Development of a decoy immunization strategy to identify cell-surface molecules expressed on undifferentiated human embryonic stem cells
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Little is known about the cell-surface molecules that are related to the undifferentiated and pluripotent state of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Here, we generated a panel of murine monoclonal antibodies (MAb) against undifferentiated hESCs by a modification of a previously described decoy immunization strategy. H9 hESCs were differentiated in the presence of retinoic acid and used as a decoy immunogen. Twelve Balb/c mice were immunized in the right hind footpads with differentiated H9 cells and in the left hind footpads with undifferentiated H9 cells. After immunization, the left popliteal lymph node cells were collected and were fused with mouse myeloma cells. The fusion resulted in 79 hybridomas secreting MAbs that bound to the undifferentiated H9 cells as shown by flow cytometric analysis. Of these, 70 MAbs bound to the undifferentiated H9 cells, but only weakly or not at all to the differentiated H9 cells. We characterized 37 MAbs (32 IgGs, 5 IgMs) recognizing surface molecules that were down-regulated during embryoid body cell formation. One of the MAbs, L125-C2, was confirmed to immunoprecipitate CD9, previously known as a surface molecule on the undifferentiated hESCs. To investigate the relationship between the MAbs and hESC-specific antibodies, two representative MAbs, viz., L125-C2 and 291-D4, were selected and studied by multi-color flow cytometric analysis. This showed that more than 60% of L125-C2- and 291-D4-positive cells were also positive for the expression of hESC-specific surface molecules such as SSEA3, SSEA4, TRA-1–60, and TRA-1–81, indicating the close relationship between the two MAbs and the hESC-specific surface molecules. Our results suggest that the decoy immunization strategy is an efficient method for isolating a panel of MAbs against undifferentiated hESCs, and that the generated MAbs should be useful for studying the surface molecules on hESCs in the pluripotent and undifferentiated state.
KeywordsDecoy immunization Monoclonal antibodies Cell-surface molecules Undifferentiation Embryonic stem cells Human
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