Direct reprogramming of somatic cells has been demonstrated, however, it is unknown whether electrophysiologically-active somatic cells derived from separate germ layers can be interconverted. We demonstrate that partial direct reprogramming of mesoderm-derived cardiomyocytes into neurons is feasible, generating cells exhibiting structural and electrophysiological properties of both cardiomyocytes and neurons. Human and mouse pluripotent stem cell-derived CMs (PSC-CMs) were transduced with the neurogenic transcription factors Brn2, Ascl1, Myt1l and NeuroD. We found that CMs adopted neuronal morphologies as early as day 3 post-transduction while still retaining a CM gene expression profile. At week 1 post-transduction, we found that reprogrammed CMs expressed neuronal markers such as Tuj1, Map2, and NCAM. At week 3 post-transduction, mature neuronal markers such as vGlut and synapsin were observed. With single-cell qPCR, we temporally examined CM gene expression and observed increased expression of neuronal markers Dcx, Map2, and Tubb3. Patch-clamp analysis confirmed the neuron-like electrophysiological profile of reprogrammed CMs. This study demonstrates that PSC-CMs are amenable to partial neuronal conversion, yielding a population of cells exhibiting features of both neurons and CMs.
View details for DOI 10.1038/srep44840
View details for Web of Science ID 000396983300001
View details for PubMedID 28327614
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5361100