Effective adenovirus-mediated gene transfer into neural stem cells derived from human embryonic stem cells
Human embryonic stem cell-derived neural stem cells (hESC-NSCs) are an attractive cell type for studying aspects of brain development and pathology. To develop the full potential of this model system, it is important to establish a reliable methodology for the manipulation of gene expression in hNSCs. To address this issue, we used an adenoviral vector with a CMV promoter-driven green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene (Ad5-GFP). We optimized conditions for Ad5-GFP infection and assessed the efficiency of infection of whole and dissociated embryonic stem cell (ESC)-derived neurospheres as well as the effect of adenoviral vectors on cell surface marker expression, proliferation, and differentiation potential. Our results demonstrate that most neurosphere cells (∼70%) express the coxsackie and adenovirus receptor and can be infected with Ad5. More specifically, the CD133+ hESC-NSC population could be infected more efficiently than the CD133 population and both populations expressed GFP at high levels. At low multiplicity of infection (MOI < 25), the virus had no significant effect on stem cell marker expression (CD133 and Nestin), cell survival, cell proliferation rate, or differentiation potential. This model system provides a practical new approach to study human NSC function in the context of neurodegenerative and neoplastic disorders.