Kim JM, Moon SH, Park SJ, Lee HY, Hong KS, Seo J, Bae YS, Chung HM. Pertussis Toxin Enhances Colony Organization of Enzymatic-dissociated Single Human Embryonic Stem Cells. Stem Cells Dev. 2013.22:307-319.
Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) self-renew indefinitely as highly organized pluripotent colonies. Unlike mouse pluripotent stem cell colonies, human colonies form a uniform, flat, epithelium-like monolayer. Interestingly, it has been reported that colony morphology is closely correlated with the maintenance of pluripotency. However, the molecular mechanisms that underlie human pluripotent colony formation and organization are poorly understood. In this study, we used real-time imaging tools to examine the in vitro colony formation of enzymatically dissociated single hESCs under feeder-free conditions. We demonstrate that colony formation consists of 4 stages: attachment, migration, aggregation, and colony formation, which are facilitated in an intracellular, calcium-dependent manner. Moreover, we found that blocking Gi-coupled G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling results in enhanced cell–cell interactions and plays an integral role in promoting the survival of hESCs in culture. From the imaging results, we identified the conditions required for colony formation, and we identified the importance of blocking Gi-coupled GPCR by pertussis toxin in modulating hESC colony formation and organization. These results will likely be useful for engineering hESCs to further study the mechanisms involved in their function.