Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol.117, No.10, 3136-3149, 2020
Aggregation-induced integrated stress response rejuvenates culture-expanded human mesenchymal stem cells
Protein homeostasis is critical for cellular function, as loss of homeostasis is attributed to aging and the accumulation of unwanted proteins. Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have shown promising therapeutic potential due to their impressive abilities to secrete inflammatory modulators, angiogenic, and regenerative cytokines. However, there exists the problem of human MSC expansion with compromised therapeutic quality. Duringin vitro expansion, human MSCs are plated on stiff plastics and undergo culture adaptation, which results in aberrant proliferation, shifts in metabolism, and decreased autophagic activity. It has previously been shown that three-dimensional (3D) aggregation can reverse some of these alterations by heightening autophagy and recovering the metabolic state back to a naive phenotype. To further understand the proteostasis in human MSC culture, this study investigated the effects of 3D aggregation on the human MSC proteome to determine the specific pathways altered by aggregation. The 3D aggregates and 2D cultures of human MSCs derived from bone marrow (bMSC) and adipose tissue (ASC) were analyzed along with differentiated human dermal fibroblasts (FB). The proteomics analysis showed the elevated eukaryotic initiation factor 2 pathway and the upregulated activity of the integrated stress response (ISR) in 3D aggregates. Specific protein quantification further determined that bMSC and ASC responded to ISR, while FB did not. 3D aggregation significantly increased the ischemic survival of bMSCs and ASCs. Perturbation of ISR with small molecules salubrinal and GSK2606414 resulted in differential responses of bMSC, ASC, and FB. This study indicates that aggregation-based preconditioning culture holds the potential for improving the therapeutic efficacy of expanded human MSCs via the establishment of ISR and homeostasis.