Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) represent the most promising clinical source for regenerative medicine. However, given the cellular heterogeneity within cultivation and safety concerns, the development of specific and efficient tools to isolate a pure population and eliminate all residual undifferentiated PSCs from differentiated derivatives is a prerequisite for clinical applications. In this study, we raised a monoclonal antibody and identified its target antigen as desmoglein-2 (DSG2). DSG2 co-localized with human PSC (hPSC)-specific cell surface markers, and its expression was rapidly downregulated upon differentiation. The depletion of DSG2 markedly decreased hPSC proliferation and pluripotency marker expression. In addition, DSG2-negative population in hPSCs exhibited a notable suppression in embryonic body and teratoma formation. The actions of DSG2 in regulating the self-renewal and pluripotency of hPSCs were predominantly exerted through the regulation of β-catenin/Slug-mediated epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Our results demonstrate that DSG2 is a valuable PSC surface marker that is essential for the maintenance of PSC self-renewal.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology