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J Biotechnol. 2008 Mar 20;134(1-2):162-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2007.11.011. Epub 2007 Dec 14.

Cardiomyogenic gene expression profiling of differentiating human embryonic stem cells.

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  • 1School of Humanities and Informatics, University of Skövde, SE-541 28 Skövde, Sweden.


Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) can differentiate into a variety of specialized cell types. Thus, they provide a model system for embryonic development to investigate the molecular processes of cell differentiation and lineage commitment. The development of the cardiac lineage is easily detected in mixed cultures by the appearance of spontaneously contracting areas of cells. We performed gene expression profiling of undifferentiated and differentiating hESCs and monitored 468 genes expressed during cardiac development and/or in cardiac tissue. Their transcription during early differentiation of hESCs through embryoid bodies (EBs) was investigated and compared with spontaneously differentiating hESCs maintained on feeders in culture without passaging (high-density (HD) protocol). We observed a larger variation in the gene expression between cells from a single cell line that were differentiated using two different protocols than in cells from different cell lines that were cultured according to the same protocol. Notably, the EB protocol resulted in more reproducible transcription profiles than the HD protocol. The results presented here provide new information about gene regulation during early differentiation of hESCs with emphasis on the cardiomyogenic program. In addition, we also identified regulatory elements that could prove critical for the development of the cardiomyocyte lineage.

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