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Your Environment. Your Health.

EXPANDING THE THROUGHPUT OF REAL-TIME TOXICOLOGICAL SCREENING OF CARDIAC DIFFERENTIATION BY EXPRESSING A SYNTHETIC LUCIFERASE/LUCIFERIN GENETIC PATHWAY IN IPSCS

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Principal Investigator: Morrison, Dan
Institute Receiving Award 490 Biotech, Inc.
Location Knoxville, TN
Grant Number R44ES026269
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 01 Sep 2015 to 30 Jun 2021
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Expanding the throughput of real-time toxicological screening of cardiac differentiation by expressing a synthetic luciferase/luciferin genetic pathway in iPSCs Project Summary This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project proposes to develop and validate autonomously bioluminescent induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) for use in continuously data producing, reagent-free, and real-time toxicological screening assays. These tools will address the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) request for novel high-throughput assays to evaluate the effects of chemical compounds on the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells, as their ability to differentiate along well-defined lineage pathways offers a powerful approach to understanding how chemical perturbations disrupt metabolic and regulatory functions along those pathways. The autobioluminescent iPSC-based assay systems developed here will significantly contribute towards NIEHS’s mission to ‘discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives’ by expanding the knowledgebase of chemical exposure toxicological effects. This is especially important given that the commercial marketplace maintains an inventory of tens of thousands of chemicals, the majority of which have poorly understood human health impacts, and currently require animal- based testing approaches that are expensive, time consuming, and ethically contentious to determine their effects. As an alternative, stem cell-based assays such as those developed here can mimic human disease states more reliably than animal models while providing valuable information towards understanding how chemical exposures influence cancer risks, developmental defects, and other adverse health outcomes. A significant impetus therefore exists to integrate stem cells into chemical screening programs such as Tox21 and ToxCast, but under the mandate that they function under high-throughput conditions. While this goal is not obtainable using existing bioluminescent reporter technologies such as firefly luciferase that must be provided with a chemical substrate to activate its light emission responses, resulting in only marginally informative single time point snapshots of potential toxicological interactions, 490 BioTech’s synthetic luciferase technology rather enables reporter cells to emit light continuously and in real-time, thereby providing an uninterrupted stream of visual data over the lifetime of the cell as it interacts and reacts to chemical perturbations. The goal of this research effort is to develop improved assays based upon synthetic-luciferase-expressing iPSCs and validate their ability to report the impact of chemical exposure to cellular health and development in real time. To accomplish these goals, our specific aims will focus on assay development and optimization, validation against a chemical subset of the Tox21 10K library, and benchmark comparisons against existing commercial assay systems.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 17 - Stem Cell Biology and Cellular Differentiation
Publications See publications associated with this Grant.
Program Officer Lingamanaidu Ravichandran
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