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1.  Differentiation of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells into Endoderm without Embryoid Body Formation 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e14146.
Pluripotent embryonic stem cells hold a great promise as an unlimited source of tissue for treatment of chronic diseases such as Type 1 diabetes. Herein, we describe a protocol using all-trans-retinoic acid, basic fibroblast growth factor and dibutyryl cAMP (DBcAMP) in the absence of embryoid body formation, for differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells into definitive endoderm that may serve as pancreatic precursors. The produced cells were analyzed by quantitative PCR, immunohistochemistry and static insulin release assay for markers of trilaminar embryo, and pancreas. Differentiated cells displayed increased Sox17 and Foxa2 expression consistent with definitive endoderm production. There was minimal production of Sox7, an extraembryonic endoderm marker, and Oct4, a marker of pluripotency. There was minimal mesoderm or neuroectoderm formation based on expression levels of the markers brachyury and Sox1, respectively. Various assays revealed that the cell clusters generated by this protocol express markers of the pancreatic lineage including insulin I, insulin II, C-peptide, PDX-1, carboxypeptidase E, pan-cytokeratin, amylase, glucagon, PAX6, Ngn3 and Nkx6.1. This protocol using all-trans-retinoic acid, DBcAMP, in the absence of embryoid bodies, generated cells that have features of definitive endoderm that may serve as pancreatic endocrine precursors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014146
PMCID: PMC2994751  PMID: 21152387
2.  Highly Efficient Stable Expression of Indoleamine 2,3 Dioxygenase Gene in Primary Fibroblasts 
Biological Procedures Online  2010;12:107-112.
Indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) is a potent immunomodulatory enzyme that has recently attracted significant attention for its potential application as an inducer of immunotolerance in transplantation. We have previously demonstrated that a collagen matrix populated with IDO-expressing fibroblasts can be applied successfully in suppressing islet allogeneic immune response. Meanwhile, a critical aspect of such immunological intervention relies largely on effective long-term expression of the IDO gene. Moreover, gene manipulation of primary cells is known to be challenging due to unsatisfactory expression of the exogenous gene. In this study, a lentiviral gene delivery system has been employed to transduce primary fibroblasts. We used polybrene to efficiently deliver the IDO gene into primary fibroblasts and showed a significant increase (about tenfold) in the rate of gene transfection. In addition, by the use of fluorescence-activated cell sorting, a 95% pure population of IDO-expressing fibroblasts was successfully obtained. The efficiency of the IDO expression and the activity of the enzyme have been confirmed by Western blotting, fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis, and Kynurenine assay, respectively. The findings of this study revealed simple and effective strategies through which an efficient and stable expression of IDO can be achieved for primary cells which, in turn, significantly improves its potential as a tool for achieving immunotolerance in different types of transplantation.
doi:10.1007/s12575-010-9028-6
PMCID: PMC3055793  PMID: 21406070
Lentiviral vector; Indoleamine 2; 3 dioxygenase; Primary fibroblast; Transplantation; Immunogenicity
3.  PTEN Loss Promotes Mitochondrially Dependent Type II Fas-Induced Apoptosis via PEA-15▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;29(5):1222-1234.
Two distinct biochemical signals are delivered by the CD95/Fas death receptor. The molecular basis for the differential mitochondrially independent (type I) and mitochondrially dependent (type II) Fas apoptosis pathways is unknown. By analyzing 24 Fas-sensitive tumor lines, we now demonstrate that expression/activity of the PTEN tumor suppressor strongly correlates with the distinct Fas signals. PTEN loss-of-function and gain-of-function studies demonstrate the ability to interconvert between type I and type II Fas pathways. Importantly, from analyses of Bcl-2 transgenic Pten+/− mice, Pten haploinsufficiency converts Fas-induced apoptosis from a Bcl-2-independent to a Bcl-2-sensitive response in primary thymocytes and activated T lymphocytes. We further show that PTEN influences Fas signaling, at least in part, by regulating PEA-15 phosphorylation and activity that, in turn, regulate the ability of Bcl-2 to suppress Fas-induced apoptosis. Thus, PTEN is a key molecular rheostat that determines whether a cell dies by a mitochondrially independent type I versus a mitochondrially dependent type II apoptotic pathway upon Fas stimulation.
doi:10.1128/MCB.01660-08
PMCID: PMC2643821  PMID: 19103758

Results 1-3 (3)