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Maintenance of an undifferentiated state of human-induced pluripotent stem cells through botulinum hemagglutinin-mediated regulation of cell behavior

Shuzui, Eri, Kim, Mee-Hae, Azuma, Keisuke, Fujinaga, Yukako, Kino-oka, Masahiro
Journal of bioscience and bioengineering 2019 v.127 no.6 pp. 744-751
actin, cadherins, cell adhesion, cytoskeleton, embryonic germ layers, hemagglutinins, image analysis, migratory behavior, staining, stem cells
Applications of human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) culture are impaired by problems with long term maintenance of pluripotency. In this study, we report that exposure to botulinum hemagglutinin (HA), an E-cadherin function-blocking agent, suppressed deviation from an undifferentiated state in hiPSC colonies. Time-lapse imaging of live cells revealed that cells in central regions of colonies moved slowly and underwent a morphological change to a cobblestone-like shape via interaction between contacting cells, forming dense, multiple layers. Staining and migration analysis showed that actin stress fibers and paxillin spots were diminished in colony central regions, and this was associated with alteration of cellular morphology and migratory behavior. However, in culture with HA exposure, cells in the central and peripheral regions of hiPSC colonies were migratory and arranged in loose monolayers, resulting in relatively uniform dispersion of cells in colonies. We also found that a well-organized network of actin stress fibers was of significance in the central and peripheral regions of a colony, resulting in activation of paxillin and E-cadherin expression in hiPSCs. After routine application of HA for serial passages, hiPSCs remained pluripotent and capable of differentiating into all three germ layers. These observations indicate that relaxation of cell–cell junctions by HA induced rearrangements of the cytoskeleton and cell adhesion in hiPSC colonies by promoting migratory behaviors. These results suggest that this simple and readily reproducible culture strategy is a potentially useful tool for improving the robust and scalable maintenance of undifferentiated hiPSC cultures.