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Open Access Characterization of Axon Formation in the Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Motoneuron

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Abstract:

The developing neural cell must form a highly organized architecture to properly receive and transmit nerve signals. Neural formation from embryonic stem (ES) cells provides a novel system for studying axonogenesis, which are orchestrated by polarity-regulating molecules. Here the ES-derived motoneurons, identified by HB9 promoter-driven green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression, showed characteristics of motoneuron-specific gene expression. In the majority of motoneurons, one of the bilateral neurites developed into an axon that featured with axonal markers, including Tau1, vesicle acetylcholine transporter, and synaptophysin. Interestingly, one third of the motoneurons developed bi-axonal processes but no multiple axonal GFP cell was found. The neuronal polarity-regulating proteins, including the phosphorylated AKT and ERK, were compartmentalized into both of the bilateral axonal tips. Importantly, this aberrant axon morphology was still present after the engraftment of GFP+ neurons into the spinal cord, suggesting that even a mature neural environment fails to provide a proper niche to guide normal axon formation. These findings underscore the necessity for evaluating the morphogenesis and functionality of neurons before the clinical trials using ES or somatic stem cells.

Keywords: Axon formation; Embryonic stem cell; Motoneuron; Neural differentiation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/096368910X536464

Affiliations: Department of Neurosurgery, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

Publication date: April 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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