The project addresses the generation and establishment of programmed pacemaker cells for an in vitro-drug testing possibility to perform predictive tests. This may lead to an improved treatment of cardiac arrhythmias or an accurate identification of potential drug molecules at an early stage of development. Important benefits will arise in verifying the safety of a wide variety of medicines while reducing animal testing.
iRhythmics/P3 – Cellular reprogramming into pacemaker cells through viral vectors and their functional characterization
This grant is meant to improve within the funding period the professional qualifications of talented junior scientists by executing an excellent scientific program within research associations.
Within Subproject P3 it is intended to establish direct reprogramming of murine and human cardiomyocytes towards cardiac pacemaker cells by lentivirus-derived vectors. Furthermore, lentiviral vectors will be utilized as tools towards forward-programming of induced pluripotent stem cells. As proof-of-principle in the framework of this project, in vitro transduction will take place via polycistronic lentiviral vectors bearing expression cassettes each consisting of one marker and one transcription factor gene. By means of these vectors, optimized combinations of programming factors will be channeled into the cells to be reprogrammed, initially with known transcription factors.
This project is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) program of the European Union (ESF/14-BM-A55-0026/18).