Sameehan Mahajani

Homogenous generation of dopaminergic neurons from multiple hipsc lines by transient expression of transcription factors

  • Authors Details :  
  • Sameehan Mahajani,  
  • Anupam Raina,  
  • Claudia Fokken,  
  • Sebastian Kuegler,  
  • Mathias Baehr

Journal title : Cell Death & Disease

Publisher : Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Online ISSN : 2041-4889

Journal volume : 10

Journal issue : 12

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A major hallmark of Parkinson's disease is loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). The pathophysiological mechanisms causing this relatively selective neurodegeneration are poorly understood, and thus experimental systems allowing to study dopaminergic neuron dysfunction are needed. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) differentiated toward a dopaminergic neuronal phenotype offer a valuable source to generate human dopaminergic neurons. However, currently available protocols result in a highly variable yield of dopaminergic neurons depending on the source of hiPSCs. We have now developed a protocol based on HBA promoter-driven transient expression of transcription factors by means of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors, that allowed to generate very consistent numbers of dopaminergic neurons from four different human iPSC lines. We also demonstrate that AAV vectors expressing reporter genes from a neuron-specific hSyn1 promoter can serve as surrogate markers for maturation of hiPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons. Dopaminergic neurons differentiated by transcription factor expression showed aggravated neurodegeneration through α-synuclein overexpression, but were not sensitive to γ-synuclein overexpression, suggesting that these neurons are well suited to study neurodegeneration in the context of Parkinson’s disease.

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