Dynamic blebbing: A bottleneck to human embryonic stem cell culture that can be overcome by Laminin-Integrin signaling

Weng J-H., Cheung C., Talbot P.Stem Cell Research, 2018


This study characterizes dynamic and apoptotic blebbing in human embryonic stem cells (hESC), identifies dynamic blebbing as a bottleneck to successful cell attachment during passaging, and demonstrates that dynamic blebbing can be rapidly stopped by plating cells on recombinant human laminin. In freshly plated hESC, dynamic and apoptotic blebbing differed in time of occurrence, bleb retraction rate, mitochondrial membrane potential, and caspase 3&7 activation. While dynamic blebbing can be controlled with drugs that inhibit myosin II, these methods have off-target effects and are not suitable for clinical applications. Recombinant human laminin-521 or addition of laminin-111 to Matrigel provided a safe method to drastically decrease dynamic blebbing and improve cell attachment with proteins normally found in the inner cell mass. Inhibition of focal adhesion kinase, which is activated by binding of integrins to laminin, prolonged dynamic blebbing and inhibited attachment. These data show that hESC binds rapidly to laminins through an integrin, which activates focal adhesion kinase that in turn downregulates dynamic blebbing. Laminins enabled hESC to rapidly attach during passaging, improved plating efficiency, enabled passaging of single pluripotent stem cells, and avoided the use of inhibitors that have non-specific off-target effects. These data provide a strategy for improving hESC culture using biologically safe recombinant human proteins.


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