An antibody against SSEA-5 glycan on human pluripotent stem cells enables removal of teratoma-forming cells

Chad Tang, Andrew S. Lee, Jens Peter Volkmer, Debashis Sahoo, Divya Nag, Adriane R. Mosley, Matthew A. Inlay, Reza Ardehali, Shawn L. Chavez, Renee Reijo Pera, Barry Behr, Joseph C. Wu, Irving L. Weissman, Micha Drukker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    258 Scopus citations


    An important risk in the clinical application of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells (hESCs and hiPSCs), is teratoma formation by residual undifferentiated cells. We raised a monoclonal antibody against hESCs, designated anti-stage-specific embryonic antigen (SSEA)-5, which binds a previously unidentified antigen highly and specifically expressed on hPSCs-the H type-1 glycan. Separation based on SSEA-5 expression through fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) greatly reduced teratoma-formation potential of heterogeneously differentiated cultures. To ensure complete removal of teratoma-forming cells, we identified additional pluripotency surface markers (PSMs) exhibiting a large dynamic expression range during differentiation: CD9, CD30, CD50, CD90 and CD200. Immunohistochemistry studies of human fetal tissues and bioinformatics analysis of a microarray database revealed that concurrent expression of these markers is both common and specific to hPSCs. Immunodepletion with antibodies against SSEA-5 and two additional PSMs completely removed teratoma-formation potential from incompletely differentiated hESC cultures.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)829-834
    Number of pages6
    JournalNature biotechnology
    Issue number9
    StatePublished - Sep 2011

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biotechnology
    • Bioengineering
    • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
    • Molecular Medicine
    • Biomedical Engineering

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