RNA-Seq To ID Markers For Research on Neural Tissue Differentiation – ASHG 2014

Neural tissue differentiated and cultured from derived stem cells is expected to revolutionize the treatment of brain and spinal injuries and diseases. Critical for these cellular therapies is accurate control and monitoring of differentiation but current methods for such cell typing are limited to qPCR and immunocytochemisty (ICC) which is not sufficient to discriminate between the numerous (likely 100,000+ possible neural cell-types. Research using RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) permits the characterization and discovery of much-needed novel markers. To define the temporal transcriptional signature of neural stem cells, cultured human embryonic stem cells (H9) were compared to induced neural stem cells (NSCs) at d0, d7 and d14. Total RNA was isolated over the time course from the undifferentiated and differentiated cells. Ion Torrent™ libraries were created to profile expression of miRNAs and whole transcriptomes for each cell population. Multiplexed Ion Proton™ sequencing and Torrent Suite™ Software analysis yielded ≥2.5 million small RNA reads and ≥29 million whole transcriptome reads per sample. Cluster analysis of the RNA-Seq profiles indicates that the cell populations have characteristic molecular signatures. Among genes that are decreased in induced cells are OCT4 (POU5F1), JARID2, NANOG, consistent with the differentiation of iPSCs into neurons. Among genes that showed increased expressions are NTRK2, POU3F2, and a number of HOX family genes. Recently, Ion AmpliSeq™ Transcriptome Human Gene Expression Kit has been launched, and the results from this analysis corroborated with whole transcriptome RNA-Seq results.

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