Distinct Gene Expression and Epigenetic Signatures in Hepatocyte-like Cells Produced by Different Strategies from the Same Donor

Yimeng Gao, Xiaoran Zhang, Ludi Zhang, Jin Cen, Xuan Ni, Xiaoying Liao, Chenxi Yang, Ying Li, Xiaotao Chen, Zhao Zhang, Yajing Shu, Xin Cheng, David C. Hay, Dongmei Lai, Guoyu Pan, Gang Wei, Lijian Hui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Hepatocyte-like cells (HLCs) can be generated through directed differentiation or transdifferentiation. Employing two strategies, we generated induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-HLCs and hiHeps from the same donor cell line. Both types of HLCs clustered distinctly from each other during gene expression profiling. In particular, differences existed in gene expression for phase II drug metabolism and lipid accumulation, underpinned by H3K27 acetylation status in iPSC-HLCs and hiHeps. While distinct phenotypes were achieved in vitro, both types of HLCs demonstrated similar phenotypes following transplantation into Fah-deficient mice. In conclusion, functional HLCs can be obtained from the same donor using two strategies. Global gene expression defined the differences between those populations in vitro. Importantly, both HLCs displayed partial but markedly improved hepatic function following transplantation in vivo, demonstrating plasticity and the potential for cell-based modeling in the dish and cell-based therapy in the future. In this article, Hui and colleagues show that hiHeps and iPSC-HLCs generated from the same donor display different gene expression patterns that correlate with their hepatic functions. Distinct H3K27ac modifications partially explain the functional differences between the two types of HLCs. Importantly, both HLCs show improved hepatic gene expression after repopulation in murine livers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1813-1824
Number of pages12
JournalStem Cell Reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 12 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • directed differentiation
  • gene expression pattern
  • hepatocyte-like cells
  • transdifferentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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