Primary autologous B-lymphocytes, following ex vivo gene transfer and re-implantation, have been successfully utilized to prevent autoimmune disease and adaptive responses to therapeutic proteins in several animal models. However, efficient gene transfer to primary B cells requires use of retroviral vectors, which increase the risk of insertional mutagenesis. Here, we evaluated several alternative gene transfer approaches. Resting splenic B cells were purified and activated with LPS, and ex vivo GFP gene transfer was performed by means of nucleofection, lipofectamine, adenoviral infection, or murine retroviral infection. The Adenoviral (Ad) vectors were added to B cell cultures with or without calcium phosphate precipitation. For transfection and nucleofection, naked plasmid DNA was utilized. Nucleofection technology represents a modified electroporation technique for effective transfer of nucleic acids to the nucleus and thus enhances the efficiency of transfer particularly for primary cells. Efficiency of ex vivo gene transfer was determined by flow cytometry using GFP, CD19, and a vital dye as markers. Nucleofection yielded the highest level of gene transfer with 60–65% of B cells being GFP+. Efficiencies were 30–35% for retrovirus, 20% for Ad5/11, 15% for Ad5/35, and 5% for lipofectamine-mediated transfection. Calcium phosphate precipitation increased efficiencies for Ad vectors to 30% (Ad5/11) and 25% (Ad5/35). Lipofectamin caused the greatest cell death at 80%, followed by nucleofection (35%), and viral vector (10–15% in each case). For all methods, gene transfer efficiencies were nearly identical for B cells from C57BL/6 or C3H/HeOuJ mice. In conclusion, recent advances in gene transfer technologies provide alternatives to retroviral vectors for primary B cells. If stable gene transfer is desired, non-integrating vector systems may be combined with transposon- or phage integrase-based systems or future site-specific systems to achieve integration into the host B cell genome.
B cells; Transfection; Ex vivo gene transfer; Plasmid DNA; Adenovirus; Retrovirus
The delivery of DNA into human cells has been the basis of advances in the understanding of gene function and the development of genetic therapies. Numerous chemical and physical approaches have been used to deliver the DNA, but their efficacy has been variable and is highly dependent on the cell type to be transfected.
Studies were undertaken to evaluate and compare the transfection efficacy of several chemical reagents to that of the electroporation/nucleofection system using both adherent cells (primary and transformed airway epithelial cells and primary fibroblasts as well as embryonic stem cells) and cells in suspension (primary hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells and lymphoblasts). With the exception of HEK 293 cell transfection, nucleofection proved to be less toxic and more efficient at effectively delivering DNA into the cells as determined by cell proliferation and GFP expression, respectively. Lipofectamine and nucleofection of HEK 293 were essentially equivalent in terms of toxicity and efficiency. Transient transfection efficiency in all the cell systems ranged from 40%-90%, with minimal toxicity and no apparent species specificity. Differences in efficiency and toxicity were cell type/system specific.
In general, the Amaxa electroporation/nucleofection system appears superior to other chemical systems. However, there are cell-type and species specific differences that need to be evaluated empirically to optimize the conditions for transfection efficiency and cell survival.
Although various gene delivery techniques are available, their application in zebrafish cell cultures has not been extensively studied. Here, we report that nucleofection of zebrafish primary embryonic fibroblasts results in higher transfection efficiency in comparison to other non-viral gene delivery methods. The transfection was performed using green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene constructs of a different size. Greatest DNA uptake was obtained with 4.9-kb plasmid, resulting in 43% GFP positive cells. Nucleofection with 7.4-kb pH2B-GFP plasmid followed by geneticin (G418) selection was successfully used to establish a cell line expressing nuclear histone 2B-GFP fusion protein. Efficient transfection of zebrafish fibroblasts by nucleofection offers a non-viral technique of plasmid delivery and can be used to overexpress genes of interest in these cells.
Fibroblasts; Primary cells; Transfection; Zebrafish
The development and growth of the skull is controlled by cranial sutures, which serve as growth centers for osteogenesis by providing a pool of osteoprogenitors. These osteoprogenitors undergo intramembranous ossification by direct differentiation into osteoblasts, which synthesize the components of the extracellular bone matrix. A dysregulation of osteoblast differentiation can lead to premature fusion of sutures, resulting in an abnormal skull shape, a disease called craniosynostosis. Although several genes could be linked to craniosynostosis, the mechanisms regulating cranial suture development remain largely elusive. We have established transgenic mice conditionally expressing an autoactivated platelet-derived growth factor receptor α (PDGFRα) in neural crest cells (NCCs) and their derivatives. In these mice, premature fusion of NCC-derived sutures occurred at early postnatal stages. In vivo and in vitro experiments demonstrated enhanced proliferation of osteoprogenitors and accelerated ossification of osteoblasts. Furthermore, in osteoblasts expressing the autoactivated receptor, we detected an upregulation of the phospholipase C-γ (PLC-γ) pathway. Treatment of differentiating osteoblasts with a PLC-γ-specific inhibitor prevented the mineralization of synthesized bone matrix. Thus, we show for the first time that PDGFRα signaling stimulates osteogenesis of NCC-derived osteoblasts by activating the PLC-γ pathway, suggesting an involvement of this pathway in the etiology of human craniosynostosis.
Nucleofection permits efficient transfection even with difficult cell types such as primary and non-dividing cells, and is used to deliver various nucleic acids including DNA, mRNA, and siRNA. Unlike DNA and siRNA, mRNA is subject to rapid degradation, which necessitates instant early translation following mRNA delivery. We examined factors important in translation following nucleofection and observed rapid phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha (eIF2α) following nucleofection, which occurred in the absence of delivered nucleic acid. We studied the involvement of 3 ubiquitous kinases capable of phosphorylating eIF2α in mammalian cells and identified that nucleofection-mediated phosphorylation of eIF2α was dependent on general control non-derepressible 2 (GCN2) and protein kinase RNA-activated (PKR)-like ER kinase (PERK) but not PKR. A reduction in translation due to eIF2α phosphorylation was observed post nucleofection demonstrating functional significance. Understanding the impact of nucleofection on translational machinery has important implications for therapeutics currently under development based on the delivery of mRNA, DNA, and siRNA. Strategies to circumvent eIF2α phosphorylation and other downstream effects of activating GCN2 and PERK will facilitate further advancement of nucleic acid-based therapies.
Nucleofection; mRNA therapy; eIF2α; PERK; GCN2
Dendritic cells (DC) are potent antigen-presenting cells that hold promise as cell-based therapeutic vaccines for infectious diseases and cancer. Ideally, DC would be engineered to express autologous viral or tumor antigens to ensure the presentation of relevant antigens to host T cells in vivo; however, expression of wild-type viral genes in primary cell lines can be problematic. Nucleofection is an effective means of delivering transgenes to primary cell lines, but its use in transfecting DNA or mRNA into DC has not been widely investigated. We show that nucleofection is a superior means of transfecting human and monkey monocyte-derived DC with DNA and mRNA compared to lipofection and conventional electroporation. However, the delivery of DNA and mRNA had significantly different outcomes in transfected DC. DC nucleofected with DNA encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) had poor antigen expression and viability and were refractory to maturation with CD40 ligand. In contrast, >90% of DC expressed uniform and high levels of GFP from 3 h to 96 h postnucleofection with mRNA while maintaining a normal maturation response to CD40 ligation. Monkey DC nucleofected with wild-type, non-codon-optimized mRNA encoding simian immunodeficiency virus Gag stimulated robust antigen-specific effector T-cell responses at 24 h and 48 h postnucleofection, reflecting sustained antigen presentation in transfected DC, whereas no detectable T-cell response was noted when DC were nucleofected with DNA encoding the same Gag sequence. These data indicate that mRNA nucleofection may be an optimal means of transfecting DC with autologous tumor or viral antigen for DC-based immunotherapy.
Adipose stem cells have a strong potential for use in cell-based therapy, but the current nucleofection technique, which relies on unknown buffers, prevents their use.
We developed an optimal nucleofection formulation for human adipose stem cells by using a three-step method that we had developed previously. This method was designed to determine the optimal formulation for nucleofection that was capable of meeting or surpassing the established commercial buffer (Amaxa), in particular for murine adipose stem cells. By using this same buffer, we determined that the same formulation yields optimal transfection efficiency in human mesenchymal stem cells.
Our findings suggest that transfection efficiency in human stem cells can be boosted with proper formulation.
Electroporation; Formulation; Stem cells; Transfection; Cell therapy
Established cell transfection via nucleofection relies on nucleofection buffers with unknown and proprietary makeup due to trade secrecy, inhibiting the possibility of using this otherwise effective method for developing cell therapy. We devised a three-step method for discovering an optimal formulation for the nucleofection of any cell-line. These steps include the selection of the best nucleofection program and known buffer type, selection of the best polymer for boosting the transfection efficiency of the best buffer, and the comparison with the optimal buffer from an established commercial vendor (Amaxa). Using this 3-step selection system, competitive nucleofection formulations were discovered for multiple cell lines, which are equal to or surpass the efficiency of the Amaxa nucleofector solution in a variety of cells and cell lines, including primary adipose stem cells, muscle cells, tumor cells, and immune cells. Through the use of scanning electron microscopy, we have revealed morphological changes, which predispose for the ability of these buffers to assist in transferring plasmid DNA into the nuclear space. Our formulation may greatly reduce the cost of electroporation study in laboratory and boosts the potential of application of electroporation-based cell therapies in clinical trials.
electroporation; cell transfection; cell therapy; adipose stem cells; formulation
Lacrimal gland acinar cells are an important cell type to study due to their role in production and release of tear proteins, a function essential for ocular surface integrity and normal visual acuity. However, mechanistic studies are often limited by problems with transfection using either plasmid DNA or siRNA. Although various gene delivery methods are available, many have been unproductive due to consistently low transfection efficiencies. We have developed a method using nucleofection that can result in 50% transfection efficiency and 60% knockdown efficiency for plasmid DNA and siRNA, respectively. These results are vastly improved relative to previous studies, demonstrating that nucleofection offers an efficient transfection technique for primary lacrimal gland acinar cells.
Transfection; Nucleofection; Primary epithelial cells; Acinar cells; Lacrimal gland
Tumor cells such as leukemia and lymphoma cells are possible targets for gene therapy. However, previously leukemia and lymphoma cells have been demonstrated to be resistant to most of non-viral gene transfer methods.
The aim of this study was to analyze various methods for transfection of primary leukemia cells and leukemia cell lines and to improve the efficiency of gene delivery. Here, we evaluated a novel electroporation based technique called nucleofection. This novel technique uses a combination of special electrical parameters and specific solutions to deliver the DNA directly to the cell nucleus under mild conditions.
Using this technique for gene transfer up to 75% of primary cells derived from three acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients and K562 cells were transfected with the green flourescent protein (GFP) reporter gene with low cytotoxicity. In addition, 49(+/- 9.7%) of HL60 leukemia cells showed expression of GFP.
The non-viral transfection method described here may have an impact on the use of primary leukemia cells and leukemia cell lines in cancer gene therapy.
leukemia; gene transfer; green fluorescent protein; nucleofection; gene gun
Although various non-viral transfection methods are available, cell-toxicity, low transfection efficiency and high-cost remain hurdles for in vitro gene delivery in cultured primary endothelial cells. Recently, unprecedented transfection efficiency for primary endothelial cells has been achieved due to the newly developed nucleofection technology that utilizes a combination of novel electroporation conditions and specific buffer components that stabilize the cells in the electrical field. Despite its superior transfection efficiency and cell viability, high cost of the technology has discouraged the cardiovascular researchers to liberally adopt this new technology. Here, we report that a phosphate-buffered saline (PBS)-based nucleofection method can be used for efficient gene delivery into primary endothelial cells and other types of cells. Comparative analyses of transfection efficiency and cell viability for primary arterial, venous, microvascular and lymphatic endothelial cells were performed by using PBS. Compared to the commercial buffers, PBS can support equally remarkable nucleofection efficiency to both primary and non-primary cells. Moreover, PBS-mediated nucleofection of siRNA showed more than 90% knockdown of the expression of target genes in primary endothelial cells. Together, we demonstrate that PBS can be an unprecedented economical alternative for the high-cost buffers for nucleofection of various primary and non-primary cells.
electroporation; nucleofection; primary endothelial cells; phosphate-buffered saline
Craniosynostosis, a developmental disorder resulting from premature closure of the gaps (sutures) between skull bones, can be caused by excessive intramembranous ossification, a type of bone formation that does not involve formation of a cartilage template (chondrogenesis). Here, we show that endochondral ossification, a type of bone formation that proceeds through a cartilage intermediate, caused by switching the fate of mesenchymal stem cells to chondrocytes, can also result in craniosynostosis. Simultaneous knockout of Axin2, a negative regulator of the WNT–β-catenin pathway, and decreased activity of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor 1 (FGFR1) in mice induced ectopic chondrogenesis, leading to abnormal suture morphogenesis and fusion. Genetic analyses revealed that activation of β-catenin cooperated with FGFR1 to alter the lineage commitment of mesenchymal stem cells to differentiate into chondrocytes, from which cartilage is formed. We showed that the WNT–β-catenin pathway directly controlled the stem cell population by regulating its renewal and proliferation, and indirectly modulated lineage specification by setting the balance of the FGF and bone morphogenetic protein pathways. This study identifies endochondral ossification as a mechanism of suture closure during development and implicates this process in craniosynostosis.
Human mesenchymal stromal cell (hMSC) is a potential target for cell and gene therapy-based approaches against a variety of different diseases. Whilst cationic lipofection has been widely experimented, the Nucleofector technology is a relatively new non-viral transfection method designed for primary cells and hard-to-transfect cell lines. Herein, we compared the efficiency and viability of nucleofection with cationic lipofection, and used the more efficient transfection method, nucleofection, to deliver a construct of minimalistic, immunologically defined gene expression encoding the erythropoietin (MIDGE-EPO) into hMSC. MIDGE construct is relatively safer than the viral and plasmid expression systems as the detrimental eukaryotic and prokaryotic gene and sequences have been eliminated. Using a plasmid encoding the luciferase gene, we demonstrated a high transfection efficiency using the U-23 (21.79 ± 1.09%) and C-17 (5.62 ± 1.09%) pulsing program in nucleofection. The cell viabilities were (44.93 ± 10.10)% and (21.93 ± 5.72)%, respectively 24 h post-nucleofection. On the other hand, lipofection treatment only yielded less than 0.6% efficiencies despite showing higher viabilities. Nucleofection did not affect hMSC renewability, immunophenotype and differentiation potentials. Subsequently, we nucleofected MIDGE-EPO using the U-23 pulsing program into hMSC. The results showed that, despite a low nucleofection efficiency with this construct, the EPO protein was stably expressed in the nucleofected cells up to 55 days when determined by ELISA or immunocytochemical staining. In conclusion, nucleofection is an efficient non-viral transfection approach for hMSC, which when used in conjunction with a MIDGE construct, could result in extended and stable transgene expression in hMSC.
Bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells; Nucleofection; Cationic lipofection; MIDGE; Erythropoietin
Neural stem cells (NSCs) have the ability to proliferate and differentiate into various types of cells that compose the nervous system. To study functions of genes in stem cell biology, genes or siRNAs need to be transfected. However, it is difficult to transfect ectopic genes into NSCs. Thus to identify the suitable method to achieve high transfection efficiency, we compared lipid transfection, electroporation, nucleofection and retroviral transduction. Among the methods that we tested, we found that nucleofection and retroviral transduction showed significantly increased transfection efficiency. In addition, with retroviral transduction of Ngn2 that is known to induce neurogenesis in various types of cells, we observed facilitated final cell division in rat NSCs. These data suggest that nucleofection and retroviral transduction provide high efficiency of gene delivery system to study functions of genes in rat NSCs.
Electroporation; Lipid-Mediated transfection; Neural stem cells; Nucleofection; Retrovirus
Cell lines from Atlantic salmon kidney have made it possible to culture and study infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV), an aquatic orthomyxovirus affecting farmed Atlantic salmon. However, transfection of these cells using calcium phosphate precipitation or lipid-based reagents shows very low transfection efficiency. The Amaxa Nucleofector technology™ is an electroporation technique that has been shown to be efficient for gene transfer into primary cells and hard to transfect cell lines.
Here we demonstrate, enhanced transfection of the head kidney cell line, TO, from Atlantic salmon using nucleofection and subsequent flow cytometry. Depending on the plasmid promoter, TO cells could be transfected transiently with an efficiency ranging from 11.6% to 90.8% with good viability, using Amaxa's cell line nucleofector solution T and program T-20. A kill curve was performed to investigate the most potent antibiotic for selection of transformed cells, and we found that blasticidin and puromycin were the most efficient for selection of TO cells.
The results show that nucleofection is an efficient way of gene transfer into Atlantic salmon cells and that stably transfected cells can be selected with blasticidin or puromycin.
Coordinated growth of the skull and brain are vital to normal human development. Craniosynostosis, the premature fusion of the calvarial bones of the skull, is a relatively common pediatric disease, occurring in 1 in 2500 births, and requires significant surgical management, especially in syndromic cases. Syndromic craniosynostosis is caused by a variety of genetic lesions, most commonly by activating mutations of FGFRs 1–3, and inactivating mutations of TWIST1. In a mouse model of TWIST1 haploinsufficiency, cell mixing between the neural crest-derived frontal bone and mesoderm-derived parietal bone accompanies coronal suture fusion during embryonic development. However, the relevance of lineage mixing in craniosynostosis induced by activating FGFR mutations is unknown. Here, we demonstrate a novel mechanism of suture fusion in the Apert Fgfr2S252W mouse model. Using Cre/lox recombination we simultaneously induce expression of Fgfr2S252W and β-galactosidase in either the neural crest or mesoderm of the skull. We show that mutation of the mesoderm alone is necessary and sufficient to cause craniosynostosis, while mutation of the neural crest is neither. The lineage border is not disrupted by aberrant cell migration during fusion. Instead, the suture mesenchyme itself remains intact and is induced to undergo osteogenesis. We eliminate postulated roles for dura mater or skull base changes in craniosynostosis. The viability of conditionally mutant mice also allows post-natal assessment of other aspects of Apert syndrome.
Apert syndrome; Fgfr2S252W; Craniosynostosis; Mesoderm; Neural crest
Craniosynostosis (CS), the premature ossification of cranial sutures, is attributed to increased osteogenic potential of resident osteoblasts, yet the contribution of the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) on osteogenic differentiation is unclear. The osteoblast-secreted ECM provides binding sites for cellular adhesion and regulates the transport and signaling of osteoinductive factors secreted by the underlying dura mater. The binding affinity of each osteoinductive factor for the ECM may amplify or mute its relative effect, thus contributing to the rate of suture fusion. The purpose of this paper was to examine the role of ECM composition derived from calvarial osteoblasts on protein binding and its resultant effect on cell phenotype. We hypothesized that potent osteoinductive proteins present during sutural fusion (e.g., bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) and transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGF-β1)) would exhibit distinct differences in binding when exposed to ECMs generated by human calvarial osteoblasts from unaffected control individuals (CI) or CS patients. Decellularized ECMs produced by osteoblasts from CI or CS patients were incubated in the presence of BMP-2 or TGF-β1, and the affinity of each protein was analyzed. The contribution of ECM composition to protein binding was interrogated by enzymatically modulating proteoglycan content within the ECM. BMP-2 had a similar binding affinity for each ECM, while TGF-β1 had a greater affinity for ECMs produced by osteoblasts from CI compared to CS patients. Enzymatic treatment of ECMs reduced protein binding. CS osteoblasts cultured on enzymatically-treated ECMs secreted by osteoblasts from CI patients in the presence of BMP-2 exhibited impaired osteogenic differentiation compared to cells on untreated ECMs. These data demonstrate the importance of protein binding to cell-secreted ECMs and confirm that protein-ECM interactions have an important role in directing osteoblastic differentiation of calvarial osteoblasts.
Deformities of cranial sutures such as craniosynostosis and enlarged parietal foramina greatly impact human development and quality of life. Here we have examined the role of the extracellular matrix protein ameloblastin (Ambn), a recent addition to the family of non-collagenous extracellular bone matrix proteins, in craniofacial bone development and suture formation. Using RT-PCR, western blot and immunohistochemistry, Ambn was localized in mouse calvarial bone and adjacent condensed mesenchyme. Five-fold Ambn overexpression in a K14-driven transgenic mouse model resulted in delayed posterior frontal suture fusion and incomplete suture closure. Moreover, Ambn overexpressor skulls weighed 13.2% less, their interfrontal bones were 35.3% thinner, and the width between frontal bones plus interfrontal suture was 14.3% wider. Ambn overexpressing mice also featured reduced cell proliferation in suture blastemas and in mesenchymal cells from posterior frontal sutures. There was a more than 2-fold reduction of Msx2 in Ambn overexpressing calvariae and suture mesenchymal cells, and this effect was inversely proportionate to the level of Ambn overexpression in different cell lines. The reduction of Msx2 expression as a result of Ambn overexpression was further enhanced in the presence of the MEK/ERK pathway inhibitor O126. Finally, Ambn overexpression significantly reduced Msx2 down-stream target gene expression levels, including osteogenic transcription factors Runx2 and Osx, the bone matrix proteins Ibsp, ColI, Ocn and Opn, and the cell cycle-related gene CcnD1. Together, these data suggest that Ambn plays a crucial role in the regulation of cranial bone growth and suture closure via Msx 2 suppression and proliferation inhibition.
In vertebrates, coordinated embryonic and postnatal growth of the craniofacial bones and the skull base is essential during the expansion of the rostrum and the brain. Identification of molecules that regulate skull growth is important for understanding the nature of craniofacial defects and for development of non-invasive biologically based diagnostics and therapies.
Here we report on spatially restricted growth defects at the skull base and in craniofacial sutures of mice deficient for polycystin-1 (Pkd1). Mutant animals reveal a premature closure of both presphenoid and sphenooccipital synchondroses at the cranial base. Furthermore, knockout mice lacking Pkd1 in neural crest cells are characterised by impaired postnatal growth at the osteogenic fronts in craniofacial sutures that are subjected to tensile forces. Our data suggest that polycystin-1 is required for proliferation of subpopulations of cranial osteochondroprogenitor cells of both mesodermal and neural crest origin during skull growth. However, the Erk1/2 signalling pathway is up-regulated in the Pkd1-deficient skeletal tissue, similarly to that previously reported for polycystic kidney.
Craniofacial skeleton; Craniosynostosis; Cranial base; Synchondrosis; Suture; Polycystin-1
Fibroblast growth factors (FGF) play a critical role in bone growth and development affecting both chondrogenesis and osteogenesis. During the process of intramembranous ossification, which leads to the formation of the flat bones of the skull, unregulated FGF signaling can produce premature suture closure or craniosynostosis and other craniofacial deformities. Indeed, many human craniosynostosis disorders have been linked to activating mutations in FGF receptors (FGFR) 1 and 2, but the precise effects of FGF on the proliferation, maturation and differentiation of the target osteoblastic cells are still unclear. In this report, we studied the effects of FGF treatment on primary murine calvarial osteoblast, and on OB1, a newly established osteoblastic cell line. We show that FGF signaling has a dual effect on osteoblast proliferation and differentiation. FGFs activate the endogenous FGFRs leading to the formation of a Grb2/FRS2/Shp2 complex and activation of MAP kinase. However, immature osteoblasts respond to FGF treatment with increased proliferation, whereas in differentiating cells FGF does not induce DNA synthesis but causes apoptosis. When either primary or OB1 osteoblasts are induced to differentiate, FGF signaling inhibits expression of alkaline phosphatase, and blocks mineralization. To study the effect of craniosynostosis-linked mutations in osteoblasts, we introduced FGFR2 carrying either the C342Y (Crouzon syndrome) or the S252W (Apert syndrome) mutation in OB1 cells. Both mutations inhibited differentiation, while dramatically inducing apoptosis. Furthermore, we could also show that overexpression of FGF2 in transgenic mice leads to increased apoptosis in their calvaria. These data provide the first biochemical analysis of FGF signaling in osteoblasts, and show that FGF can act as a cell death inducer with distinct effects in proliferating and differentiating osteoblasts.
craniosynostosis; apoptosis; fibroblast growth factors; fibroblast growth factor receptors; osteoblast
While premature suture fusion, or craniosynostosis, is a relatively common condition, the cause is often unknown. Estrogens are associated with growth plate fusion of endochondral bones. In the following study, we explore the previously unknown significance of estrogen/estrogen receptor signaling in cranial suture biology.
Firstly, estrogen receptor (ER) expression was examined in physiologically fusing (posterofrontal) and patent (sagittal) mouse cranial sutures by quantitative RT-PCR. Next, the cranial suture phenotype of ER alpha and ER beta knockout (αERKO, βERKO) mice was studied. Subsequently, mouse suture-derived mesenchymal cells (SMCs) were isolated; the effects of 17-β estradiol or the estrogen antagonist Fulvestrant on gene expression, osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation were examined in vitro. Finally, in vivo experiments were performed in which Fulvestrant was administered subcutaneously to the mouse calvaria. Results showed that increased ERα but not ERβ transcript abundance temporally coincided with posterofrontal suture fusion. The αERKO but not βERKO mouse exhibited delayed posterofrontal suture fusion. In vitro, addition of 17-β estradiol enhanced both osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation in suture-derived mesenchymal cells, effects reversible by Fulvestrant. Finally, in vivo application of Fulvestrant significantly diminished calvarial osteogenesis, inhibiting suture fusion.
Estrogen signaling through ERα but not ERβ is associated with and necessary for normal mouse posterofrontal suture fusion. In vitro studies suggest that estrogens may play a role in osteoblast and/or chondrocyte differentiation within the cranial suture complex.
Neutrophils are non-dividing cells with poor survival after isolation. Consequently, exogenous gene expression in neutrophils is challenging. We report here the transfection of genes and expression of active proteins in human primary peripheral neutrophils using nucleofection.
Exogenous gene expression in human neutrophils was achieved 2 h post-transfection. We show that neutrophils transfected by nucleofection are functional cells, able to respond to soluble and particulate stimuli. They conserved the ability to undergo physiological processes including phagocytosis. Using this technique, we were able to show that the phox homology (PX) domain of p47phox localizes to the plasma membrane in human neutrophils. We also show that RhoB, but not the PX domain of p47phox, is translocated to the membrane of mature phagosomes.
We demonstrated that cDNA transfer and expression of exogenous protein in human neutrophils is compatible with cell viability and is no longer a limitation for the study of protein function in human neutrophils.
Axin1 and its homolog Axin2/conductin/Axil are negative regulators of the canonical Wnt pathway that suppress signal transduction by promoting degradation of β -catenin. Mice with deletion of Axin1 exhibit defects in axis determination and brain patterning during early embryonic development. We show that Axin2 is expressed in the osteogenic fronts and periosteum of developing sutures during skull morphogenesis. Targeted disruption of Axin2 in mice induces malformations of skull structures, a phenotype resembling craniosynostosis in humans. In the mutants, premature fusion of cranial sutures occurs at early postnatal stages. To elucidate the mechanism of craniosynostosis, we studied intramembranous ossification in Axin2-null mice. The calvarial osteoblast development is significantly affected by the Axin2 mutation. The Axin2 mutant displays enhanced expansion of osteoprogenitors, accelerated ossification, stimulated expression of osteogenic markers and increases in mineralization. Inactivation of Axin2 promotes osteoblast proliferation and differentiation in vivo and in vitro. Furthermore, as the mammalian skull is formed from cranial skeletogenic mesenchyme, which is derived from mesoderm and neural crest, our data argue for a region-specific effect of Axin2 on neural crest dependent skeletogenesis. The craniofacial anomalies caused by the Axin2 mutation are mediated through activation of β -catenin signaling, suggesting a novel role for the Wnt pathway in skull morphogenesis.
Axin; Axin2; Wnt; Neural crest; Craniosynostosis
Genetic manipulation of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) has been limited by their general resistance to common methods used to introduce exogenous DNA or RNA. Efficient and high throughput transfection of nucleic acids into hESC would be a valuable experimental tool to manipulate these cells for research and clinical applications.
We investigated the ability of two commercially available electroporation systems, the Nucleofection® 96-well Shuttle® System from Lonza and the Neon™ Transfection System from Invitrogen to efficiently transfect hESC. Transfection efficiency was measured by flow cytometry for the expression of the green fluorescent protein and the viability of the transfected cells was determined by an ATP catalyzed luciferase reaction. The transfected cells were also analyzed by flow cytometry for common markers of pluripotency.
Both systems are capable of transfecting hESC at high efficiencies with little loss of cell viability. However, the reproducibility and the ease of scaling for high throughput applications led us to perform more comprehensive tests on the Nucleofection® 96-well Shuttle® System. We demonstrate that this method yields a large fraction of transiently transfected cells with minimal loss of cell viability and pluripotency, producing protein expression from plasmid vectors in several different hESC lines. The method scales to a 96-well plate with similar transfection efficiencies at the start and end of the plate. We also investigated the efficiency with which stable transfectants can be generated and recovered under antibiotic selection. Finally, we found that this method is effective in the delivery of short synthetic RNA oligonucleotides (siRNA) into hESC for knockdown of translation activity via RNA interference.
Our results indicate that these electroporation methods provide a reliable, efficient, and high-throughput approach to the genetic manipulation of hESC.
Targeted disruption of Axin2 in mice induces skeletal defects, a phenotype resembling craniosynostosis in humans. Premature fusion of cranial sutures, caused by deficiency in intramembranous ossification, occurs at early postnatal stages. Axin2 negatively regulates both expansion of osteoprogenitors and maturation of osteoblasts through its modulation on Wnt/β-catenin signaling. We investigate the dual role of β-catenin to gain further insights into the skull morphogenetic circuitry. We show that as a transcriptional co-activator, β-catenin promotes cell division by stimulating its target cyclin D1 in osteoprogenitors. Upon differentiation of osteoprogenitors, BMP signaling is elevated to accelerate the process in a positive feedback mechanism. This Wnt-dependent BMP signal dictates cellular distribution of β-catenin. As an adhesion molecule, β-catenin promotes cell–cell interaction mediated by adherens junctions in mature osteoblasts. Finally, haploid deficiency of β-catenin alleviates the Axin2-null skeletal phenotypes. These findings support a model for disparate roles of β-catenin in osteoblast proliferation and differentiation.
Axin; Wnt; β-catenin; BMP; Craniosynostosis; Skull; Suture; Craniofacial morphogenesis; Development abnormalities