Generation of Lens Progenitor Cells and Lentoid Bodies from Pluripotent Stem Cells: Novel Tools for Human Lens Development and Ocular Disease Etiology

Aleš Cvekl, Michael John Camerino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

In vitro differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) into specialized tissues and organs represents a powerful approach to gain insight into those cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating human development. Although normal embryonic eye development is a complex process, generation of ocular organoids and specific ocular tissues from pluripotent stem cells has provided invaluable insights into the formation of lineage-committed progenitor cell populations, signal transduction pathways, and self-organization principles. This review provides a comprehensive summary of recent advances in generation of adenohypophyseal, olfactory, and lens placodes, lens progenitor cells and three-dimensional (3D) primitive lenses, “lentoid bodies”, and “micro-lenses”. These cells are produced alone or “community-grown” with other ocular tissues. Lentoid bodies/micro-lenses generated from human patients carrying mutations in crystallin genes demonstrate proof-of-principle that these cells are suitable for mechanistic studies of cataractogenesis. Taken together, current and emerging advanced in vitro differentiation methods pave the road to understand molecular mechanisms of cataract formation caused by the entire spectrum of mutations in DNA-binding regulatory genes, such as PAX6, SOX2, FOXE3, MAF, PITX3, and HSF4, individual crystallins, and other genes such as BFSP1, BFSP2, EPHA2, GJA3, GJA8, LIM2, MIP, and TDRD7 represented in human cataract patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3516
JournalCells
Volume11
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • PAX6
  • cranial placodes
  • crystallins
  • de-nucleation
  • differentiation
  • gene expression
  • lens progenitor cells
  • lentoid bodies
  • optic cup
  • pluripotent stem cells
  • self-organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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