- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) enable cardiotoxicity testing and personalized medicine. However, their maturity is of concern, including relatively depolarized resting membrane potential and more spontaneous activity compared with adult cardiomyocytes, implicating low or lacking inward rectifier potassium current ( I k1 ). Here, protein quantification confirms Kir2.1 expression in hiPSC-CM syncytia, albeit several times lower than in adult heart tissue. We find that hiPSC-CM culture density influences Kir2.1 expression at the mRNA level (potassium inwardly rectifying channel subfamily J member 2) and at the protein level and its associated electrophysiology phenotype. Namely, all-optical cardiac electrophysiology and pharmacological treatments reveal reduction of spontaneous and irregular activity and increase in action potential upstroke in denser cultures. Blocking I k1 -like currents with BaCl 2 increased spontaneous frequency and blunted action potential upstrokes during pacing in a dose-dependent manner only in the highest-density cultures, in line with I k1 ’s role in regulating the resting membrane potential. Our results emphasize the importance of syncytial growth of hiPSC-CMs for more physiologically relevant phenotype and the power of all-optical electrophysiology to study cardiomyocytes in their multicellular setting. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We identify cell culture density and cell-cell contact as an important factormore »
OptoGap is an optogenetics-enabled assay for quantification of cell–cell coupling in multicellular cardiac tissueAbstract Intercellular electrical coupling is an essential means of communication between cells. It is important to obtain quantitative knowledge of such coupling between cardiomyocytes and non-excitable cells when, for example, pathological electrical coupling between myofibroblasts and cardiomyocytes yields increased arrhythmia risk or during the integration of donor (e.g., cardiac progenitor) cells with native cardiomyocytes in cell-therapy approaches. Currently, there is no direct method for assessing heterocellular coupling within multicellular tissue. Here we demonstrate experimentally and computationally a new contactless assay for electrical coupling, OptoGap, based on selective illumination of inexcitable cells that express optogenetic actuators and optical sensing of the response of coupled excitable cells (e.g., cardiomyocytes) that are light-insensitive. Cell–cell coupling is quantified by the energy required to elicit an action potential via junctional current from the light-stimulated cell(s). The proposed technique is experimentally validated against the standard indirect approach, GapFRAP, using light-sensitive cardiac fibroblasts and non-transformed cardiomyocytes in a two-dimensional setting. Its potential applicability to the complex three-dimensional setting of the native heart is corroborated by computational modelling and proper calibration. Lastly, the sensitivity of OptoGap to intrinsic cell-scale excitability is robustly characterized via computational analysis.
Efforts to direct the specification of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) to therapeutically important somatic cell types have focused on identifying proper combinations of soluble cues. Yet, whether exosomes, which mediate intercellular communication, play a role in the differentiation remains unexplored. We took a first step toward addressing this question by subjecting hPSCs to stage-wise specification toward cardiomyocytes (CMs) in scalable stirred-suspension cultures and collecting exosomes. Samples underwent liquid chromatography (LC)/mass spectrometry (MS) and subsequent proteomic analysis revealed over 300 unique proteins from four differentiation stages including proteins such as PPP2CA, AFM, MYH9, MYH10, TRA2B, CTNNA1, EHD1, ACTC1, LDHB, and GPC4, which are linked to cardiogenic commitment. There was a significant correlation of the protein composition of exosomes with the hPSC line and stage of commitment. Differentiating hPSCs treated with exosomes from hPSC-derived CMs displayed improved efficiency of CM formation compared to cells without exogenously added vesicles. Collectively, these results demonstrate that exosomes from hPSCs induced along the CM lineage contain proteins linked to the specification process with modulating effects and open avenues for enhancing the biomanufacturing of stem cell products for cardiac diseases.
Cardiomyocytes (CMs) and fibroblast cells are two essential elements for cardiac tissue structure and function. The interactions between them can alter cardiac electrophysiology and thus contribute to cardiac diseases, such as arrhythmogenesis. One possible explanation is that fibroblasts can directly affect cardiac electrophysiology through electrical coupling with CMs. Therefore, detecting the electrical activities in the CM-fibroblast network is vital for understanding the coupling dynamics among them. Current commercialized platforms for studying cardiac electrophysiology utilize planar microelectrode arrays (MEAs) to record the extracellular field potential (FP) in real-time, but the prearranged electrode configuration highly limits the measurement capabilities at specific locations. Here, we report a custom-designed MEA device with a novel micropatterning method to construct a controlled network of neonatal rat CMs (rCMs) and fibroblast connections for monitoring the electrical activity of rCM-fibroblast co-cultures in a spatially controlled fashion. For the micropatterning of the co-culture, surface topographical features and mobile blockers were used to control the initial attachment locations of a mixture of rCMs and fibroblasts, to form separate beating rCM-fibroblast clusters while leaving empty space for fibroblast growth to connect these clusters. Once the blockers are removed, the proliferating fibroblasts connect and couple the separate beating clusters. Using this method,more »
Human induced pluripotent stem cell line with genetically encoded fluorescent voltage indicator generated via CRISPR for action potential assessment post-cardiogenesis
Genetically encoded fluorescent voltage indicators, such as ArcLight, have been used to report action potentials (APs) in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs). However, the ArcLight expression, in all cases, relied on a high number of lentiviral vector-mediated random genome integrations (8-12 copy/cell), raising concerns such as gene disruption and alteration of global and local gene expression, as well as loss or silencing of reporter genes after differentiation. Here, we report the use of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 nuclease technique to develop a hiPSC line stably expressing ArcLight from the AAVS1 safe harbor locus. The hiPSC line retained proliferative ability with a growth rate similar to its parental strain. Optical recording with conventional epifluorescence microscopy allowed the detection of APs as early as 21 days postdifferentiation, and could be repeatedly monitored for at least 5 months. Moreover, quantification and analysis of the APs of ArcLight-CMs identified two distinctive subtypes: a group with high frequency of spontaneous APs of small amplitudes that were pacemaker-like CMs and a group with low frequency of automaticity and large amplitudes that resembled the working CMs. Compared with FluoVolt voltage-sensitive dye, although dimmer, the ArcLight reporter exhibited better optical performance in termsmore »