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  • Cellular direct conversion by cell penetrable OCT4-30Kc19 protein and BMP4 growth factor BIOMATERIALS RESEARCH Kim, S. L., Cho, S., Kim, S., Kwon, J., Lee, J., Koh, R. H., Park, J., Lee, H., Park, T., Hwang, N. S. 2022; 26 (1): 33


    The number of patients suffering from osteoporosis is increasing as the elderly population increases. The demand for investigating bone regeneration strategies naturally arises. One of the approaches to induce bone regeneration is somatic cell transdifferentiation. Among the transcriptional regulators for transdifferentiation, octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (OCT4) is famous for its role in the regulation of pluripotency of stem cells. Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) is another factor that is known to have a significant role in osteogenic differentiation. Previous studies have achieved transdifferentiation of cells into osteoblasts using viral and plasmid deliveries of these factors. Although these methods are efficient, viral and plasmid transfection have safety issues such as permanent gene incorporations and bacterial DNA insertions. Herein, we developed a cell penetrating protein-based strategy to induce transdifferentiation of endothelial cells into osteoblasts via nuclear delivery of OCT4 recombinant protein combined with the BMP4 treatment. For the nuclear delivery of OCT4 protein, we fused the protein with 30Kc19, a cell-penetrating and protein stabilizing protein derived from a silkworm hemolymph of Bombyx mori with low cytotoxic properties. This study proposes a promising cell-based therapy without any safety issues that existing transdifferentiation approaches had.OCT4-30Kc19 protein with high penetrating activities and stability was synthesized for a protein-based osteogenic transdifferentiation system. Cells were treated with OCT4-30Kc19 and BMP4 to evaluate their cellular penetrating activity, cytotoxicity, osteogenic and angiogenic potentials in vitro. The osteogenic potential of 3D cell spheroids was also analyzed. In addition, in vivo cell delivery into subcutaneous tissue and cranial defect model was performed.OCT4-30Kc19 protein was produced in a soluble and stable form. OCT4-30Kc19 efficiently penetrated cells and were localized in intracellular compartments and the nucleus. Cells delivered with OCT4-30Kc19 protein combined with BMP4 showed increased osteogenesis, both in 2D and 3D culture, and showed increased angiogenesis capacity in vitro. Results from in vivo subcutaneous tissue delivery of cell-seeded scaffolds confirmed enhanced osteogenic properties of transdifferentiated HUVECs via treatment with both OCT4-30Kc19 and BMP4. In addition, in vivo mouse cranial defect experiment demonstrated successful bone regeneration of HUVECs pretreated with both OCT4-30Kc19 and BMP4.Using a protein-based transdifferentiation method allows an alternative approach without utilizing any genetic modification strategies, thus providing a possibility for safer use of cell-based therapies in clinical applications.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s40824-022-00280-8

    View details for Web of Science ID 000825406300001

    View details for PubMedID 35836274

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9281139

  • CRISPR-based genome editing in primary human pancreatic islet cells. Nature communications Bevacqua, R. J., Dai, X., Lam, J. Y., Gu, X., Friedlander, M. S., Tellez, K., Miguel-Escalada, I., Bonas-Guarch, S., Atla, G., Zhao, W., Kim, S. H., Dominguez, A. A., Qi, L. S., Ferrer, J., MacDonald, P. E., Kim, S. K. 2021; 12 (1): 2397


    Gene targeting studies in primary human islets could advance our understanding of mechanisms driving diabetes pathogenesis. Here, we demonstrate successful genome editing in primary human islets using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9). CRISPR-based targeting efficiently mutated protein-coding exons, resulting in acute loss of islet beta-cell regulators, like the transcription factor PDX1 and the KATP channel subunit KIR6.2, accompanied by impaired beta-cell regulation and function. CRISPR targeting of non-coding DNA harboring type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk variants revealed changes in ABCC8, SIX2 and SIX3 expression, and impaired beta-cell function, thereby linking regulatory elements in these target genes to T2D genetic susceptibility. Advances here establish a paradigm for genetic studies in human islet cells, and reveal regulatory and genetic mechanisms linking non-coding variants to human diabetes risk.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-22651-w

    View details for PubMedID 33893274