemented for successful detection of skeletal muscle acetylcarnitine in these individuals. There were pronounced differences in insulin sensitivity, as measured by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, and skeletal muscle mitochondrial function, as measured by phosphorus-MRS (31P-MRS), across groups. Insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial function were highest in trained athletes and lowest in T2DM patients. Skeletal muscle acetylcarnitine concentration showed a reciprocal distribution, with mean acetylcarnitine concentration correlating with mean insulin sensitivity in each group. These results demonstrate that measuring acetylcarnitine concentrations with 1H-MRS is feasible on clinical MR scanners and support the hypothesis that T2DM patients are characterized by a decreased formation of acetylcarnitine, possibly underlying decreased insulin sensitivity.
Lucas Lindeboom, Christine I. Nabuurs, Joris Hoeks, Bram Brouwers, Esther Phielix, M. Eline Kooi, Matthijs K.C. Hesselink, Joachim E. Wildberger, Robert D. Stevens, Timothy Koves, Deborah M. Muoio, Patrick Schrauwen, Vera B. Schrauwen-Hinderling
Millions of patients worldwide are affected by craniofacial deformations caused by congenital defects or trauma. Current surgical interventions have limited therapeutic outcomes; therefore, methods that would allow cartilage restoration are of great interest. A number of studies on embryonic limb development have shown that chondrogenesis is initiated by cellular condensation, during which mesenchymal progenitors aggregate and form 3D structures. Here, we demonstrated efficient regeneration of avascular elastic cartilage from in vitro–grown mesenchymal condensation, which recapitulated the early stages of chondrogenesis, including transient vascularization. After transplantation of vascularized condensed progenitors into immunodeficient mice, we used an intravital imaging approach to follow cartilage maturation. We determined that endothelial cells are present inside rudimentary cartilage (mesenchymal condensation) prior to cartilage maturation. Recreation of endothelial interactions in culture enabled a recently identified population of adult elastic cartilage progenitors to generate mesenchymal condensation in a self-driven manner, without requiring the support of exogenous inductive factors or scaffold materials. Moreover, the culture-grown 3D condensed adult–derived progenitors were amenable to storage via simple freezing methods and efficiently reconstructed 3D elastic cartilage upon transplantation. Together, our results indicate that transplantation of endothelialized and condensed progenitors represents a promising approach to realizing a regenerative medicine treatment for craniofacial deformations.
Takanori Takebe, Shinji Kobayashi, Hiromu Suzuki, Mitsuru Mizuno, Yu-Min Chang, Emi Yoshizawa, Masaki Kimura, Ayaka Hori, Jun Asano, Jiro Maegawa, Hideki Taniguchi
Muscle satellite cells promote regeneration and could potentially improve gene delivery for treating muscular dystrophies. Human satellite cells are scarce; therefore, clinical investigation has been limited. We obtained muscle fiber fragments from skeletal muscle biopsy specimens from adult donors aged 20 to 80 years. Fiber fragments were manually dissected, cultured, and evaluated for expression of myogenesis regulator PAX7. PAX7+ satellite cells were activated and proliferated efficiently in culture. Independent of donor age, as few as 2 to 4 PAX7+ satellite cells gave rise to several thousand myoblasts. Transplantation of human muscle fiber fragments into irradiated muscle of immunodeficient mice resulted in robust engraftment, muscle regeneration, and proper homing of human PAX7+ satellite cells to the stem cell niche. Further, we determined that subjecting the human muscle fiber fragments to hypothermic treatment successfully enriches the cultures for PAX7+ cells and improves the efficacy of the transplantation and muscle regeneration. Finally, we successfully altered gene expression in cultured human PAX7+ satellite cells with Sleeping Beauty transposon–mediated nonviral gene transfer, highlighting the potential of this system for use in gene therapy. Together, these results demonstrate the ability to culture and manipulate a rare population of human tissue-specific stem cells and suggest that these PAX7+ satellite cells have potential to restore gene function in muscular dystrophies.
Andreas Marg, Helena Escobar, Sina Gloy, Markus Kufeld, Joseph Zacher, Andreas Spuler, Carmen Birchmeier, Zsuzsanna Izsvák, Simone Spuler
The NF-κB signaling pathway is implicated in various inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA); therefore, inhibition of this pathway has the potential to ameliorate an array of inflammatory diseases. Given that NF-κB signaling is critical for many immune cell functions, systemic blockade of this pathway may lead to detrimental side effects. siRNAs coupled with a safe and effective delivery nanoplatform may afford the specificity lacking in systemic administration of small-molecule inhibitors. Here we demonstrated that a melittin-derived cationic amphipathic peptide combined with siRNA targeting the p65 subunit of NF-κB (p5RHH-p65) noncovalently self-assemble into stable nanocomplexes that home to the inflamed joints in a murine model of RA. Specifically, administration of p5RHH-p65 siRNA nanocomplexes abrogated inflammatory cytokine expression and cellular influx into the joints, protected against bone erosions, and preserved cartilage integrity. The p5RHH-p65 siRNA nanocomplexes potently suppressed early inflammatory arthritis without affecting p65 expression in off-target organs or eliciting a humoral response after serial injections. These data suggest that this self-assembling, largely nontoxic platform may have broad utility for the specific delivery of siRNA to target and limit inflammatory processes for the treatment of a variety of diseases.
Hui-fang Zhou, Huimin Yan, Hua Pan, Kirk K. Hou, Antonina Akk, Luke E. Springer, Ying Hu, J. Stacy Allen, Samuel A. Wickline, Christine T.N. Pham