AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

Integration-free mRNA reprogramming of human fibroblasts: The study of aging upon reprogramming

by Leili Rohanisarvestani

Institution: Universit├Ąt Leipzig
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Record ID: 1114287
Full text PDF: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:15-qucosa-159985


The ability to reprogram adult somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells could provide a valuable implement for in vitro disease modeling and drug discovery. More importantly, they may potentially serve as an unlimited source of cells for regenerative medicine. However, most of the iPS cells have been generated by retroviral vectors, and therefore they carry the risk of viral integration into the host genome. This problem prevents their use for clinical applications and regenerative medicine. mRNA-mediated delivery of reprogramming factors is an alternative approach for cellular reprogramming. mRNA-based reprogramming offers the advantage of being completely free of genomic integration and is therefore highly suitable for clinical translation. However, there are some limitations which must be overcome so that mRNA can be widely used for successful cellular reprogramming. In the current thesis, the attempt was to generate stable mRNA-iPS cells through overcoming those limitations. Several human donor cells were transfected with mRNA encoding reprogramming factors and the generation of two stable mRNA-iPS cell lines was shown. The resultant mRNA-iPS colonies were assessed for pluripotency markers. Their pluripotency features were evaluated by the viral-iPS cells produced by conventional retroviral vectors. It was noticed that the generation of mRNA-iPS cells was largely affected by the parental cells from which they were derived. However, characterization and evaluation of the generated mRNA-iPS cells proved their pluripotency states comparable to the viral-iPS cells. On the other hand, the aging hallmarks of the iPS cells were assessed in the second part of this thesis. The potential aging signatures of the iPS cells should be conducted before their use in clinical applications. Currently, there are controversial data regarding the ability of reprogramming to fully rejuvenate an aged somatic cell and reverse agerelated changes such as shortened telomeres, dysfunctional mitochondria and DNA damage. Moreover, mixed findings have been published regarding whether the iPS cells are fully rejuvenated or they might retain some of the aging hallmarks from the cells which they were derived. This thesis studied these controversies through the investigation of three hallmarks of aging including telomere length, mitochondrial alteration and DNA damage. Telomere elongation was indicated in the iPS cells. Furthermore, mitochondrial morphology and function were improved into more immature features in iPS cell lines than their corresponding fibroblasts. Moreover, the iPS cell lines were shown to have less amount of DNA damage compared to their parental fibroblasts. In summary, it can be concluded that generation of mRNA-iPS cells is largely affected by the primary donor cells from which they are derived. Furthermore, it seems that reprogramming enables reversion of aging signatures to a more youthful state.