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Stem Cells. 2009 Jul;27(7):1496-506. doi: 10.1002/stem.73.

Gene targeting in a HUES line of human embryonic stem cells via electroporation.

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  • 1Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and Department of Neurosciences, University of California San Diego, School of Medicine, La Jolla, California 92093-0691, USA.


Genetic modification is critical for achieving the full potential of human embryonic stem (ES) cells as a tool for therapeutic development and for basic research. Targeted modifications in human ES cells have met with limited success because of the unique culture conditions for many human ES cell lines. The HUES lines of human ES cells were developed for ease of manipulation and are gaining increased utility in stem cell research. We tested conditions for gene targeting via electroporation in the HUES-9 human ES cell line and demonstrate here successful gene targeting at the gene encoding Fezf2 (also known as Fezl), a transcription factor involved in corticospinal neuron development. With a targeting strategy involving positive and negative selection that is applicable to all genes, we observed a gene targeting frequency of approximately 1.5% for Fezf2, a gene not expressed in human ES cells. We found that conditions developed for gene targeting in mouse ES cells can be readily adapted to HUES cells with few key modifications. HUES-9 cells exhibit an intrinsically high efficiency of clonal expansion and sustain electroporation-based gene targeting procedures without any significant loss of pluripotency marker expression or karyotypic stability. Thus, human ES cell lines adapted for enzymatic passage and efficient clonal expansion can be highly amenable to genetic modifications, which will facilitate their application in basic science and clinical development.

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