Expression dynamics of lens development-associated transcription factors in human embryonic stem cell-induced lentoid body

Authors: Han Chenlu,  Wang Chunxiao,  Li Jinyan,  Luo Lixia

DOI: 10.3760/cma.j.issn.2095-0160.2018.07.004
Published 2018-07-10
Cite as Chin J Exp Ophthalmol, 2018,36(7): 500-507.

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To observe the expression dynamics of lens-related transcription factors in human embryonic stem cell (hESC) differentiated into lentoid body(LB).


A “three-stage” protocol was used for LB directional differentiation from hESC in vitro.The hESC (D0) and three differentiation stages cells were collected to analyze the expression dynamics of lens development-associated transcription factors by high throughput RNA sequencing technology in hESC-induced LB.Western blot and cell immunofluorescence were used to observe the involved genes at protein level.


During D0-D6, cells became more round and compact.And during D7-D18, cells morphology gradually changed to spindle.At the end of D35, three-dimensional and transparent structure-lentoid body (LB) was obtained.RT-PCR results showed that the stem cell related genes reduced and the lens specific genes increased significantly, and the LB was characterized by the expression of crystallins.According to clustering analysis of high throughput sequencing, a distinct difference in transcription factors gene expression was observed between D0 and D32.Meanwhile, the difference between D6 and D18 was minimum.The expressions of preplacodal genes, including DLX3, DLX5, DLX6, HES1, HES4, OTX2 and EYA1 increased remarkably at the first induction stage and then decreased.Lens-specification gene SOX2 declined gradually and then increased.In addition, the expression of PAX6 increased during all three induction stages.Furthermore, lens-differentiation genes including MAB21L1, CMAF, PROX1 and PITX3 had no significant change in the early induction stage, but increased significantly at the third induction stage.


The expression dynamics of lens development-associated transcription factors in the hESC induced LB corresponded to those in vivo, which indicate that this induction system can recapitulate early lens development well and lay the foundation of studying lens embryonic development and transcription factor associated congenital lens diseases.

Key words:

Human embryonic stem cell; Lentoid body; Transcription factor; High throughput RNA sequencing

Contributor Information

Han Chenlu
State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510060, China
Wang Chunxiao
Li Jinyan
Luo Lixia
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