Efficient induction of defined lineages in pluripotent stem cells constitutes the determinant step for the generation of therapeutically relevant replacement cells to potentially treat a wide range of diseases, including diabetes. Pancreatic differentiation has remained an important challenge in large part because of the need to differentiate uncommitted pluripotent stem cells into highly specialized hormone-secreting cells, which has been shown to require a developmentally informed step-by-step induction procedure. Here, in the framework of using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to generate pancreatic cells for pancreatic diseases, we have generated and characterized iPSCs from Pdx1-GFP transgenic mice. The use of a GFP reporter knocked into the endogenous Pdx1 promoter allowed us to monitor pancreatic induction based on the expression of Pdx1, a pancreatic master transcription factor, and to isolate a pure Pdx1-GFP+ population for downstream applications. Differentiated cultures timely expressed markers specific to each stage and end-stage progenies acquired a rather immature beta-cell phenotype, characterized by polyhormonal expression even among cells highly expressing the Pdx1-GFP reporter. Our findings highlight the utility of employing a fluorescent protein reporter under the control of a master developmental gene in order to devise novel differentiation protocols for relevant cell types for degenerative diseases such as pancreatic beta cells for diabetes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research