Stem Cell

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0 Q&A 523 Views Nov 20, 2022

Sphingolipids are important structural components of cellular membranes. They also function as prominent signaling molecules to control a variety of cellular events, such as cell growth, differentiation, and apoptosis. Impaired sphingolipid metabolism, particularly defects in sphingolipid degradation, has been associated with many human diseases. Fluorescence sphingolipid analogs have been widely used as efficient probes to study sphingolipid metabolism and intracellular trafficking in living mammalian cells. Compared with nitrobenzoxadiazole fluorophores (NBD FL), the boron dipyrromethene difluoride fluorophores (BODIPY FL) have much higher absorptivity and fluorescence quantum. These features allow more intensive labeling of cells for fluorescence microscopy imaging and flow cytometry analysis. Here, we describe a protocol employing BODIPY FL-labeled sphingolipid analogs to elucidate sphingolipid internalization, trafficking, and endocytosis in mouse embryonic stem cells.

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0 Q&A 1373 Views Jun 5, 2022

This protocol describes a method to assess relative changes in the level of global protein synthesis in the preimplantation embryo using the Click-iT® Plus OPP Protein Synthesis Assays. In this assay, O-propargyl-puromycin (OPP), an analog of puromycin, is efficiently incorporated into the nascent polypeptide of newly translated proteins in embryonic cells. OPP is fluorescently labeled with a photostable Alexa FluorTM dye and detected with fluorescence microscopy. The intensity of the fluorescence is quantitatively analyzed. This is a fast, sensitive, and non-radioactive method for the detection of protein synthesis in early embryo development. It provides a tool for analyzing the temporal regulation of protein synthesis, as well as the effects of changes in the embryonic microenvironment, and pharmacological and genetic modulations of embryo development.

Graphical abstract:

Figure 1. Brief overview of the procedures of the Click-iT® Plus OPP Alexa Fluor® protein synthesis assay in embryonic cells.

(A) Set up OPP treatments: (1) Set up microdrops containing 50 µL of OPP working solution and label different treatments on the back of culture dishes (e.g., T0, T1, T2, and T3); (2) The drops are overlain with 2–3 mm heavy paraffin oil and then equilibrated in incubator for 2 h; (3) Collect the embryos from female reproductive tracts or following in vitro culture in desired treatments; (4) Culture embryos in the equilibrated OPP working solution for 2–6 h. (B) Example of OPP detection procedures working with 60-well plates labeled as T0, T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5 for different treatments: (1) The first 60-well plate is used for the procedures of washing, fixation, permeabilization, and Click-iT® OPP detection. (2) The second 60-well plate is for DNA staining and washing. (C) Slide preparation: (1) Label the required number of slides and set up vaseline coverslip supports; (2) Add mounting medium; (3) Transfer embryos into mounting medium; (4) Set coverslip; (5) Seal the coverslip with nail polish.

0 Q&A 1588 Views May 20, 2022

Although CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing can be performed directly in single-cell mouse zygotes, the targeting efficiency for more complex modifications such as the insertion of two loxP sites, multiple mutations in cis, or the precise insertion or deletion of longer DNA sequences often remains low (Cohen, 2016). Thus, targeting and validation of correct genomic modification in murine embryonic stem cells (ESCs) with subsequent injection into early-stage mouse embryos may still be preferable, allowing for large-scale screening in vitro before transfer of thoroughly characterized and genetically defined ESC clones into the germline. This procedure can result in a reduction of animal numbers with cost effectiveness and compliance with the 3R principle of animal welfare regulations. Here, we demonstrate that after transfection of homology templates and PX458 CRISPR-Cas9 plasmids, EGFP-positive ESCs can be sorted with a flow cytometer for the enrichment of CRISPR-Cas9-expressing cells. Cell sorting obviates antibiotic selection and therefore allows for more gentle culture conditions and faster outgrowth of ESC clones, which are then screened by qPCR for correct genomic modifications. qPCR screening is more convenient and less time-consuming compared to analyzing PCR samples on agarose gels. Positive ESC clones are validated by PCR analysis and sequencing and can serve for injection into early-stage mouse embryos for the generation of chimeric mice with germline transmission. Therefore, we describe here a simple and straightforward protocol for CRISPR-Cas9-directed gene targeting in ESCs.

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0 Q&A 2068 Views Feb 5, 2022

Macrophages are key cells in the innate immune system and play a role in a variety of diseases. However, macrophages are terminally differentiated and difficult to manipulate genetically via transfection or through CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. To overcome this limitation, we provide a simplified protocol for the generation of mouse embryonic stem cells-derived macrophages (ESDM). Thus, genetic manipulation can be performed using embryonic stem cells, selecting for the desired changes, and finally producing macrophages to study the effects of the previous genetic manipulation. These studies can contribute to many areas of research, including atherosclerosis and inflammation. Production of ESDM has been previously achieved using embryoid body (EB) intermediates. Here, we optimized the EB method using a simplified medium, reducing the number of recombinant proteins and medium recipes required. Our EB-based differentiation protocol consists of three stages: 1) floating EB formation; 2) adherence of EBs and release of floating macrophage progenitors; and, 3) terminal differentiation of harvested macrophage progenitors. The advantages of this protocol include achieving independent floating EBs in stage 1 by using a rocker within the tissue culture incubator, as well as the exclusion of small EBs and cell clusters when harvesting macrophage progenitors via cell filtration.

0 Q&A 2712 Views Nov 5, 2021

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are thought to mediate intercellular communication through the delivery of cargo proteins and RNA to target cells. The uptake of EVs is often followed visually using lipophilic-dyes or fluorescently-tagged proteins to label membrane constituents that are then internalized into recipient cells (Christianson et al., 2013; De Jong et al., 2019). However, these methods do not probe the exposure of EV cargo to intracellular compartments, such as the cytoplasm and nucleus, where protein or RNA molecules could elicit functional changes in recipient cells. In this protocol, we employ an EV cargo protein-APEX fusion to detect proximity interactions with recipient cell cytoplasmic/nuclear targets. This approach results in the biotinylation of proteins in close contact with the reporter fusion and thus permits profiling of biotinylated proteins affinity purified on immobilized streptavidin beads.

Graphic abstract:

Schematic showing three steps of APEX-mediated proximity labeling of proteins in cells targeted by EVs.

0 Q&A 2237 Views Jul 20, 2021

Inducing loss of function of a target protein using methods such as gene knockout is a powerful and useful strategy for analyzing protein function in cells. In recent years, the CRISPR/Cas-9-based gene knockout technology has been widely used across a variety of eukaryotes; however, this type of simple gene knockout strategy is not applicable to essential genes, which require a conditional knockout system. The auxin-inducible degron (AID) system enables rapid depletion of the target protein in an auxin-dependent manner and has been used to generate conditional mutants in various eukaryotic cell lines. One problem with the AID system is the use of high auxin concentrations for protein degradation, which can cause cytotoxicity. Recently, we established a super-sensitive AID (ssAID) system that allowed a reduction in the amount of auxin required by more than 1,000-fold. We also utilized a single-step method to generate AID-based conditional knockout cells with a ssAID system in various cell lines. In this protocol, we introduce our improved method, which provides a powerful tool for the investigation of the roles of essential genes.

0 Q&A 3349 Views Jun 5, 2021

Post-implantation mammalian embryogenesis involves profound molecular, cellular, and morphogenetic changes. The study of these highly dynamic processes is complicated by the limited accessibility of in utero development. In recent years, several complementary in vitro systems comprising self-organized assemblies of mouse embryonic stem cells, such as gastruloids, have been reported. We recently demonstrated that the morphogenetic potential of gastruloids can be further unlocked by the addition of a low percentage of Matrigel as an extracellular matrix surrogate. This resulted in the formation of highly organized trunk-like structures (TLSs) with a neural tube that is frequently flanked by bilateral somites. Notably, development at the molecular and morphogenetic levels is highly reminiscent of the natural embryo. To facilitate access to this powerful model, here we provide a detailed step-by-step protocol that should allow any lab with access to standard cell culture techniques to implement the culture system. This will provide the user with a means to investigate early mid-gestational mouse embryogenesis at an unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution.

0 Q&A 2700 Views May 5, 2020
The search for the origin of the first hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the mouse embryo has been a hot topic in the field of developmental hematopoiesis. Detecting lymphoid potential is one of the supportive evidence to show the definitive hematopoietic activity of HSCs. However, the first B-lymphoid potential in the mouse embryos are reported to be biased to innate-like B-1 cell lineage that can develop from hemogenic endothelial cells (HECs) independently of HSCs. On the other hand, conventional adaptive immune B cells (B-2) cells are considered to be exclusively derived from HSCs. Therefore, segregating B-1 and B-2 progenitor potential is important to understand the developmental process of HSCs that are also produced from HECs through intermediate precursors referred to as pre-HSCs. Both HECs and pre-HSCs show endothelial surface phenotype and require stromal support to detect their hematopoietic activity. The method utilizing stromal cell culture followed by modified semisolid clonal culture enables us to detect the number of colony forming units for B-1/B-2 progenitors originally derived from HECs/pre-HSCs, which will reflect the potential of B-1 biased or multi-lineage repopulating HSCs.
0 Q&A 4792 Views Nov 5, 2019
Controlled differentiation of embryonic stem cells is an essential tool in stem cell research. In this protocol, we describe a simple differentiation protocol involving the induction of embryoid body formation in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC) using hanging droplets, followed by differentiation into a neuronal lineage.
0 Q&A 5572 Views Mar 5, 2019
In many fields of biology, especially in the field of developmental biology, LacZ reporter staining is an approach used to monitor gene expression patterns. In the LacZ reporter system, the LacZ gene is inserted in the endogenous location of the target gene via gene knock-in or by constructing a transgenic cassette in which LacZ is placed downstream of the promoter of the target gene being examined. Currently, the most common LacZ staining methods used are X-gal/FeCN staining and S-gal/TNBT staining. A serious limitation of both of these methods is that they are not effective when the LacZ gene is expressed at a low level. In an attempt to remedy this problem, we have established a new staining protocol which combines both methods. When compared to them, the method described here is better for visualizing lowly expressed genes and it has low background with high sensitivity.

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