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Inducible regulation of GDNF expression in human neural stem cells

DOI: 10.1007/s11427-012-4424-6

Keywords: neural stem cells,GDNF,lentivirus vectors,tetracycline operator

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Abstract:

Glial cell derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) holds promises for treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Human neural stem cells (hNSCs) have proved to be a suitable cell delivery vehicle for the safe and efficient introduction of GDNF into the brain. In this study, we used hNSCs-infected with a lentivirus encoding GDNF and the hygromycin resistance gene as such vehicles. A modified tetracycline operator 7 (tetO7) was inserted into a region upstream of the EF1-α promoter to drive GDNF expression. After hygromycin selection, hNSCs were infected with a lentivirus encoding a KRAB-tetracycline repressor fusion protein (TTS). TTS bound to tetO7 and suppressed the expression of GDNF in hNSCs. Upon administration of doxycycline (Dox) the TTS-tetO7 complex separated and the expression of GDNF resumed. The hNSCs infected with GDNF expressed the neural stem cell specific markers, nestin and sox2, and exhibited no significant change in proliferation rate. However, the rate of apoptosis in hNSCs expressing GDNF was lower compared with normal NSCs in response to actinomycin treatment. Furthermore, a higher percentage of Tuj-1 positive cells were obtained from GDNF-producing NSCs under conditions that induced differentiation compared to control NSCs. The inducible expression of GDNF in hNSCs may provide a system for the controllable delivery of GDNF in patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

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