A novel embryonic stem cell line derived from the common marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus) exhibiting germ cell-like characteristics

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Embryonic stem cells (ESC) hold great promise for the treatment of degenerative diseases. However, before clinical application of ESC in cell replacement therapy can be achieved, the safety and feasibility must be extensively tested in animal models. The common marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus) is a useful preclinical non-human primate model due to its physiological similarities to human. Yet, few marmoset ESC lines exist and differences in their developmental potential remain unclear.

METHODS

Blastocysts were collected and immunosurgery was performed. cjes001 cells were tested for euploidy by karyotyping. The presence of markers for pluripotency was confirmed by immunofluorescence staining and RT–PCR. Histology of teratoma, in vitro differentiation and embryoid body formation revealed the differentiation potential.

RESULTS

cjes001 cells displayed a normal 46,XX karyotype. Alkaline phosphatase activity, expression of telomerase and the transcription factors OCT4, NANOG and SOX2 as well as the presence of stage-specific embryonic antigen (SSEA)-3, SSEA-4, tumor rejection antigens (TRA)-1-60, and TRA-1-81 indicated pluripotency. Teratoma formation assay displayed derivatives of all three embryonic germ layers. Upon non-directed differentiation, the cells expressed the germ cell markers VASA, BOULE, germ cell nuclear factor and synaptonemal complex protein 3 and showed co-localization of VASA protein within individual cells with the germ line stem cell markers CD9, CD49f, SSEA-4 and protein gene product 9.5, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

The cjes001 cells represent a new pluripotent ESC line with evidence for enhanced spontaneous differentiation potential into germ cells. This cjes001 line will be very valuable for comparative studies on primate ESC biology.

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