34 research outputs found

    ECM-Incorporated Hydrogels Cross-Linked via Native Chemical Ligation To Engineer Stem Cell Microenvironments

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    Limiting the precise study of the biochemical impact of whole molecule extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins on stem cell differentiation is the lack of 3D in vitro models that can accommodate many different types of ECM. Here we sought to generate such a system while maintaining consistent mechanical properties and supporting stem cell survival. To this end, we used native chemical ligation to cross-link poly(ethylene glycol) macromonomers under mild conditions while entrapping ECM proteins (termed ECM composites) and stem cells. Sufficiently low concentrations of ECM were used to maintain constant storage moduli and pore size. Viability of stem cells in composites was maintained over multiple weeks. ECM of composites encompassed stem cells and directed the formation of distinct structures dependent on ECM type. Thus, we introduce a powerful approach to study the biochemical impact of multiple ECM proteins (either alone or in combination) on stem cell behavior

    Endogenous Fluorescence Signatures in Living Pluripotent Stem Cells Change with Loss of Potency

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    <div><p>The therapeutic potential of stem cells is limited by the non-uniformity of their phenotypic state. Thus it would be advantageous to noninvasively monitor stem cell status. Driven by this challenge, we employed multidimensional multiphoton microscopy to quantify changes in endogenous fluorescence occurring with pluripotent stem cell differentiation. We found that global and cellular-scale fluorescence lifetime of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and murine embryonic stem cells (mESC) consistently decreased with differentiation. Less consistent were trends in endogenous fluorescence intensity with differentiation, suggesting intensity is more readily impacted by nuances of species and scale of analysis. What emerges is a practical and accessible approach to evaluate, and ultimately enrich, living stem cell populations based on changes in metabolism that could be exploited for both research and clinical applications.</p> </div

    CAR-1, a Protein That Localizes with the mRNA Decapping Component DCAP-1, Is Required for Cytokinesis and ER Organization in Caenorhabditis elegans Embryos

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    The division of one cell into two requires the coordination of multiple components. We describe a gene, car-1, whose product may provide a link between disparate cellular processes. Inhibition of car-1 expression in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos causes late cytokinesis failures: cleavage furrows ingress but subsequently regress and the spindle midzone fails to form, even though midzone components are present. The localized accumulation of membrane that normally develops at the apex of the cleavage furrow during the final phase of cytokinesis does not occur and organization of the endoplasmic reticulum is aberrant, indicative of a disruption in membrane trafficking. The car-1 gene has homologues in a number of species, including proteins that associate with RNA binding proteins. CAR-1 localizes to P-granules (germ-line specific ribonucleoprotein particles) and discrete, developmentally regulated cytoplasmic foci. These foci also contain DCAP-1, a protein involved in decapping mRNAs. Thus, CAR-1, a protein likely to be associated with RNA metabolism, plays an essential role in the late stage of cytokinesis, suggesting a novel link between RNA, membrane trafficking and cytokinesis in the C. elegans embryo

    Involvement of the Actin Cytoskeleton and Homotypic Membrane Fusion in ER Dynamics in Caenorhabditis elegans

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    The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the major intracellular membrane system. The ER is essential for protein and lipid biosynthesis, transport of proteins along the secretory pathway, and calcium storage. Here, we describe our investigations into the dynamics and regulation of the ER in the early Caenorhabditis elegans embryo. Using a GFP fusion to the ER-resident signal peptidase SP12, we observed the morphological transitions of the ER through fertilization and the early cell-cycles in living embryos. These transitions were tightly coordinated with the division cycle: upon onset of mitosis, the ER formed structured sheets that redispersed at the initiation of cleavage. Although microtubules were not required for the transition of the ER between these different states, the actin cytoskeleton facilitated the dispersal of the ER at the end of mitosis. The ER had an asymmetric distribution in the early embryo, which was dependent on the establishment of polarity by the PAR proteins. The small GTPase ARF-1 played an essential role in the ER dynamics, although this function appeared to be unrelated to the role of ARF-1 in vesicular traffic. In addition, the ER-resident heat shock protein BiP and a homologue of the AAA ATPase Cdc48/p97 were found to be crucial for the ER transitions. Both proteins have been implicated in homotypic ER membrane fusion. We provide evidence that homotypic membrane fusion is required to form the sheet structure in the early embryo