Bachelor of Science, Wuhan University (2011)
Doctor of Philosophy, Chinese Academy Of Sciences (2017)
Joseph Wu, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
A Human iPSC Double-Reporter System Enables Purification of Cardiac Lineage Subpopulations with Distinct Function and Drug Response Profiles.
Cell stem cell
The diversity of cardiac lineages contributes to the heterogeneity of human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes (CMs). Here, we report the generation of a hiPSC TBX5Clover2 and NKX2-5TagRFP double reporter to delineate cardiaclineages and isolate lineage-specific subpopulations. Molecular analyses reveal that four different subpopulations can be isolated based on the differential expression of TBX5 and NKX2-5, TBX5+NKX2-5+, TBX5+NKX2-5-, TBX5-NKX2-5+, and TBX5-NKX2-5-, mimicking the first heart field, epicardial, second heart field, and endothelial lineages, respectively. Genetic and functional characterization indicates that each subpopulation differentiates into specific cardiac cells. We further identify CORIN as a cell-surface marker for isolating the TBX5+NKX2-5+ subpopulation and demonstrate the use of lineage-specific CMs for precise drug testing. We anticipate that this tool will facilitate theinvestigation of cardiac lineage specification and isolation of specific cardiac subpopulations for drug screening, tissue engineering, and disease modeling.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2019.02.015
View details for PubMedID 30880024
Single-Cell RNA Sequencing of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation Delineates Adverse Effects of Nicotine on Embryonic Development.
Stem cell reports
Nicotine, the main chemical constituent of tobacco, is highly detrimental to the developing fetus by increasing the risk of gestational complications and organ disorders. The effects of nicotine on human embryonic development and related mechanisms, however, remain poorly understood. Here, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived embryoid body (EB) in the presence or absence of nicotine. Nicotine-induced lineage-specific responses and dysregulated cell-to-cell communication in EBs, shedding light on the adverse effects of nicotine on human embryonic development. In addition, nicotine reduced cell viability, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), and altered cell cycling in EBs. Abnormal Ca2+ signaling was found in muscle cells upon nicotine exposure, as verified in hESC-derived cardiomyocytes. Consequently, our scRNA-seq data suggest direct adverse effects of nicotine on hESC differentiation at the single-cell level and offer a new method for evaluating drug and environmental toxicity on human embryonic development in utero.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stemcr.2019.01.022
View details for PubMedID 30827876
Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Model of Trastuzumab-Induced Cardiac Dysfunction in Breast Cancer Patients.
Molecular targeted chemotherapies have been shown to significantly improve cancer patient outcomes, but often cause cardiovascular side effects that limit their use and impair patients' quality of life. Cardiac dysfunction induced by these therapies, especially trastuzumab, shows a distinct cardiotoxic clinical phenotype compared to cardiotoxicity induced by conventional chemotherapies.We employed the human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte (iPSC-CM) platform to determine the underlying cellular mechanisms in trastuzumab-induced cardiac dysfunction. We assessed the effects of trastuzumab on structural and functional properties in iPSC-CMs from healthy individuals and performed RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) to further examine the effect of trastuzumab on iPSC-CMs. We also generated iPSCs from patients receiving trastuzumab and examined whether patients' phenotype could be recapitulated in vitro using patient-specific iPSC-CMs.We found that clinically relevant doses of trastuzumab significantly impaired the contractile and calcium handling properties of iPSC-CMs without inducing cardiomyocyte death or sarcomeric disorganization. RNA-seq and subsequent functional analysis revealed mitochondrial dysfunction and altered cardiac energy metabolism pathway as primary causes of trastuzumab-induced cardiotoxic phenotype. Human iPSC-CMs generated from patients who received trastuzumab and experienced severe cardiac dysfunction were more vulnerable to trastuzumab treatment, compared to iPSC-CMs generated from patients who did not experience cardiac dysfunction following trastuzumab therapy. Importantly, metabolic modulation with AMPK activators could avert the adverse effects induced by trastuzumab.Our results indicate that alterations in cellular metabolic pathways in cardiomyocytes could be a key mechanism underlying the development of cardiac dysfunction following trastuzumab therapy; therefore, targeting the altered metabolism may be a promising therapeutic approach for trastuzumab-induced cardiac dysfunction.
View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.037357
View details for PubMedID 30866650
Large-Scale Single-Cell RNA-Seq Reveals Molecular Signatures of Heterogeneous Populations of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Endothelial Cells.
Rationale: Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells (iPSC-ECs) have risen as a useful tool in cardiovascular research, offering a wide gamut of translational and clinical applications. However, inefficiency of the currently available iPSC-EC differentiation protocol and underlying heterogeneity of derived iPSC-ECs remain as major limitations of iPSC-EC technology. Objective: Here we performed droplet-based single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) of the human iPSCs following iPSC-EC differentiation. Droplet-based scRNA-seq enables analysis of thousands of cells in parallel, allowing comprehensive analysis of transcriptional heterogeneity. Methods and Results: Bona fide iPSC-EC cluster was identified by scRNA-seq, which expressed high levels of endothelial-specific genes. iPSC-ECs, sorted by CD144 antibody-conjugated magnetic sorting, exhibited standard endothelial morphology and function including tube formation, response to inflammatory signals, and production of nitric oxide. Non-endothelial cell populations resulting from the differentiation protocol were identified, which included immature and atrial-like cardiomyocytes, hepatic-like cells, and vascular smooth muscle cells. Furthermore, scRNA-seq analysis of purified iPSC-ECs revealed transcriptional heterogeneity with four major subpopulations, marked by robust enrichment of CLDN5, APLNR, GJA5, and ESM1 genes respectively. Conclusions: Massively parallel, droplet-based scRNA-seq allowed meticulous analysis of thousands of human iPSCs subjected to iPSC-EC differentiation. Results showed inefficiency of the differentiation technique, which can be improved with further studies based on identification of molecular signatures that inhibit expansion of non-endothelial cell types. Subtypes of bona fide human iPSC-ECs were also identified, allowing us to sort for iPSC-ECs with specific biological function and identity.
View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.312913
View details for PubMedID 29986945
Determining the Pathogenicity of a Genomic Variant of Uncertain Significance Using CRISPR/Cas9 and Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells.
Background -The progression toward low-cost and rapid next-generation sequencing has uncovered a multitude of variants of uncertain significance (VUS) in both patients and asymptomatic "healthy" individuals. A VUS is a rare or novel variant for which disease pathogenicity has not been conclusively demonstrated or excluded, and thus cannot be definitively annotated. VUS, therefore, pose critical clinical interpretation and risk-assessment challenges, and new methods are urgently needed to better characterize their pathogenicity. Methods -To address this challenge and showcase the uncertainty surrounding genomic variant interpretation, we recruited a "healthy" asymptomatic individual, lacking cardiac-disease clinical history, carrying a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)-associated genetic variant (NM_000258.2:c.170C>A, NP_000249.1:p.Ala57Asp) in the sarcomeric gene MYL3, reported by the ClinVar database to be "likely pathogenic." Humaninduced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) were derived from the heterozygous VUSMYL3(170C>A) carrier, and their genome was edited using CRISPR/Cas9 to generate 4 isogenic iPSC lines: (1) corrected "healthy" control; (2) homozygous VUSMYL3(170C>A); (3) heterozygous frameshift mutation MYL3(170C>A/fs); and (4) known heterozygous MYL3 pathogenic mutation (NM_000258.2:c.170C>G), at the same nucleotide position as VUSMYL3(170C>A), lines. Extensive assays including measurements of gene expression, sarcomere structure, cell size, contractility, action potentials, and calcium handling were performed on the isogenic iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs). Results -The heterozygous VUSMYL3(170C>A)-iPSC-CMs did not show an HCM phenotype at the gene expression, morphology, or functional levels. Furthermore, genome-edited homozygous VUSMYL3(170C>A)- and frameshift mutation MYL3(170C>A/fs)-iPSC-CMs lines were also asymptomatic, supporting a benign assessment for this particular MYL3 variant. Further assessment of the pathogenic nature of a genome-edited isogenic line carrying a known pathogenic MYL3 mutation, MYL3(170C>G), and a carrier-specific iPSC-CMs line, carrying a MYBPC3(961G>A) HCM variant, demonstrated the ability of this combined platform to provide both pathogenic and benign assessments. Conclusions -Our study illustrates the ability of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/Cas9 genome-editing of carrier-specific iPSCs to elucidate both benign and pathogenic HCM functional phenotypes in a carrierspecific manner in a dish. As such, this platform represents a promising VUS riskassessment tool that can be used for assessing HCM-associated VUS specifically, and VUS in general, and thus significantly contribute to the arsenal of precision medicine tools available in this emerging field.
View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032273
View details for PubMedID 29914921