The Impact of GFP Reporter Gene Transduction and Expression on Metabolomics of Placental Mesenchymal Stem Cells Determined by UHPLC-Q/TOF-MS

Stem Cells Int. 2017;2017:3167985. doi: 10.1155/2017/3167985. Epub 2017 Nov 5.


Introduction: Green fluorescent protein (GFP) is widely used as a reporter gene in regenerative medicine research to label and track stem cells. Here, we examined whether expressing GFP gene may impact the metabolism of human placental mesenchymal stem cells (hPMSCs).

Methods: The GFP gene was transduced into hPMSCs using lentiviral-based infection to establish GFP+hPMSCs. A sensitive 13C/12C-dansyl labeling LC-MS method targeting the amine/phenol submetabolome was used for in-depth cell metabolome profiling.

Results: A total of 1151 peak pairs or metabolites were detected from 12 LC-MS runs. Principal component analysis and partial least squares discriminant analysis showed poor separation, and the volcano plots demonstrated that most of the metabolites were not significantly changed when hPMSCs were tagged with GFP. Overall, 739 metabolites were positively or putatively identified. Only 11 metabolites showed significant changes. Metabolic pathway analyses indicated that three of the identified metabolites were involved in nine pathways. However, these metabolites are unlikely to have a large impact on the metabolic pathways due to their nonessential roles and limited hits in pathway analysis.

Conclusion: This study indicated that the expression of ectopic GFP reporter gene did not significantly alter the metabolomics pathways covered by the amine/phenol submetabolome.