Deriving cell populations from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) for cell-based therapy is considered a promising strategy to achieve functional cells, yet its translation to clinical practice depends on achieving fully defined differentiated cells. In this work, we generated a miRNA-responsive lethal mRNA construct that selectively induces rapid apoptosis in hESCs by expressing a mutant (S184del) Bax variant. Insertion of miR-499 target sites in the construct enabled to enrich hESC-derived cardiomyocytes (CMs) in culture. A deterministic non-linear model was developed and validated with experimental data, to predict the outcome for each treatment cycle and the number of treatment cycle repetitions required to achieve completely purified cTNT-positive cells. The enriched hESC-CMs displayed physiological sarcomere orientation, functional calcium handling and after transplantation into SCID-NOD mice did not form teratomas. The modular miRNA responsive lethal mRNA construct could be employed in additional directed differentiation protocols, by adjusting the miRNA to the specific cells of choice.
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