Raad FS, Khan TA, Esser TU, Hudson JE, Seth BI, Fujita B, Gandamala R, Tietze LF, Zimmermann WH
EMBO Molecular Medicine
ChemMedChem. 2021 Jul 26.
Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) hold great promise for applications in cell therapy and drug screening in the cardiovascular field. Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) is key for early cardiac mesoderm induction in hPSC and subsequent cardiomyocyte derivation. Small-molecular BMP4 mimetics may help to standardize cardiomyocyte derivation from hPSCs. Based on observations that chalcones can stimulate BMP4 signaling pathways, we hypothesized their utility in cardiac mesoderm induction. To test this, we set up a two-tiered screening strategy, (1) for directed differentiation of hPSCs with commercially available chalcones (4’-hydroxychalcone [4’HC] and Isoliquiritigen) and 24 newly synthesized chalcone derivatives, and (2) a functional screen to assess the propensity of the obtained cardiomyocytes to self-organize into contractile engineered human myocardium (EHM). We identified 4’HC, 4-fluoro-4’-methoxychalcone, and 4-fluoro-4’-hydroxychalcone as similarly effective in cardiac mesoderm induction, but only 4’HC as an effective replacement for BMP4 in the derivation of contractile EHM-forming cardiomyocytes.