From c-Photina mouse embryonic stem cells to high-throughput screening of differentiated neural cells via an intermediate step enriched in neural precursor cells

J Biomol Screen. 2010 Oct;15(9):1132-43. doi: 10.1177/1087057110379267. Epub 2010 Sep 10.


The use of engineered mouse embryonic stem (mES) cells in high-throughput screening (HTS) can offer new opportunities for studying complex targets in their native environment, increasing the probability of discovering more meaningful hits. The authors have generated and developed a mouse embryonic stem cell line called c-Photina mES stably expressing a Ca(2+)-activated photoprotein as a reporter gene. This reporter cell line retains the ability to differentiate into any cell lineage and can be used for miniaturized screening processes in 384-well microplates. The c-Photina mES cell line is particularly well suited for the study of the pharmacological modulation of target genes that induce Ca(2+) mobilization. The authors differentiated this mES reporter cell line into neuronal cells and screened the LOPAC(1280) library monitoring the agonistic or antagonistic activities of compounds. They also demonstrate the possibility to generate and freeze bulk preparations of cells at an intermediate stage of differentiation and enriched in neural precursor cells, which retain the ability to form fully functional neural networks once thawed. The proposed cell model is of high value for HTS purposes because it offers a more physiological environment to the targets of interest and the possibility of using frozen batches of neural precursor cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Assay
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Differentiation* / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays / methods*
  • Mice
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neural Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Pyridinium Compounds / metabolism
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / metabolism
  • Small Molecule Libraries / analysis
  • Small Molecule Libraries / pharmacology


  • FM 4-64
  • Pyridinium Compounds
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Small Molecule Libraries