Application of recombinant human leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) produced in rice (Oryza sativa L.) for maintenance of mouse embryonic stem cells

J Biotechnol. 2013 Dec 29;172C:67-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2013.12.012. [Epub ahead of print]

Youngblood BA, Alfano R, Pettit SC, Zhang D, Dallmann HG, Huang N, Macdonald CC.


Embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells have the ability to differentiate into any somatic cell type, and thus have potential to treat a number of diseases that are currently incurable. Application of these cells for clinical or industrial uses would require an increase in production to yield adequate numbers of viable cells. However, the relatively high costs of cytokines and growth factors required for maintenance of stem cells in the undifferentiated state have the potential to limit translational research. Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), a member of the IL-6 cytokine family, is a key regulator in the maintenance of naïve states for both human and mouse stem cells. In this study, we describe a new recombinant human LIF (rhLIF) using a plant-based (rice) expression system. We found that rice-derived rhLIF possessed the same specific activity as commercial Escherichia coli-derived LIF and was capable of supporting mouse embryonic stem cell proliferation in the undifferentiated state as evidenced from pluripotency marker level analysis. Retention of the pluripotent state was found to be indistinguishable between rice-derived rhLIF and other recombinant LIF proteins currently on the market.

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