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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6183562, 9 pages
Research Article

Dynamic Proteomic Analysis of Pancreatic Mesenchyme Reveals Novel Factors That Enhance Human Embryonic Stem Cell to Pancreatic Cell Differentiation

1Diabetes Center, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
2Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel
3Bioinformatics and High-Throughput Analysis Laboratory and High-Throughput Analysis Core, Center for Developmental Therapeutics, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, WA 98105, USA
4Predictive Analytics, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA 98105, USA
5Data-Enabled Life Sciences Alliance (DELSA), Seattle, WA 98105, USA
6Department of Biomedical Informatics & Medical Education and Pediatrics, Medical School, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98101, USA

Received 16 March 2015; Accepted 4 May 2015

Academic Editor: Stefan Liebau

Copyright © 2016 Holger A. Russ et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Current approaches in human embryonic stem cell (hESC) to pancreatic beta cell differentiation have largely been based on knowledge gained from developmental studies of the epithelial pancreas, while the potential roles of other supporting tissue compartments have not been fully explored. One such tissue is the pancreatic mesenchyme that supports epithelial organogenesis throughout embryogenesis. We hypothesized that detailed characterization of the pancreatic mesenchyme might result in the identification of novel factors not used in current differentiation protocols. Supplementing existing hESC differentiation conditions with such factors might create a more comprehensive simulation of normal development in cell culture. To validate our hypothesis, we took advantage of a novel transgenic mouse model to isolate the pancreatic mesenchyme at distinct embryonic and postnatal stages for subsequent proteomic analysis. Refined sample preparation and analysis conditions across four embryonic and prenatal time points resulted in the identification of 21,498 peptides with high-confidence mapping to 1,502 proteins. Expression analysis of pancreata confirmed the presence of three potentially important factors in cell differentiation: Galectin-1 (LGALS1), Neuroplastin (NPTN), and the Laminin α-2 subunit (LAMA2). Two of the three factors (LGALS1 and LAMA2) increased expression of pancreatic progenitor transcript levels in a published hESC to beta cell differentiation protocol. In addition, LAMA2 partially blocks cell culture induced beta cell dedifferentiation. Summarily, we provide evidence that proteomic analysis of supporting tissues such as the pancreatic mesenchyme allows for the identification of potentially important factors guiding hESC to pancreas differentiation.