Rapid and Robust Multi-Phenotypic Assay System for ALS Using Human iPS Cells with Mutations in Causative Genes

Tosho Kondo, Ihori Ebinuma, Hirotaka Tanaka, Yukitoshi Nishikawa, Takaki Komiya, Mitsuru Ishikawa, Hideyuki Okano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a major life-threatening disease caused by motor neuron degeneration. More effective treatments through drug discovery are urgently needed. Here, we established an effective high-throughput screening system using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Using a Tet-On-dependent transcription factor expression system carried on the PiggyBac vector, motor neurons were efficiently and rapidly generated from iPSCs by a single-step induction method. Induced iPSC transcripts displayed characteristics similar to those of spinal cord neurons. iPSC-generated motor neurons carried a mutation in fused in sarcoma (FUS) and superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) genes and had abnormal protein accumulation corresponding to each mutation. Calcium imaging and multiple electrode array (MEA) recordings demonstrated that ALS neurons were abnormally hyperexcitable. Noticeably, protein accumulation and hyperexcitability were ameliorated by treatment with rapamycin (mTOR inhibitor) and retigabine (Kv7 channel activator), respectively. Furthermore, rapamycin suppressed ALS neuronal death and hyperexcitability, suggesting that protein aggregate clearance through the activation of autophagy effectively normalized activity and improved neuronal survival. Our culture system reproduced several ALS phenotypes, including protein accumulation, hyperexcitability, and neuronal death. This rapid and robust phenotypic screening system will likely facilitate the discovery of novel ALS therapeutics and stratified and personalized medicine for sporadic motor neuron diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6987
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 04-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Rapid and Robust Multi-Phenotypic Assay System for ALS Using Human iPS Cells with Mutations in Causative Genes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this