Results: We explored how porcine pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) can provide a limitless in vitro supply of genetically and experimentally tractable macrophages. Porcine PSC-derived macrophages (PSCdMs) exhibited molecular and functional characteristics of ex vivo primary macrophages and were productively infected by pig pathogens, including porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) and African swine fever virus (ASFV), two of the most economically important and devastating viruses in pig farming. Moreover, porcine PSCdMs were readily amenable to genetic modification by CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing applied either in parental stem cells or directly in the macrophages by lentiviral vector transduction.
Conclusions: We show that porcine PSCdMs exhibit key macrophage characteristics, including infection by a range of commercially relevant pig pathogens. In addition, genetic engineering of PSCs and PSCdMs affords new opportunities for functional analysis of macrophage biology in an important livestock species. PSCs and differentiated derivatives should therefore represent a useful and ethical experimental platform to investigate the genetic and molecular basis of host-pathogen interactions in pigs, and also have wider applications in livestock.
- Methodology Article
- Pluripotent stem cell
- gene editing