Productive Infection of Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived NKX2.1+ Respiratory Progenitors With Human Rhinovirus

A. Jenny, C. Hirst, S.M. Lim, A.L. Goulburn, S.J. Micallef, T. Labonne, Anthony Kicic, K-M Ling, Stephen Stick, E.S. Ng, A, Trounson, A, Giudice, A.G. Elefanty, E.G. Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Airway epithelial cells generated from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) represent a resource for research into a variety of human respiratory conditions, including those resulting from infection with common human pathogens. Using an NKX2.1-GFP reporter human embryonic stem cell line, we developed a serum-free protocol for the generation of NKX2.1+ endoderm that, when transplanted into immunodeficient mice, matured into respiratory cell types identified by expression of CC10, MUC5AC, and surfactant proteins. Gene profiling experiments indicated that day 10 NKX2.1+ endoderm expressed markers indicative of early foregut but lacked genes associated with later stages of respiratory epithelial cell differentiation. Nevertheless, NKX2.1+ endoderm supported the infection and replication of the common respiratory pathogen human rhinovirus HRV1b. Moreover, NKX2.1+ endoderm upregulated expression of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-1B in response to infection, a characteristic of human airway epithelial cells. Our experiments provide proof of principle for the use of PSC-derived respiratory epithelial cells in the study of cell-virus interactions.

This report provides proof-of-principle experiments demonstrating, for the first time, that human respiratory progenitor cells derived from stem cells in the laboratory can be productively infected with human rhinovirus, the predominant cause of the common cold.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-614
JournalStem Cells Translational Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date14 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


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