BACKGROUND INFORMATION: In the last few years, recent evidence has revealed that inside an apparently homogeneous cell population there indeed appears to be heterogeneity. This is particularly true for embryonic stem (ES) cells where markers of pluripotency are dynamically expressed within the single cells. In this work, we have designed and tested a new set of primers for multiplex PCR detection of pluripotency markers expression, and have applied it to perform a single-cell analysis in murine ES cells cultured on three different substrates that could play an important role in controlling cell behaviour and fate: (i) mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) feeder layer, as the standard method for ES cells culture; (ii) Matrigel coating; (iii) micropatterned hydrogel. RESULTS: Compared with population analysis, using a single-cell approach, we were able to evaluate not only the number of cells that maintained the expression of a specific gene but, most importantly, how many cells co-expressed different markers. We found that micropatterned hydrogel seems to represent a good alternative to MEF, as the expression of stemness markers is better preserved than in Matrigel culture. CONCLUSIONS: This single-cell assay allows for the assessment of the stemness maintenance at a single-cell level in terms of gene expression profile, and can be applied in stem cell research to characterise freshly isolated and cultured cells, or to standardise, for instance, the method of culture closely linked to the transcriptional activity and the differentiation potential.

Single-cell PCR analysis of murine embryonic stem cells cultured on different substrates highlights heterogeneous expression of stem cell markers

Franzin, Chiara;Piccoli, Martina;Serena, Elena;Bertin, Enrica;Urbani, Luca;Luni, Camilla;Elvassore, Nicola;De Coppi, Paolo;Pozzobon, Michela
2013

Abstract

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: In the last few years, recent evidence has revealed that inside an apparently homogeneous cell population there indeed appears to be heterogeneity. This is particularly true for embryonic stem (ES) cells where markers of pluripotency are dynamically expressed within the single cells. In this work, we have designed and tested a new set of primers for multiplex PCR detection of pluripotency markers expression, and have applied it to perform a single-cell analysis in murine ES cells cultured on three different substrates that could play an important role in controlling cell behaviour and fate: (i) mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) feeder layer, as the standard method for ES cells culture; (ii) Matrigel coating; (iii) micropatterned hydrogel. RESULTS: Compared with population analysis, using a single-cell approach, we were able to evaluate not only the number of cells that maintained the expression of a specific gene but, most importantly, how many cells co-expressed different markers. We found that micropatterned hydrogel seems to represent a good alternative to MEF, as the expression of stemness markers is better preserved than in Matrigel culture. CONCLUSIONS: This single-cell assay allows for the assessment of the stemness maintenance at a single-cell level in terms of gene expression profile, and can be applied in stem cell research to characterise freshly isolated and cultured cells, or to standardise, for instance, the method of culture closely linked to the transcriptional activity and the differentiation potential.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.
Pubblicazioni consigliate

Caricamento pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3268050
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 4
  • Scopus 6
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 5
social impact