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Reproducible differentiation and characterization of neurons from mouse embryonic stem cells.

MethodsX (2020-10-22)
Sonal Saxena, Sumana Choudhury, K Naga Mohan
ABSTRACT

Investigation on the effects of disease-associated mutations on neurodevelopment is an essential approach to understand the molecular basis of neurological disorders and can be achieved by generating suitable animal models. However, some of the mutations preclude development of animal models, leaving cell-based models as the only options. Mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) are attractive because of the well-established technologies for introducing disease-associated mutations and the feasibility of investigating the abnormalities during different stages of neurogenesis. Importantly, such transgenic mESCs enable large-scale screening and identification of the most promising small molecules and/or drug candidates before undertaking expensive animal studies. Although neuronal differentiation from mESCs is one of the earliest methods to be developed, we observed that the published as well as publicly available methods did not yield neurons consistently. Here, we describe a 16-day differentiation protocol that consistently induced differentiation of mESCs into neurons. This step-wise protocol enables monitoring of the neuronal differentiation process at different stages as well as characterization using the markers for immature and mature neurons by using immunocytochemistry and quantitative real-time PCRs.•Development of a method for differentiating mouse ES cells into neurons.•Differentiating the mouse ES cells into embryoid bodies prior to induction of neuronal differentiation results in better neuron formation.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Potassium chloride, for molecular biology, ≥99.0%
Sigma-Aldrich
Dabco® 33-LV
Sigma-Aldrich
Sodium chloride, BioXtra, ≥99.5% (AT)
Sigma-Aldrich
Sodium phosphate dibasic, for molecular biology, ≥98.5% (titration)
Sigma-Aldrich
Potassium phosphate monobasic, buffer substance, anhydrous, puriss. p.a., ACS reagent, reag. ISO, reag. Ph. Eur., 99.5-100.5%
Sigma-Aldrich
Gelatin from porcine skin, powder, gel strength ~300 g Bloom, Type A, BioReagent, suitable for electrophoresis, suitable for cell culture