Non-genetic Purification of Ventricular Cardiomyocytes from Differentiating Embryonic Stem Cells through Molecular Beacons Targeting IRX-4

Kiwon Ban, Brian Wile, Kyu Won Cho, Sangsung Kim, Ming Ke Song, Sang Yoon Kim, Jason Singer, Anum Syed, Shan Ping Yu, Mary Wagner, Gang Bao, Young Sup Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Isolation of ventricular cardiomyocytes (vCMs) has been challenging due to the lack of specific surface markers. Here we show that vCMs can be purified from differentiating mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) using molecular beacons (MBs) targeting specific intracellular mRNAs. We designed MBs (IRX4 MBs) to target mRNA encoding Iroquois homeobox protein 4 (Irx4), a transcription factor specific for vCMs. To purify mESC vCMs, IRX4 MBs were delivered into cardiomyogenically differentiating mESCs, and IRX4 MBs-positive cells were FACS-sorted. We found that, of the cells isolated, ∼98% displayed vCM-like action potentials by electrophysiological analyses. These MB-purified vCMs continuously maintained their CM characteristics as verified by spontaneous beating, Ca2+ transient, and expression of vCM-specific proteins. Our study shows the feasibility of isolating pure vCMs via cell sorting without modifying host genes. The homogeneous and functional ventricular CMs generated via the MB-based method can be useful for disease investigation, drug discovery, and cell-based therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1239-1249
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cell Reports
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 8

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the Emory Children’s Pediatric Research Center flow cytometry core. This work was supported in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH as a Program of Excellence in Nanotechnology award (HHSN268201000043C to G.B. and Y.-S.Y.) and by grants from NIDDK (DP3DK094346 to Y.-S.Y.), NHLBI (R01HL127759 to Y.-S.Y. and R01HL088488 to M.W.), Faculty Research Assistance Program of Yonsei University College of Medicine 2015, and the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (No 2015M3A9C6031514). K.B. is a recipient of an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Authors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Non-genetic Purification of Ventricular Cardiomyocytes from Differentiating Embryonic Stem Cells through Molecular Beacons Targeting IRX-4'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this