Modeling Human Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes Using Pluripotent Stem Cells and Genome Engineering

Moonjung Jung, Cynthia E. Dunbar, Thomas Winkler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The combination of epigenetic reprogramming with advanced genome editing technologies opened a new avenue to study disease mechanisms, particularly of disorders with depleted target tissue. Bone marrow failure syndromes (BMFS) typically present with a marked reduction of peripheral blood cells due to a destroyed or dysfunctional bone marrow compartment. Somatic and germline mutations have been etiologically linked to many cases of BMFS. However, without the ability to study primary patient material, the exact pathogenesis for many entities remained fragmentary. Capturing the pathological genotype in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) allows studying potential developmental defects leading to a particular phenotype. The lack of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in these patients can also be overcome by differentiating patient-derived iPSCs into hematopoietic lineages. With fast growing genome editing techniques, such as CRISPR/Cas9, correction of disease-causing mutations in iPSCs or introduction of mutations in cells from healthy individuals enable comparative studies that may identify other genetic or epigenetic events contributing to a specific disease phenotype. In this review, we present recent progresses in disease modeling of inherited and acquired BMFS using reprogramming and genome editing techniques. We also discuss the challenges and potential shortcomings of iPSC-based models for hematological diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1832-1842
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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