Differentiation

Since the derivation of human embryonic stem cells in 1981, the stem cell community has endeavored to find culture conditions and key signaling factors to guide stem cell differentiation towards clinically relevant cell fates. The most successful differentiation strategies have its foundations in developmental biology. Stem cell scientists have taken signaling cues from normal in vivo development to rationally design in vitro stepwise differentiation cell culture strategies. Recent advances in high-throughput robotics and chemical synthesis have allowed for the discovery of novel small molecules to be used alone or with more traditional cell culture reagents such as cytokines and extracellular matrix (ECM) substrates. Stemgent recognizes the labor and time-intensive protocols for human and mouse stem cell differentiation and offers consistent robust reagents for stem cell differentiation towards:

  1. Ectoderm: with cytokines (e.g. SHH, Noggin), small molecules (e.g. SHH Signaling Pathway Modulator Set); and matrices (Laminin).
  2. Endoderm: with cytokines (e.g. Activin A) and small molecules (e.g. IDE-1, IDE-2).
  3. Mesoderm: with cytokines (e.g. BMP-4, Wnt-3a) and small molecules (e.g. Wnt Signaling Pathway Set)

New to the differentiation tool box are viral vectors for the directed differentiation of one mature cell type to another mature cell type. Taking inspiration from the success of reprogramming mature cells to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, Marius Wernig2 and Douglas Melton3 have lead the way to identifying key transcription factors that directly differentiate skin cells to neurons (Ascl1, Brn2, and Myt1l) and pancreatic exocrine cells into insulin-producing beta-cells (Ngn3, Pdx1, and Mafa). Directing cell reprogramming from one mature state to another without reversion to the pluripotent stem cell state will reduce the experimental time between patient tissue collection and derivation of cell type of interest in regenerative medicine.

With the increasing speed with which new technologies for stem cell research are being developed, our teams at Stemgent work diligently with our Scientific Advisory Board and other leading stem cell scientists to validate and deliver cutting-edge reagents that enable you to more readily generate, differentiate, culture, and characterize ES/iPS cells for use in strategies in regenerative medicine, disease modeling, drug discovery, and developmental biology.


References

  1. Thomson J.A., Itskovitz-Eldor J., Shapiro S.S., Waknitz M.A., Swiergiel J.J., Marshall V.S., Jones J.M. (1998) Embryonic Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Blastocysts. Science, 282:1145–1147.
  2. Vierbuchen T., Ostermeier A., Pang Z.P., Kokubu Y., Südhof T.C., Wernig M. (2010) Direct conversion of fibroblasts to functional neurons by defined factors. Nature, 463(7284):1035-41.
  3. Zhou Q., Brown J., Kanarek A., Rajagopal J., Melton D.A. (2008) In vivo reprogramming of adult pancreatic exocrine cells to beta-cells. Nature, 455(7213):627-32.