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Artif Cells Nanomed Biotechnol. 2018;46(sup1):1114-1122. doi: 10.1080/21691401.2018.1446019. Epub 2018 Mar 6.

Precise nanoinjection delivery of plasmid DNA into a single fibroblast for direct conversion of astrocyte.

Author information

1
a Department of Integrated Biomedical and Life Science , Korea University , Seoul , Republic of Korea.
2
b Department of Bio-convergence Engineering , Korea University , Seoul , Republic of Korea.
3
c School of Biosystem and Biomedical Science , Korea University , Seoul , Republic of Korea.
4
d School of Biomedical Engineering , Korea University , Seoul , Republic of Korea.

Abstract

Direct conversion is a powerful approach to safely generate mature neural lineages with potential for treatment of neurological disorders. Astrocytes play a crucial role in neuronal homeostasis and their dysfunctions contribute to several neurodegenerative diseases. Using a single-cell approach for precision, we describe here a robust method using optimized DNA amounts for the direct conversion of mouse fibroblasts to astrocytes. Controlled amount of the reprogramming factors Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and cMyc was directly delivered into a single fibroblast cell. Consequently, 2500 DNA molecules, no more or less, were found to be the optimal amount that dramatically increased the expression levels of the astrocyte-specific markers GFAP and S100b and the demethylation gene TET1, the expression of which was sustained to maintain astrocyte functionality. The converted astrocytes showed glutamate uptake ability and electrophysiological activity. Furthermore, we demonstrated a potential mechanism whereby fibroblast was directly converted into astrocyte at a single-cell level; this was achieved by activating BMP2 pathway through direct binding of Sox2 protein to BMP2 gene. This study suggests that nanotechnology for directly injecting plasmid DNAs into cell nuclei may help understand such a conversion at single-cell level.

KEYWORDS:

Quantitative and controllable injection; a single cell; astrocytes; direct conversion

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