Volume 8.27 | Jul 10

ESC & iPSC News 8.27 July 10, 2013
ESC & iPSC News
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TOP STORY
Researchers Create the Inner Ear from Stem Cells, Opening Potential for New Treatments
Scientists have transformed mouse embryonic stem cells into key structures of the inner ear. A research team reported that by using a three-dimensional cell culture method, they were able to coax stem cells to develop into inner-ear sensory epithelia – containing hair cells, supporting cells and neurons – that detect sound, head movements and gravity. [Press release from the Indiana University School of Medicine discussing online prepublication in Nature] Press Release | Abstract
Take the "if" out of "diff": reduce variability when differentiating to definitive endoderm.
 
PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by impact factor of the journal)
Functional Genomic Screen of Human Stem Cell Differentiation Reveals Pathways Involved in Neurodevelopment and Neurodegeneration
Human embryonic stem cells can be induced and differentiated to form a relatively homogeneous population of neuronal precursors in vitro. Investigators used this system to screen for genes necessary for neural lineage development by using a pooled human short hairpin RNA library screen and massively parallel sequencing. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA] Abstract

Modeling Key Pathological Features of Frontotemporal Dementia with C9ORF72 Repeat Expansion in iPSC-Derived Human Neurons
Researchers generated a human neuronal model and investigated the pathological phenotypes of human neurons containing GGGGCC repeat expansions. Skin biopsies were obtained from two subjects who had >1,000 GGGGCC repeats in C9ORF72 and their respective fibroblasts were used to generate multiple induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines. [Acta Neuropathol] Full Article

Insulin and IGFs Enhance Hepatocyte Differentiation from Human Embryonic Stem Cells via the PI3K/AKT Pathway
Scientists found that insulin enhanced hepatocyte differentiation from human embryonic stem cell-derived definitive endoderm (DE). Insulin activated the PI3K/AKT pathway, but not the MAPK pathway in the DE cells, and inhibition of the PI3K/AKT pathways by inhibitors markedly inhibited hepatocyte differentiation. In addition, IGF1 and IGF2 also activated the PI3K/AKT pathway in DE cells and their expression was robustly upregulated during hepatocyte differentiation from DE. [Stem Cells] Abstract

A Microparticle Approach to Morphogen Delivery within Pluripotent Stem Cell Aggregates
Researchers describe a microparticle (MP)-based approach to deliver growth factors within multicellular aggregates to direct pluripotent stem cell differentiation. Compared to conventional soluble delivery methods, gelatin MPs laden with bone morphogenic protein-4 or noggin induced efficient gene expression of mesoderm and ectoderm lineages, respectively, despite using nearly 12-fold less total growth factor. [Biomaterials] Abstract | Press Release

Induction of Inner Ear Hair Cell-Like Cells from Math1-Transfected Mouse ES Cells
Although embryonic stem (ES) cells are able to produce hair cell (HC)-like cells, the role of Math1 in induction of those cells has not been thoroughly elucidated. The authors introduced Math1 into ES cells in order to achieve efficient generation of HC-like cells. [Cell Death Dis] Full Article

Influence of Activin A Supplementation during Human Embryonic Stem Cell Derivation on Germ Cell Differentiation Potential
Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are more similar to ‘primed’ mouse epiblast stem cells (mEpiSCs). mEpiSCs, which are derived in Activin A, show an increased propensity to form primordial germ cell (PGC)-like cells in response to bone morphogenic protein 4 (BMP4). Hence, the authors hypothesized that hESCs derived in the presence of Activin A may be more competent in differentiating towards PGC-like cells after supplementation with BMP4 compared to standard hESC lines. [Stem Cells Dev] Abstract

TPC2 Signaling Inhibits Autophagosomal-Lysosomal Fusion by Alkalizing Lysosomal pH
Scientists found that overexpression of two pore channel 2 (TPC2) in HeLa or mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells inhibited autophagosomal-lysosomal fusion, thereby resulting in the accumulation of autophagosomes. Treatment of TPC2 expressing cells with a cell permeant-NAADP agonist, NAADP-AM, further induced autophagosome accumulation. On the other hand, TPC2 knockdown or treatment of cells with Ned-19, a NAADP antagonist, markedly decreased the accumulation of autophagosomes. [J Biol Chem]
Abstract | Full Article

Overexpression of miR-122 Promotes the Hepatic Differentiation and Maturation of Mouse ESCs through a miR-122/FoxA1/HNF4a-Positive Feedback Loop
Researchers aimed to elucidate the effect and underlying mechanisms of microRNA (miR)-122 during differentiation of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into hepatocytes. [Liver Int] Abstract

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REVIEWS
Induced Regeneration – The Progress and Promise of Direct Reprogramming for Heart Repair
The authors examine key developments in the generation of new cardiomyocytes in vitro as well as the exciting progress that has been made toward in vivo reprogramming of cardiac tissue. They also address controversies and hurdles that challenge the field. [Nat Med] Abstract

Visit our reviews page to see a complete list of reviews in the ESC & iPSC research field.  
 
INDUSTRY NEWS
Scéil™: A New Offering for the General Public to Turn Adult Cells into Stem Cells and Store Them
The Cellectis Group announced that it is launching Scéil™, an offering for the general public that involves storing induced pluripotent stem cells generated from a skin sample so that people can benefit, if needed, from future regenerative medicine treatments as soon as they become available. [Cellectis] Press Release

ViaCyte, Inc. Raises $10.6 Million in a Private Financing to Support Clinical Development of its Cell Therapy Product for Insulin Dependent Diabetes
ViaCyte, Inc. announced that it completed a private equity financing transaction, providing the Company $10.6 million through the sale of Series C-1 Preferred Stock, together with warrants to purchase stock. The Company will use the funds to pursue clinical development of VC-01. VC-01 is a development-stage product that consists of pancreatic precursor cells (designated PEC-01) manufactured through directed differentiation of stem cells sourced from a proprietary human embryonic stem cell line, and encapsulated in a proprietary, immune protective medical device (the ENCAPTRA® device). [ViaCyte, Inc.] Press Release

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POLICY NEWS
European Deal Cuts Red Tape
A deal struck during negotiations on the research program for the next seven years in the European Union promises a significant change to the way in which institutions are reimbursed for the overhead costs of their research. The agreement for Horizon 2020 sweeps away the onerous red tape involved in the present diverse arrangements and replaces it with an across-the-board 25% reimbursement rate for all. [European Commission, European Union] Press Release

Anger as Spanish Funder Claws Back Science Money
Researchers at institutes funded by Spain’s National Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) are outraged over a move to take back unspent money from their budgets. The council’s decision is the latest development in Spain’s burgeoning science crisis. Any institute that has been frugal with its funding and has saved money will now find some of those savings absorbed back into the CSIC’s centralized pot. [National Council for Scientific Research, Spain] Press Release

Japan’s Science Policy Council Expands Role
Japan’s highest science advisory panel plans to be more active in implementing the current administration’s policies and in directly funding research. The new activism is intended to help it foster innovation, a central pillar of the new economic growth strategy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. [Council for Science and Technology Policy, Japan] Press Release  
 
EVENTS
NEW Israel Stem Cell Society (ISCS): 5th International Stem Cell Meeting
October 8-9, 2013
Jerusalem, Israel

NEW World Stem Cell Summit 2013
December 4-6, 2013
San Diego, United States

Visit our events page to see a complete list of events in the ESC & iPSC community.
 
JOB OPPORTUNITIES
NEW Postdoctoral Position – Stem Cell Therapy and Epigenetics of Retina (University of Pittsburgh, Ophthalmology)

Postdoctoral Research Associate – Muscular Dystrophy (Queen Mary University of London)

Postdoctoral Position – Pluripotent Stem Cells to Islets (INSERM FRANCE)

Postdoctoral Fellowship – Organic Synthesis and Medicinal Chemistry (Masaryk University)

Early Stage Researcher – Effect of Oxidative Damage on hES Cells Signaling Pathways (Avantea, Laboratory of Reproductive Technologies)

Director of Cell Processing Facility (S L Collins Associates, Inc.)

Postdoctoral Fellow – Cancer Immunology (Medical University of South Carolina)


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