Anthropology and Human Genetics

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A non-invasive method to generate induced pluripotent stem cells from primate urine

by J. Geuder, L. E. Wange, A. Janjic, J. Radmer, P. Janssen, J. W. Bagnoli, S. Müller, A. Kaul, M. Ohnuki & W. Enard


Scientific Reports 11, Article number: 3516


Comparing the molecular and cellular properties among primates is crucial to better understand human evolution and biology. However, it is difficult or ethically impossible to collect matched tissues from many primates, especially during development. An alternative is to model different cell types and their development using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These can be generated from many tissue sources, but non-invasive sampling would decisively broaden the spectrum of non-human primates that can be investigated. Here, we report the generation of primate iPSCs from urine samples. We first validate and optimize the procedure using human urine samples and show that suspension- Sendai Virus transduction of reprogramming factors into urinary cells efficiently generates integration-free iPSCs, which maintain their pluripotency under feeder-free culture conditions. We demonstrate that this method is also applicable to gorilla and orangutan urinary cells isolated from a non-sterile zoo floor. We characterize the urinary cells, iPSCs and derived neural progenitor cells using karyotyping, immunohistochemistry, differentiation assays and RNA-sequencing. We show that the urine-derived human iPSCs are indistinguishable from well characterized PBMC-derived human iPSCs and that the gorilla and orangutan iPSCs are well comparable to the human iPSCs. In summary, this study introduces a novel and efficient approach to non-invasively generate iPSCs from primate urine. This will extend the zoo of species available for a comparative approach to molecular and cellular phenotypes.