Insertion of reporter cassettes into the Lgr5 locus has enabled the characterization of mouse intestinal stem cells (ISCs). However, low cell surface abundance of LGR5 protein and lack of high-affinity anti-LGR5 antibodies represent a roadblock to efficiently isolate human colonic stem cells (hCoSCs). We set out to identify stem cell markers that would allow for purification of hCoSCs. In an unbiased approach, membrane-enriched protein fractions derived from in vitro human colonic organoids were analyzed by quantitative mass spectrometry. Protein tyrosine pseudokinase PTK7 specified a cell population within human colonic organoids characterized by highest self-renewal and re-seeding capacity. Antibodies recognizing the extracellular domain of PTK7 allowed us to isolate and expand hCoSCs directly from patient-derived mucosa samples. Human PTK7+ cells display features of canonical Lgr5+ ISCs and include a fraction of cells that undergo differentiation toward enteroendocrine lineage that resemble crypt label retaining cells (LRCs).
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.