Adult Somatic cells, such as skin cells, from patients can be used to derive induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) by transduction of four Yamanaka transcription factors. Those patient specific iPS cells, with similar properties to embryonic stem (ES) cells, show great potential on various applications, such as drug screening and disease modeling. However, in applying this technique to therapeutic applications such as tissues regeneration, progress is often hampered by low efficiency (about 0.01 to 0.1%) and slow reprogramming (few weeks). Here, we present a novel way to overcome this limitation. We designed a micro fluidic chip with two separate channels which can trap single skin cells and ES cells, respectively. The micrometer-sized slit between channels allows cell contact and fusion but separates nuclei from each cell type on different channel. After two days of postfusion, most of somatic cells (70%) will be derived to iPS cells by reprogramming factors provided by fused ES cells. Finally, reprogrammed cells can be separated from the fusion entity by gently closing the slit. Such high cell yield, along with free of gene modification, makes microslits confined cytoplasm fusion a potentially useful approach for clinical researches and applications.
Project end date: 02/03/11