Authors: Larry F. Lemanski, Andrei Kochegarov, Kamran Kaveh, Michael Neal, Ashley Arms, Yelica L Rodriguez, Lan Hong, M. Javed Equbal, Pipasha Biswas, Priya Biswas, Matthew Gonzalez, Jewel Ross-Ferguson, Justin Rusk, Lani Lyman- Henley, Tearah McRae-Kee, Curtis Ivory, Zhengshan Zhao.
The present study explores an RNA we have discovered in human heart that induces differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells into cardiomyocytes in vitro. We have designated this RNA as Cardiac Inducing RNA or CIR. We now find that CIR also induces mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) to form cardiomyocytes in vitro. For these studies, human-derived CIR is transfected into MEF using lipofectamine. The CIR-transfected mouse fibroblasts exhibit spindle-shaped cells, characteristic of myocardial cells in culture and express cardiac-specific troponin-T and cardiac tropomyosin. As such, the CIR-induced conversion of the fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes in vitro appears to take place without initial dedifferentiation into pluripotent stem cells. Instead, after CIR transfection using a lipofectamine transfection system, over the next 8 days there appears to be a direct transdifferentiation of ˃80% of the cultured fibroblasts into definitive cardiomyocytes. Fewer than ˂7% of the untreated controls using non-active RNA or lipofectamine by itself show cardiomyocyte characteristics. Thus, discovery of CIR may hold significant potential for future use in repair/regeneration of damaged myocardial tissue in humans after myocardial infarction or other disease processes such that affected patients may be able to return to pre-heart-disease activity levels.View/Download pdf