Education & Certifications
Master of Science, Stanford University, BIOE-MS (2017)
Bachelor of Science, Cornell University, Bioengineering (2015)
Joseph Wu, Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
Clinical trial in a dish using iPSCs shows lovastatin improves endothelial dysfunction and cellular cross-talk in LMNA cardiomyopathy.
Science translational medicine
2020; 12 (554)
Mutations in LMNA, the gene that encodes lamin A and C, causes LMNA-related dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) or cardiolaminopathy. LMNA is expressed in endothelial cells (ECs); however, little is known about the EC-specific phenotype of LMNA-related DCM. Here, we studied a family affected by DCM due to a frameshift variant in LMNA Human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived ECs were generated from patients with LMNA-related DCM and phenotypically characterized. Patients with LMNA-related DCM exhibited clinical endothelial dysfunction, and their iPSC-ECs showed decreased functionality as seen by impaired angiogenesis and nitric oxide (NO) production. Moreover, genome-edited isogenic iPSC lines recapitulated the EC disease phenotype in which LMNA-corrected iPSC-ECs showed restoration of EC function. Simultaneous profiling of chromatin accessibility and gene expression dynamics by combining assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq) and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) as well as loss-of-function studies identified Kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) as a potential transcription factor responsible for the EC dysfunction. Gain-of-function studies showed that treatment of LMNA iPSC-ECs with KLF2 agonists, including lovastatin, rescued the EC dysfunction. Patients with LMNA-related DCM treated with lovastatin showed improvements in clinical endothelial dysfunction as indicated by increased reactive hyperemia index. Furthermore, iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) from patients exhibiting the DCM phenotype showed improvement in CM function when cocultured with iPSC-ECs and lovastatin. These results suggest that impaired cross-talk between ECs and CMs can contribute to the pathogenesis of LMNA-related DCM, and statin may be an effective therapy for vascular dysfunction in patients with cardiolaminopathy.
View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.aax9276
View details for PubMedID 32727917
Effects of Spaceflight on Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocyte Structure and Function.
Stem cell reports
With extended stays aboard the International Space Station (ISS) becoming commonplace, there is a need to better understand the effects of microgravity on cardiac function. We utilized human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) to study the effects of microgravity on cell-level cardiac function and gene expression. The hiPSC-CMs were cultured aboard the ISS for 5.5weeks and their gene expression, structure, and functions were compared with ground control hiPSC-CMs. Exposure to microgravity on the ISS caused alterations in hiPSC-CM calcium handling. RNA-sequencing analysis demonstrated that 2,635 genes were differentially expressed among flight, post-flight, and ground control samples, including genes involved in mitochondrial metabolism. This study represents the first use of hiPSC technology to model the effects of spaceflight on human cardiomyocyte structure and function.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stemcr.2019.10.006
View details for PubMedID 31708475
Identifying the Transcriptome Signature of Calcium Channel Blocker in Human iPSC-Derived Cardiomyocytes
LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. 2019
View details for Web of Science ID 000511467800108
- Identifying the Transcriptome Signatures of Calcium Channel Blockers in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes CIRCULATION RESEARCH 2019; 125 (2): 212–22
- Progress, obstacles, and limitations in the use of stem cells in organ-on-a-chip models ADVANCED DRUG DELIVERY REVIEWS 2019; 140: 3–11
A Premature Termination Codon Mutation in MYBPC3 Causes Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy via Chronic Activation of Nonsense-Mediated Decay.
BACKGROUND: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is frequently caused by mutations in myosin binding protein C3 ( MYBPC3) resulting in a premature termination codon (PTC). The underlying mechanisms of how PTC mutations in MYBPC3 lead to the onset and progression of HCM are poorly understood. This study's aim was to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of HCM associated with MYBPC3 PTC mutations by utilizing human isogenic induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs).METHODS: Isogenic iPSC lines were generated from patients harboring MYBPC3 PTC mutations (p.R943x; p.R1073P_Fsx4) using genome editing and then differentiated into cardiomyocytes. Comprehensive phenotypical and transcriptome analyses were performed.RESULTS: We observed aberrant calcium handling properties with prolonged decay kinetics and elevated diastolic calcium levels in HCM iPSC-CMs compared to isogenic controls without structural abnormalities or contractile dysfunction. The mRNA expression levels of MYBPC3 were significantly reduced in mutant iPSC-CMs, but the protein levels were comparable among isogenic iPSC-CMs, suggesting that haploinsufficiency of MYBPC3 does not contribute to the pathogenesis of HCM in vitro. Furthermore, truncated MYBPC3 peptides were not detected. At the molecular level, the nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) pathway was activated, and a set of genes involved in major cardiac signaling pathways was dysregulated in HCM iPSC-CMs, indicating an HCM gene signature in vitro. Specific inhibition of the NMD pathway in mutant iPSC-CMs resulted in reversal of the molecular phenotype and normalization of calcium handling abnormalities.CONCLUSIONS: iPSC-CMs carrying MYBPC3 PTC mutations displayed aberrant calcium signaling and molecular dysregulations in the absence of significant haploinsufficiency of MYBPC3 protein. Here we provided the first evidence of the direct connection between the chronically activated NMD pathway and HCM disease development.
View details for PubMedID 30586709
Crystallinity of hydroxyapatite drives myofibroblastic activation and calcification in aortic valves
2018; 71: 24–36
Calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD) is an inexorably degenerative pathology characterized by progressive calcific lesion formation on the valve leaflets. The interaction of valvular cells in advanced lesion environments is not well understood yet highly relevant as clinically detectable CAVD exhibits calcifications composed of non-stoichiometric hydroxyapatite (HA). In this study, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic imaging was used to spatially analyze mineral properties as a function of disease progression. Crystallinity (size and perfection) increased with increased valve calcification. To study the relationship between crystallinity and cellular behavior in CAVD, valve cells were seeded into 3D mineral-rich collagen gels containing synthetic HA particles, which had varying crystallinities. Lower crystallinity HA drove myofibroblastic activation in both valve interstitial and endothelial cells, as well as osteoblastic differentiation in interstitial cells. Additionally, calcium accumulation within gels depended on crystallinity, and apoptosis was insufficient to explain differences in HA-driven cellular activity. The protective nature of endothelial cells against interstitial cell activation and calcium accumulation was completely inhibited in the presence of less crystalline HA particles. Elucidating valve cellular behavior post-calcification is of vital importance to better predict and treat clinical pathogenesis, and mineral-containing hydrogel models provide a unique 3D platform to evaluate valve cell responses to a later stage of valve disease.We implement a 3D in vitro platform with embedded hydroxyapatite (HA) nanoparticles to investigate the interaction between valve interstitial cells, valve endothelial cells, and a mineral-rich extracellular environment. HA nanoparticles were synthesized based on analysis of the mineral properties of calcific regions of diseased human aortic valves. Our findings indicate that crystallinity of HA drives activation and differentiation in interstitial and endothelial cells. We also show that a mineralized environment blocks endothelial protection against interstitial cell calcification. Our HA-containing hydrogel model provides a unique 3D platform to evaluate valve cell responses to a mineralized ECM. This study additionally lays the groundwork to capture the diversity of mineral properties in calcified valves, and link these properties to progression of the disease.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.actbio.2018.02.024
View details for Web of Science ID 000431470300002
View details for PubMedID 29505892
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5899951
- 3-Dimensionally Printed, Native-Like Scaffolds for Myocardial Tissue Engineering CIRCULATION RESEARCH 2017; 120 (8): 1224-1226
Real-time quantification of endothelial response to shear stress and vascular modulators
2017; 9 (4): 362–74
Quiescence is commonly used to describe the inactive state of endothelial cells (ECs) in monolayers that have reached homeostasis. Experimentally quiescence is usually described in terms of the relative change in cell activity (e.g. turnover, speed, etc.) in response to a perturbation (e.g. solute, shear stress, etc.). The objective of this study is to provide new insight into EC quiescence by quantitatively defining the morphology and activity of confluent cell monolayers in response to shear stress and vascular modulators. Confluent monolayers of human umbilical vein ECs (HUVECs) were subjected to a range of shear stresses (4-16 dyne cm-2) under steady flow. Using phase contrast, time-lapse microscopy and image analysis, we quantified EC morphology, speed, proliferation, and apoptosis rates over time and detected differences in monolayer responses under various media conditions: basal media supplemented with growth factors, interleukin-8, or cyclic AMP. In all conditions, we observed a transition from cobblestone to spindle-like morphology in a dose-dependent manner due to shear stress. Cyclic AMP enhanced the elongation and alignment of HUVECs due to shear stress and reduced steady state cell speed. We observed the lowest proliferation rates below 8 dyne cm-2 and found that growth factors and cyclic AMP reduced proliferation and apoptosis; interleukin-8 similarly decreased proliferation, but increased apoptosis. We have quantified the response of ECs in confluent monolayers to shear stress and vascular modulators in terms of morphology, speed, proliferation and apoptosis and have established quantifiable metrics of cell activity to define vascular quiescence under shear stress.
View details for DOI 10.1039/c7ib00023e
View details for Web of Science ID 000399687400008
View details for PubMedID 28345713
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5490251