Genetically unmatched human iPSC and ESC exhibit equivalent gene expression and neuronal differentiation potential.
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The potential uniformity between differentiation and therapeutic potential of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) remains debatable. We studied the gene expression profiles, pathways analysis and the ability to differentiated into neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and motor neurons (MNs) of genetically unmatched integration-free hiPSC versus hESC to highlight possible differences/similarities between them at the molecular level. We also provided the functional information of the neurons derived from the different hESCs and hiPSCs lines using the Neural Muscular Junction (NMJ) Assay. The hiPSC line was generated by transfecting human epidermal fibroblasts (HEF) with episomal DNAs expressing Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, Nanog, L-Myc and shRNA against p53. For the hESCs line, we used the NIH-approved H9 cell line. Using unsupervised clustering both hESCs and hiPSCs were clustered together implying homogeneous genetic states. The genetic profiles of hiPSCs and hESCs were clearly similar but not identical. Collectively, our data indicate close molecular similarities between genetically unmatched hESCs and hiPS in term of gene expression, and signaling pathways. Moreover, both cell types exhibited similar cholinergic motor neurons differentiation potential with marked ability of the differentiated hESCs and hiPSCs-derived MNs to induce contraction of myotubes after 4 days of co-culture.
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