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A Novel Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neural Crest Model of Treacher Collins Syndrome Shows Defects in Cell Death and Migration.

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Serrano, Felipe 
Bernard, William George 
Granata, Alessandra  ORCID logo
Iyer, Dharini 
Steventon, Benjamin  ORCID logo


The neural crest (NC) is a transient multipotent cell population present during embryonic development. The NC can give rise to multiple cell types and is involved in a number of different diseases. Therefore, the development of new strategies to model NC in vitro enables investigations into the mechanisms involved in NC development and disease. In this study, we report a simple and efficient protocol to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells (HPSC) into NC using a chemically defined media, with basic fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) and the transforming growth factor-β inhibitor SB-431542. The cell population generated expresses a range of NC markers, including P75, TWIST1, SOX10, and TFAP2A. NC purification was achieved in vitro through serial passaging of the population, recreating the developmental stages of NC differentiation. The generated NC cells are highly proliferative, capable of differentiating to their derivatives in vitro and engraft in vivo to NC specific locations. In addition, these cells could be frozen for storage and thawed with no loss of NC properties, nor the ability to generate cellular derivatives. We assessed the potential of the derived NC population to model the neurocristopathy, Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS), using small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of TCOF1 and by creating different TCOF1+/- HPSC lines through CRISPR/Cas9 technology. The NC cells derived from TCOF1+/- HPSC recapitulate the phenotype of the reported TCS murine model. We also report for the first time an impairment of migration in TCOF1+/- NC and mesenchymal stem cells. In conclusion, the developed protocol permits the generation of the large number of NC cells required for developmental studies, disease modeling, and for drug discovery platforms in vitro.



Treacher Collins syndrome, differentiation, disease modeling, human pluripotent stem cells, neural crest, Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing, Animals, Benzamides, Cell Death, Cell Differentiation, Cell Movement, Cellular Reprogramming Techniques, Chick Embryo, Dioxoles, Fibroblast Growth Factor 2, Humans, Mandibulofacial Dysostosis, Neural Crest, Neural Stem Cells, Nuclear Proteins, Phosphoproteins, Pluripotent Stem Cells, SOXE Transcription Factors, Transcription Factor AP-2, Transcription Factors, Twist-Related Protein 1

Journal Title

Stem Cells Dev

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Mary Ann Liebert Inc
Wellcome Trust (109408/Z/15/Z)
Medical Research Council (MC_PC_12009)
British Heart Foundation (PG/17/24/32886)
Wellcome Trust (203151/Z/16/Z)
British Heart Foundation (None)
British Heart Foundation (None)
National Centre for the Replacement Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC/N001540/1)
British Heart Foundation (None)
British Heart Foundation (RG/17/5/32936)
British Heart Foundation (FS/18/46/33663)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Societal Challenges (668294-2 INTENS)