Acquiring sufficient amounts of high-quality cells remains an impediment to cell-based therapies. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) may be an unparalleled source, but autologous iPSC likely retain deficiencies requiring correction. We present a strategy for restoring physiological function in genetically deficient iPSC utilizing the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) deficiency Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) as our model. FH fibroblasts were reprogrammed into iPSC using synthetic modified mRNA. FH-iPSC exhibited pluripotency and differentiated toward a hepatic lineage. To restore LDLR endocytosis, FH-iPSC were transfected with a 31 kb plasmid (pEHZ-LDLR-LDLR) containing a wild-type LDLR (FH-iPSC-LDLR) controlled by 10 kb of upstream genomic DNA as well as Epstein-Barr sequences (EBNA1 and oriP) for episomal retention and replication. After six months of selective culture, pEHZ-LDLR-LDLR was recovered from FH-iPSC-LDLR and transfected into Ldlr-deficient CHO-a7 cells, which then exhibited feedback-controlled LDLR-mediated endocytosis. To quantify endocytosis, FH-iPSC ± LDLR were differentiated into mesenchymal cells (MC), pretreated with excess free sterols, Lovastatin, or ethanol (control), and exposed to DiI-LDL. FH-MC-LDLR demonstrated a physiological response, with virtually no DiI-LDL internalization with excess sterols and an ~2-fold increase in DiI-LDL internalization by Lovastatin compared to FH-MC. These findings demonstrate the feasibility of functionalizing genetically deficient iPSC using episomal plasmids to deliver physiologically responsive transgenes.
Cell Differentiation, Cells, Cultured, Endocytosis, Genetic Enhancement, Humans, Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, Plasmids, Receptors, LDL, Recovery of Function