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Exp Cell Res. 2012 Feb 15;318(4):424-34. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2011.12.004. Epub 2011 Dec 20.

Human amniotic epithelial cell feeder layers maintain human iPS cell pluripotency via inhibited endogenous microRNA-145 and increased Sox2 expression.

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School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Donghua University, Songjiang District, Shanghai 201620, China.


Currently, human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells were generated from patient or disease-specific sources and share the same key properties as embryonic stem cells. This makes them attractive for personalized medicine, drug screens or cellular therapy. Long-term cultivation and maintenance of normal iPS cells in an undifferentiated self-renewing state are a major challenge. Our previous studies have shown that human amniotic epithelial cells (HuAECs) could provide a good source of feeder cells for mouse and human embryonic stem cells, or spermatogonial stem cells, but the mechanism for this is unknown. Here, we examined the effect of endogenous microRNA-145 regulation on Sox2 expression in human iPS cells by HuAECs feeder cells regulation, and in turn on human iPS cells pluripotency. We found that human IPS cells transfected with a microRNA-145 mutant expressed Sox2 at high levels, allowing iPS to maintain a high level of AP activity in long-term culture and form teratomas in SCID mice. Expression of stem cell markers was increased in iPS transfected with the microRNA-145 mutant, compared with iPS was transfected with microRNA-145. Besides, the expression of Drosha proteins of the microRNA-processor complex, required for the generation of precursor pre-miRNA, was significantly increased in human iPS cells cultured on MEF but not on HuAECs. Taken together, these results suggest that endogenous Sox2 expression may be regulated by microRNA-145 in human iPS cells with HuAECs feeder cells, and Sox2 is a crucial component required for maintenance of them in an undifferentiated, proliferative state capable of self-renewal.

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