All Publications

  • Engineered Living Intestinal Muscle Patch Produces Macroscopic Contractions that can Mix and Break down Artificial Intestinal Contents. Advanced materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) Wang, Q., Wang, J., Tokhtaeva, E., Li, Z., Martín, M. G., Ling, X. B., Dunn, J. C. 2023: e2207255


    The intestinal muscle layers execute various gut wall movements to achieve controlled propulsion and mixing of intestinal content. Engineering intestinal muscle layers with complex contractile function is critical for developing bioartificial intestinal tissue to treat patients with short bowel syndrome. Here we report the first demonstration of a living intestinal muscle patch capable of generating three distinct motility patterns and displaying multiple digesta manipulations. Assessment of cell contractility, cellular morphology, and transcriptome profile reveals that successful generation of the contracting intestinal muscle patch relies on both biological factors in a serum-free medium and environmental cues from an elastic electrospun gelatin scaffold. By comparing gene-expression patterns among samples, we show that biological factors from the medium strongly affect ion transport activities, while the scaffold unexpectedly regulates cell-cell communication. Analysis of the ligand-receptor interactome identifies the scaffold-driven changes in intercellular communication, and 78% of the upregulated ligand-receptor interactions are involved in the development and function of enteric neurons. Our discoveries highlight the importance of combining biomolecular and biomaterial approaches for tissue engineering. The living intestinal muscle patch represents a pivotal advancement for building functional replacement intestinal tissue. It offers a more physiological model for studying GI motility and for preclinical drug discovery. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/adma.202207255

    View details for PubMedID 36779454

  • Dispatched uses Na+ flux to power release of lipid-modified Hedgehog. Nature Wang, Q., Asarnow, D. E., Ding, K., Mann, R. K., Hatakeyama, J., Zhang, Y., Ma, Y., Cheng, Y., Beachy, P. A. 2021


    The Dispatched protein, which is related to the NPC1 and PTCH1 cholesterol transporters1,2 and to H+-driven transporters of the RND family3,4, enables tissue-patterning activity of the lipid-modified Hedgehog protein by releasing it from tightly-localized sites of embryonic expression5-10. Here we determine a cryo-electron microscopy structure of the mouse protein Dispatched homologue 1 (DISP1), revealing three Na+ ions coordinated within a channel that traverses its transmembrane domain. We find that the rate of Hedgehog export is dependent on the Na+ gradient across the plasma membrane. The transmembrane channel and Na+ binding are disrupted in DISP1-NNN, a variant with asparagine substitutions for three intramembrane aspartateresidues that each coordinate and neutralize the charge of one of the three Na+ ions. DISP1-NNN and variants that disrupt single Na+ sites retain binding to, but are impaired in export of the lipid-modified Hedgehog protein to the SCUBE2 acceptor. Interaction of the amino-terminalsignallingdomain of theSonic hedgehog protein(ShhN) with DISP1 occurs via an extensive buried surface area and contacts with an extended furin-cleaved DISP1 arm. Variability analysis reveals that ShhN binding is restricted to one extreme of a continuous series of DISP1 conformations. The bound and unbound DISP1 conformations display distinct Na+-site occupancies, which suggests a mechanism by which transmembrane Na+ flux may power extraction of the lipid-linked Hedgehog signal from the membrane. Na+-coordinating residues in DISP1 are conserved in PTCH1 and other metazoan RND family members, suggesting that Na+ flux powers their conformationally driven activities.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-021-03996-0

    View details for PubMedID 34707294

  • Bioengineering functional smooth muscle with spontaneous rhythmic contraction in vitro SCIENTIFIC REPORTS Kobayashi, M., Khalil, H. A., Lei, N., Wang, Q., Wang, K., Wu, B. M., Dunn, J. Y. 2018; 8: 13544


    Oriented smooth muscle layers in the intestine contract rhythmically due to the action of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) that serve as pacemakers of the intestine. Disruption of ICC networks has been reported in various intestinal motility disorders, which limit the quality and expectancy of life. A significant challenge in intestinal smooth muscle engineering is the rapid loss of function in cultured ICC and smooth muscle cells (SMC). Here we demonstrate a novel approach to maintain the function of both ICC and SMC in vitro. Primary intestinal SMC mixtures cultured on feeder cells seeded electrospun poly(3-caprolactone) scaffolds exhibited rhythmic contractions with directionality for over 10 weeks in vitro. The simplicity of this system should allow for wide usage in research on intestinal motility disorders and tissue engineering, and may prove to be a versatile platform for generating other types of functional SMC in vitro.

    View details for PubMedID 30202095

  • Bioengineered intestinal muscularis complexes with long-term spontaneous and periodic contractions PLoS One Wang, Q., Wang, K., Solorzano-Vargas, R. S., Lin, P., Walthers, C. M., Thomas, A., Martı´n, M. G., Dunn, J. C. 2018; May 2 (13(5)): e0195315
  • Orthogonally oriented scaffolds with aligned fibers for engineering intestinal smooth muscle BIOMATERIALS Kobayashi, M., Lei, N., Wang, Q., Wu, B. M., Dunn, J. Y. 2015; 61: 75-84


    Controlling cellular alignment is critical in engineering intestines with desired structure and function. Although previous studies have examined the directional alignment of cells on the surface (x-y plane) of parallel fibers, quantitative analysis of the cellular alignment inside implanted scaffolds with oriented fibers has not been reported. This study examined the cellular alignment in the x-z and y-z planes of scaffolds made with two layers of orthogonally oriented fibers. The cellular orientation inside implanted scaffolds was evaluated with immunofluorescence. Quantitative analysis of coherency between cell orientation and fiber direction confirmed that cells aligned along the fibers not only on the surface (x-y plane) but also inside the scaffolds (x-z & y-z planes). Our study demonstrated that two layers of orthogonally aligned scaffolds can generate the histological organization of cells similar to that of intestinal circular and longitudinal smooth muscle.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.05.023

    View details for Web of Science ID 000357229900008

    View details for PubMedID 26001072

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4464968