Cell Biology


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0 Q&A 5148 Views Jun 20, 2024

The Auxin-inducible degron (AID) system is a genetic tool that induces rapid target protein depletion in an auxin-dependent manner. Recently, two advanced AID systems—the super-sensitive AID and AID 2—were developed using an improved pair of synthetic auxins and mutated TIR1 proteins. In these AID systems, a nanomolar concentration of synthetic auxins is sufficient as a degradation inducer for target proteins. However, despite these advancements, AID systems still require the fusion of an AID tag to the target protein for degradation, potentially affecting its function and stability. To address this limitation, we developed an affinity linker–based super-sensitive AID (AlissAID) system using a single peptide antibody known as a nanobody. In this system, the degradation of GFP- or mCherry-tagged target proteins is induced in a synthetic auxin (5-Ad-IAA)–dependent manner. Here, we introduce a simple method for generating AlissAID strains targeting GFP or mCherry fusion proteins in budding yeasts.

0 Q&A 726 Views May 5, 2024

Various protocols have been proven effective in the directed differentiation of mouse and human pluripotent stem cells into skeletal muscles and used to study myogenesis. Current 2D myogenic differentiation protocols can mimic muscle development and its alteration under pathological conditions such as muscular dystrophies. 3D skeletal muscle differentiation approaches can, in addition, model the interaction between the various cell types within the developing organoid. Our protocol ensures the differentiation of human embryonic/induced pluripotent stem cells (hESC/hiPSC) into skeletal muscle organoids (SMO) via cells with paraxial mesoderm and neuromesodermal progenitors’ identity and further production of organized structures of the neural plate margin and the dermomyotome. Continuous culturing omits neural lineage differentiation and promotes fetal myogenesis, including the maturation of fibroadipogenic progenitors and PAX7-positive myogenic progenitors. The PAX7 progenitors resemble the late fetal stages of human development and, based on single-cell transcriptomic profiling, cluster close to adult satellite cells of primary muscles. To overcome the limited availability of muscle biopsies from patients with muscular dystrophy during disease progression, we propose to use the SMO system, which delivers a stable population of skeletal muscle progenitors from patient-specific iPSCs to investigate human myogenesis in healthy and diseased conditions.

0 Q&A 377 Views Apr 20, 2024

Precision-cut lung slices (PCLS), ex vivo 3D lung tissue models, have been widely used for various applications in lung research. PCLS serve as an excellent intermediary between in vitro and in vivo models because they retain all resident cell types within their natural niche while preserving the extracellular matrix environment. This protocol describes the TReATS (TAT-Cre recombinase-mediated floxed allele modification in tissue slices) method that enables rapid and efficient gene modification in PCLS derived from adult floxed animals. Here, we present detailed protocols for the TReATS method, consisting of two simple steps: PCLS generation and incubation in a TAT-Cre recombinase solution. Subsequent validation of gene modification involves live staining and imaging of PCLS, quantitative real-time PCR, and cell viability assessment. This four-day protocol eliminates the need for complex Cre-breeding, circumvents issues with premature lethality related to gene mutation, and significantly reduces the use of animals. The TReATS method offers a simple and reproducible solution for gene modification in complex ex vivo tissue-based models, accelerating the study of gene function, disease mechanisms, and the discovery of drug targets.

0 Q&A 1806 Views Mar 20, 2024

CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing is a widely used tool for creating genetic knock-ins, which allow for endogenous tagging of genes. This is in contrast with random insertion using viral vectors, where expression of the inserted transgene changes the total copy number of a gene in a cell and does not reflect the endogenous chromatin environment or any trans-acting regulation experienced at a locus. There are very few protocols for endogenous fluorescent tagging in macrophages. Here, we describe a protocol to design and test CRISPR guide RNAs and donor plasmids, to transfect them into RAW 264.7 mouse macrophage-like cells using the Neon transfection system and to grow up clonal populations of cells containing the endogenous knock-in at various loci. We have used this protocol to create endogenous fluorescent knock-ins in at least six loci, including both endogenously tagging genes and inserting transgenes in the Rosa26 and Tigre safe harbor loci. This protocol uses circular plasmid DNA as the donor template and delivers the sgRNA and Cas9 as an all-in-one expression plasmid. We designed this protocol for fluorescent protein knock-ins; it is best used when positive clones can be identified by fluorescence. However, it may be possible to adapt the protocol for non-fluorescent knock-ins. This protocol allows for the fairly straightforward creation of clonal populations of macrophages with tags at the endogenous loci of genes. We also describe how to set up imaging experiments in 24-well plates to track fluorescence in the edited cells over time.


Key features

• CRISPR knock-in of fluorescent proteins in RAW 264.7 mouse macrophages at diverse genomic loci.

• This protocol is optimized for the use of the Neon transfection system.

• Includes instructions for growing up edited clonal populations from single cells with one single-cell sorting step and efficient growth in conditioned media after cell sorting.

• Designed for knocking in fluorescent proteins and screening transfected cells byFACS, but modification for non-fluorescent knock-ins may be possible.


Graphical overview


0 Q&A 1031 Views Feb 5, 2024

Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) are valuable viral vectors for in vivo gene transfer, also having significant ex vivo therapeutic potential. Continued efforts have focused on various gene therapy applications, capsid engineering, and scalable manufacturing processes. Adherent cells are commonly used for virus production in most basic science laboratories because of their efficiency and cost. Although suspension cells are easier to handle and scale up compared to adherent cells, their use in virus production is hampered by poor transfection efficiency. In this protocol, we developed a simple scalable AAV production protocol using serum-free-media-adapted HEK293T suspension cells and VirusGEN transfection reagent. The established protocol allows AAV production from transfection to quality analysis of purified AAV within two weeks. Typical vector yields for the described suspension system followed by iodixanol purification range from a total of 1 × 1013 to 1.5 × 1013 vg (vector genome) using 90 mL of cell suspension vs. 1 × 1013 to 2 × 1013 vg using a regular adherent cell protocol (10 × 15 cm dishes).


Key features

• Adeno-associated virus (AAV) production using serum-free-media-adapted HEK293T suspension cells.

• Efficient transfection with VirusGEN.

• High AAV yield from small-volume cell culture.


Graphical overview


0 Q&A 1471 Views Nov 20, 2023

Cancer cells evade the immune system by downregulating antigen presentation. Although immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) and adoptive T-cell therapies revolutionized cancer treatment, their efficacy relies on the intrinsic immunogenicity of tumor cells and antigen presentation by dendritic cells. Here, we describe a protocol to directly reprogram murine and human cancer cells into tumor-antigen-presenting cells (tumor-APCs), using the type 1 conventional dendritic cell (cDC1) transcription factors PU.1, IRF8, and BATF3 delivered by a lentiviral vector. Tumor-APCs acquire a cDC1 cell-like phenotype, transcriptional and epigenetic programs, and function within nine days (Zimmermannova et al., 2023). Tumor-APCs express the hematopoietic marker CD45 and acquire the antigen presentation complexes MHC class I and II as well as co-stimulatory molecules required for antigen presentation to T cells, but do not express high levels of negative immune checkpoint regulators. Enriched tumor-APCs present antigens to Naïve CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, are targeted by activated cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and elicit anti-tumor responses in vivo. The tumor-APC reprogramming protocol described here provides a simple and robust method to revert tumor evasion mechanisms by increasing antigen presentation in cancer cells. This platform has the potential to prime antigen-specific T-cell expansion, which can be leveraged for developing new cancer vaccines, neoantigen discovery, and expansion of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.


Key features

• This protocol describes the generation of antigen-presenting cells from cancer cells by direct reprogramming using lineage-instructive transcription factors of conventional dendritic cells type I.

• Verification of reprogramming efficiency by flow cytometry and functional assessment of tumor-APCs by antigen presentation assays.

0 Q&A 976 Views Oct 20, 2023

An efficient and precise genome-editing approach is in high demand in any molecular biology or cell biology laboratory worldwide. However, despite a recent rapid progress in the toolbox tailored for precise genome-editing, including the base editors and prime editors, there is still a need for a cost-effective knock-in (KI) approach amenable for long donor DNA cargos with high efficiency. By harnessing the high-efficient double-strand break (DSB) repair pathway of microhomology-mediated end joining, we previously showed that a specially designed 3′-overhang double-strand DNA (odsDNA) donor harboring 50-nt homology arm (HA) allows high-efficient exogenous DNA KI when combined with CRISPR-Cas9 technology. The lengths of the 3′-overhangs of odsDNA donors could be manipulated by the five consecutive phosphorothioate (PT) modifications. In this protocol, we detail the stepwise procedures to conduct the LOCK (Long dsDNA with 3′-Overhangs mediated CRISPR Knock-in) method for gene-sized (~1–3 kb) KI in mammalian cells.


Graphical overview



Improvement of large DNA fragment knock-in rates by attaching odsDNA donors to Cas9-PCV2 fusion protein

0 Q&A 531 Views Aug 20, 2023

Synapses are specialized structures that enable neuronal communication, which is essential for brain function and development. Alterations in synaptic proteins have been linked to various neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. Therefore, manipulating synaptic proteins in vivo can provide insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying these disorders and aid in developing new therapeutic strategies. Previous methods such as constitutive knock-out animals are limited by developmental compensation and off-target effects. The current approach outlines procedures for age-dependent molecular manipulations in mice using helper-dependent adenovirus viral vectors (HdAd) at distinct developmental time points. Using stereotactic injection of HdAds in both newborn and juvenile mice, we demonstrate the versatility of this method to express Cre recombinase in globular bushy cells of juvenile Rac1fl/fl mice to ablate presynaptic Rac1 and study its role in synaptic transmission. Separately, we overexpress CaV2 α1 subunits at two distinct developmental time points to elucidate the mechanisms that determine presynaptic CaV2 channel abundance and preference. This method presents a reliable, cost-effective, and minimally invasive approach for controlling gene expression in specific regions of the mouse brain and will be a powerful tool to decipher brain function in health and disease.


Key features

• Virus-mediated genetic perturbation in neonatal and young adult mice.

• Stereotaxic injection allows targeting of brain structures at different developmental stages to study the impact of genetic perturbation throughout the development.

0 Q&A 535 Views Jul 5, 2023

Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are a non-conventional T-cell population expressing a conserved semi-invariant T-cell receptor (TCR) that reacts to lipid antigens, such as α-galactosyl ceramide (α-GalCer), presented by the monomorphic molecule CD1d. iNKT cells play a central role in tumor immunosurveillance and represent a powerful tool for anti-cancer treatment, notably because they can be efficiently redirected against hematological or solid malignancies by engineering with tumor-specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or TCRs. However, iNKT cells are rare and require specific ex vivo pre-selection and substantial in vitro expansion to be exploited for adoptive cell therapy (ACT). This protocol describes a robust method to obtain a large number of mouse iNKT cells that can be effectually engineered by retroviral (RV) transduction. A major advantage of this protocol is that it requires neither particular instrumentation nor a high number of mice. iNKT cells are enriched from the spleens of iVα14-Jα18 transgenic mice; the rapid purification protocol yields a highly enriched iNKT cell population that is activated by anti-CD3/CD28 beads, which is more reproducible and less time consuming than using bone marrow–derived dendritic cells loaded with α-GalCer, without risks of expanding contaminant T cells. Forty-eight hours after activation, iNKT cells are transduced with the selected RV by spin inoculation. This protocol allows to obtain, in 15 days, millions of ready-to-use, highly pure, and stably transduced iNKT cells that might be exploited for in vitro assays and ACT experiments in preclinical studies.

0 Q&A 1178 Views May 5, 2023

Three-dimensional bioprinting utilizes additive manufacturing processes that combine cells and a bioink to create living tissue models that mimic tissues found in vivo. Stem cells can regenerate and differentiate into specialized cell types, making them valuable for research concerning degenerative diseases and their potential treatments. 3D bioprinting stem cell–derived tissues have an advantage over other cell types because they can be expanded in large quantities and then differentiated to multiple cell types. Using patient-derived stem cells also enables a personalized medicine approach to the study of disease progression. In particular, mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are an attractive cell type for bioprinting because they are easier to obtain from patients in comparison to pluripotent stem cells, and their robust characteristics make them desirable for bioprinting. Currently, both MSC bioprinting protocols and cell culturing protocols exist separately, but there is a lack of literature that combines the culturing of the cells with the bioprinting process. This protocol aims to bridge that gap by describing the bioprinting process in detail, starting with how to culture cells pre-printing, to 3D bioprinting the cells, and finally to the culturing process post-printing. Here, we outline the process of culturing MSCs to produce cells for 3D bioprinting. We also describe the process of preparing Axolotl Biosciences TissuePrint - High Viscosity (HV) and Low Viscosity (LV) bioink, the incorporation of MSCs to the bioink, setting up the BIO X and the Aspect RX1 bioprinters, and necessary computer-aided design (CAD) files. We also detail the differentiation of 2D and 3D cell cultures of MSC to dopaminergic neurons, including media preparation. We have also included the protocols for viability, immunocytochemistry, electrophysiology, and performing a dopamine enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), along with the statistical analysis.


Graphical overview





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