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Title: Dynamic Click Hydrogels for Xeno‐Free Culture of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Xeno‐free, chemically defined poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)‐based hydrogels are being increasingly used for in vitro culture and differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). These synthetic matrices provide tunable gelation and adaptable material properties crucial for guiding stem cell fate. Here, sequential norbornene‐click chemistries are integrated to form synthetic, dynamically tunable PEG–peptide hydrogels for hiPSCs culture and differentiation. Specifically, hiPSCs are photoencapsulated in thiol–norbornene hydrogels crosslinked by multiarm PEG–norbornene (PEG–NB) and proteaselabile crosslinkers. These matrices are used to evaluate hiPSC growth under the influence of extracellular matrix properties. Tetrazine–norbornene (Tz–NB) click reaction is then employed to dynamically stiffen the cell‐laden hydrogels. Fast reactive Tz and its stable derivative methyltetrazine (mTz) are tethered to multiarm PEG, yielding mono‐functionalized PEG‐Tz, PEG‐mTz, and dualfunctionalized PEG‐Tz/mTz that react with PEG–NB to form additional crosslinks in the cell‐laden hydrogels. The versatility of Tz‐NB stiffening is demonstrated with different Tz‐modified macromers or by intermittent incubation of PEG‐Tz for temporal stiffening. Finally, the Tz–NB‐mediated dynamic stiffening is explored for 4D culture and definitive endoderm differentiation of hiPSCs. Overall, this dynamic hydrogel platform affords exquisite controls of hydrogel crosslinking for serving as a xeno‐free and dynamic stem cell niche.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advanced Biosystems
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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