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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59252. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059252. Epub 2013 Mar 22.

Derivation and expansion using only small molecules of human neural progenitors for neurodegenerative disease modeling.

Author information

1
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster, North Rhine Westphalia, Germany.

Erratum in

  • PLoS One. 2013;8(11). doi:10.1371/annotation/6a917a2e-df4a-4ad9-99bb-6aa7218b833e.

Abstract

Phenotypic drug discovery requires billions of cells for high-throughput screening (HTS) campaigns. Because up to several million different small molecules will be tested in a single HTS campaign, even small variability within the cell populations for screening could easily invalidate an entire campaign. Neurodegenerative assays are particularly challenging because neurons are post-mitotic and cannot be expanded for implementation in HTS. Therefore, HTS for neuroprotective compounds requires a cell type that is robustly expandable and able to differentiate into all of the neuronal subtypes involved in disease pathogenesis. Here, we report the derivation and propagation using only small molecules of human neural progenitor cells (small molecule neural precursor cells; smNPCs). smNPCs are robust, exhibit immortal expansion, and do not require cumbersome manual culture and selection steps. We demonstrate that smNPCs have the potential to clonally and efficiently differentiate into neural tube lineages, including motor neurons (MNs) and midbrain dopaminergic neurons (mDANs) as well as neural crest lineages, including peripheral neurons and mesenchymal cells. These properties are so far only matched by pluripotent stem cells. Finally, to demonstrate the usefulness of smNPCs we show that mDANs differentiated from smNPCs with LRRK2 G2019S are more susceptible to apoptosis in the presence of oxidative stress compared to wild-type. Therefore, smNPCs are a powerful biological tool with properties that are optimal for large-scale disease modeling, phenotypic screening, and studies of early human development.

PMID:
23533608
PMCID:
PMC3606479
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0059252
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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