Targeting the Hippo signalling pathway to enhance the protective effect of iPS cell derived cardiomyocytes

  • Abigail Robertson

Student thesis: Phd


Cell based therapy using stem cell derived cardiomyocytes, has emerged as a potential therapeutic approach for cardiac diseases such as myocardial infarction and heart failure. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) could be an ideal source of cardiomyocytes (iPS-CM).  Challenges facing cell therapy include the high number of viable cells needed to survive in pathological conditions. The Hippo signalling pathway has been described as a key pathway involved in regulating cardiomyocyte proliferation and survival in both embryonic and adult hearts. We hypothesise that modification of the Hippo pathway will enhance the efficiency of iPS-CM generation and will increase iPS-CM survival and viability in pathological conditions. Skin fibroblasts were reprogrammed to iPS cells and then differentiated to cardiomyocytes. The Hippo signalling pathway was modified by genetic ablation of MST1, a major upstream regulator of the Hippo pathway, or by overexpressing YAP, the main downstream effector of the pathway.  Cell proliferation was analysed using an EdU incorporation assay and staining for cytokinesis markers Ki67 and phospho-histone H3. Cell death and viability were analysed by measuring caspase 3/7 and MTT activity and by trypan blue staining in both normal and hypoxic conditions (CoCl2 treatment). Analysis of cell proliferation shows that genetic ablation of Mst1 leads to significantly increased proliferation (+12±1.5% P
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDelvac Oceandy (Supervisor) & Elizabeth Cartwright (Supervisor)


  • Hippo pathway
  • Cell therapy
  • Induced pluripotent stem cell

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