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What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? - Lung Patterning, Injury-induced Transdifferentiation, MSC Pilot Study, and Universal Mutation Correction!

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The Stem Cells Portal brings you a roundup of some of the new and exciting stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells, regenerative medicine, and beyond!

Lung Patterning Regulated by Long non-coding RNA Expression

Regulation of lung development is a multifactorial affair, and researchers from the labs of Anurag Varshney and Rajarshi Pal sought to assess how long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) expression affected lung morphogenesis. In their new STEM CELLS study, Banerjee et al. differentiated human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) into distal and proximal lung progenitors to mimic in vivo lung development and discovered a role for a novel lncRNA (RP11‐ 380D23.2) during distal‐proximal patterning. The authors suggest that this new lncRNA inhibits the chromatin binding of the PITX2 repressor PARP1 to mediate its effect.

Lung Injury-induced Transdifferentiation of Pulmonary Neuroendocrine Cells

Tissue repair techniques include replacement of cells by the expansion and lineage conversion, or transdifferentiation, of healthy tissue resident cells. Researchers from the labs of Hai Song (Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China) and Pao-Tien Chuang (University of California, USA) sought to assess transdifferentiation of pulmonary neuroendocrine cells (PNECs) in response to lung injury. Interestingly, Yao et al. discovered that injury leads to increased Notch expression in PNECs, which promoted proliferation and transdifferentiation into club cells, ciliated cells, and goblet cells. Transdifferentiation required epigenetic alterations mediated by the polycomb repressive complex 2 and inflammatory responses that involve the IL6-STAT3 pathway. See STEM CELLS now for all the details.


Pilot Study of MSCs for Islet Cotransplantation

A new study from the lab of Hongjun Wang (Medical University of South Carolina, USA) sought to assess if cotransplantation of ex vivo expanded autologous bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) could improve islet engraftment in human patients. The results of this trial, published in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, indicate the safety of this strategy and that it represents a potentially exciting approach to improve islet engraftment after transplantation. The authors note that their results justify a larger and randomized clinical trial, as MSCs display the potential to reduce inflammatory damage and support angiogenesis in transplanted islets.

Universal CRISPR-Cas9 Mutation Correction Strategy in Human Stem Cells

The correction of each single mutation via CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing requires a tailored approach; however, a new study from Linzhao Cheng (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Maryland, USA) and Zhaohui Ye (US Food and Drug Administration, Maryland, USA) now reports on a universal means to correct all possible mutations in the exon of a gene. This universal correction strategy employs the targeted insertion of a wildtype HBB cDNA in exon 1 of the HBB gene via the application of Cas9 and two validated guide RNAs in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Excitingly, Cai et al. demonstrate that this approach leads to the restoration of HBB protein in iPSC-derived erythrocytes. See STEM CELLS Translational Medicine now for all the details!

That’s a wrap for now! Please feel free to leave a comment and discuss the papers covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz. Happy reading!