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Tissue Eng Part A. 2018 Apr;24(7-8):546-558. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2017.0153. Epub 2017 Aug 31.

Wnt/Yes-Associated Protein Interactions During Neural Tissue Patterning of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells.

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1 Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, Florida State University , Tallahassee, Florida.
2 Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, Florida State University , Tallahassee, Florida.


Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have special ability to self-assemble into neural spheroids or mini-brain-like structures. During the self-assembly process, Wnt signaling plays an important role in regional patterning and establishing positional identity of hiPSC-derived neural progenitors. Recently, the role of Wnt signaling in regulating Yes-associated protein (YAP) expression (nuclear or cytoplasmic), the pivotal regulator during organ growth and tissue generation, has attracted increasing interests. However, the interactions between Wnt and YAP expression for neural lineage commitment of hiPSCs remain poorly explored. The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of Wnt signaling and YAP expression on the cellular population in three-dimensional (3D) neural spheroids derived from hiPSCs. In this study, Wnt signaling was activated using CHIR99021 for 3D neural spheroids derived from human iPSK3 cells through embryoid body formation. Our results indicate that Wnt activation induces nuclear localization of YAP and upregulates the expression of HOXB4, the marker for hindbrain/spinal cord. By contrast, the cells exhibit more rostral forebrain neural identity (expression of TBR1) without Wnt activation. Cytochalasin D was then used to induce cytoplasmic YAP and the results showed the decreased HOXB4 expression. In addition, the incorporation of microparticles in the neural spheroids was investigated for the perturbation of neural patterning. This study may indicate the bidirectional interactions of Wnt signaling and YAP expression during neural tissue patterning, which have the significance in neurological disease modeling, drug screening, and neural tissue regeneration.


Wnt; YAP; neural patterning; pluripotent stem cell; three-dimensional

[Available on 2019-04-01]

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