JoVE Logo
Faculty Resource Center

Sign In





Representative Results





Developmental Biology

Neurogenesis Using P19 Embryonal Carcinoma Cells

Published: April 27th, 2019



1Department of Experimental Embryology, Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Polish Academy of Sciences, 2Department of Regenerative Medicine, Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute - Oncology Center, 3Department of Genomics and Biodiversities, Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Polish Academy of Sciences

The P19 mouse embryonic carcinoma cell line (P19 cell line) is widely used for studying the molecular mechanism of neurogenesis with great simplification compared to in vivo analysis. Here, we present a protocol for retinoic acid-induced neurogenesis in the P19 cell line.

The P19 cell line derived from a mouse embryo-derived teratocarcinoma has the ability to differentiate into the three germ layers. In the presence of retinoic acid (RA), the suspension cultured P19 cell line is induced to differentiate into neurons. This phenomenon is extensively investigated as a neurogenesis model in vitro. Therefore, the P19 cell line is very useful for molecular and cellular studies associated with neurogenesis. However, protocols for neuronal differentiation of P19 cell line described in the literature are very complex. The method developed in this study are simple and will play a part in elucidating the molecular mechanisms in neurodevelopmental abnormalities and neurodegenerative diseases.

During embryonal development, a single cell layer is transformed into three separate germ layers1,2,3. To increase the research possibilities of phenomena occurring in vivo, generation of three-dimensional aggregates (embryonic bodies) have been developed as a convenient model. Cellular aggregates formed in this way can be exposed to various conditions causing cell differentiation, which reflect development of the embryo4,5. The P19 murine embryonic carcinoma cell line (P19 cell line) is commonly used as a cellular mo....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

1. Culture Maintenance

  1. Culture the P19 cell line in Maintenance Medium (Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium with 4,500 mg/L of glucose supplemented with 10% FBS, 100 units/mL penicillin and 100 units/mL streptomycin). Incubate at 37 °C and 5% CO2.

2. Sub-culturing Cells

  1. When cells reach approximately 80% confluence, remove the spent medium from the cell culture flasks (surface area 25 cm2).
  2. Wash the cells with 2 mL of p.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The simplified scheme of protocol for neurogenesis induction in P19 cell line is presented in Figure 1. In order to define the character of the P19 cell line in an undifferentiated state and during neurogenesis, the RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) method was used. The undifferentiated P19 cell line expressed the pluripotency genes such as organic cation/carnitine transporter4 (Oct4) and Nanog homeobox (Nanog). Neurog.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Here, we describe a simple protocol for neurogenesis using the P19 cell line. Although many reports have been published in this regard, a detailed methodology for neurogenesis induction using P19 cell line remains unclear. Moreover, we utilized a simple high glucose (4,500 mg/L) DMEM medium with 10% FBS for the entire experiment. This allowed us to perform the neurogenic experiment in a user-friendly manner and expand the usage of this method for the future.

The most critical points within thi.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The study was financially supported by National Science Centre, Poland (grant no. UMO-2017/25/N/NZ3/01886) and KNOW (Leading National Research Centre) Scientific Consortium "Healthy Animal - Safe Food", decision of Ministry of Science and Higher Education No. 05-1/KNOW2/2015


Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Name Company Catalog Number Comments
6x DNA Loading Dye EURx E0260-01
Agarose Sigma- Aldrich A9539
cDNA synthesis kit EURx E0801-02
DAPI (4′,6-Diamidine-2′-phenylindole dihydrochloride) Sigma- Aldrich 10236276001 Working concentration: 1 μg/mL
DMEM high glucose (4.5 g/L) with L-glutamine Lonza BE12-604Q
Ethanol 99.8% Chempur CHEM*613964202
Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) EURx E5050-03
MAP2 antibody Thermo Fisher Scientific PA517646 Dilution 1:100
PCR reaction kit EURx E0411-03
Penicillin/Streptomycin 10K/10K Lonza DE17-602E
Phosphate Buffered Saline (PBS), 1x concentrated without Ca2+, Mg2+ Lonza BE17- 517Q
Retinoic acid Sigma- Aldrich R2625-50MG  dissolved in 99.8% ethanol; store in -20 °C up to 6 months
Secondary Antibody (Alexa Fluor 488) Thermo Fisher Scientific A11034 Dilution 1:500
Skim milk Sigma- Aldrich 1153630500
TBE Buffer Thermo Fisher Scientific B52
Triton-X 100 Sigma- Aldrich T8787-100ML
Trypsin 0.25% - EDTA in HBSS, without  Ca2+, Mg2+,with Phenol Red biosera LM-T1720/500
Cell Culture Plastics
1 mL Serological Pipettes Profilab 515.01
10 mL Serological Pipettes Profilab 515.10
100 mm dish dedicated for suspension culture Corning C351029
15 mL centrifuge tubes Sigma- Aldrich CLS430791-500EA
5 mL Serological Pipettes Profilab 515.05
6-well plate Corning CLS3516
Cell culture flasks, surface area 25 cm2 Sigma- Aldrich CLS430639-200EA

  1. Ramkumar, N., Anderson, K. V. SnapShot: mouse primitive streak. Cell. 146 (3), 488 (2011).
  2. Solnica-Krezel, L., Sepich, D. S. Gastrulation: making and shaping germ layers. Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology. 28, 687-717 (2012).
  3. Tam, P. P. L., Gad, J. M., Stern, C. D. Chapter 16: Gastrulation in the Mouse Embryo. Gastrulation: From Cells to Embryo. , 233-262 (2004).
  4. Sajini, A. A., Greder, L. V., Dutton, J. R., Slack, J. M. W. Loss of Oct4 expression during the development of murine embryoid bodies. Developmental Biology. 371 (2), 170-179 (2012).
  5. ten Berge, D., et al. Wnt Signaling Mediates Self-Organization and Axis Formation in Embryoid Bodies. Cell Stem Cell. 3 (5), 508-518 (2008).
  6. Bain, G., Ray, W. J., Yao, M., Gottlieb, D. I. From embryonal carcinoma cells to neurons: the P19 pathway. Bioessays. 16 (5), 343-348 (1994).
  7. Lin, Y. T., et al. YAP regulates neuronal differentiation through Sonic hedgehog signaling pathway. Experimental Cell Research. 318 (15), 1877-1888 (2012).
  8. Neo, W. H., et al. MicroRNA miR-124 controls the choice between neuronal and astrocyte differentiation by fine-tuning Ezh2 expression. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 289 (30), 20788-20801 (2014).
  9. Jones-Villeneuve, E., McBurney, M. W., Rogers, K. A., Kalnins, V. I. Retinoic acid induces embryonal carcinoma cells to differentiate into neurons and glial cells. The Journal of Cell Biology. 94 (2), 253-262 (1982).
  10. McBurney, M. W., Rogers, B. J. Isolation of male embryonal carcinoma cells and their chromosome replication patterns. Developmental Biology. 89 (2), 503-508 (1982).
  11. Jones-Villeneuve, E., Rudnicki, M. A., Harris, J. F., McBurney, M. Retinoic acid-induced neural differentiation of embryonal carcinoma cells. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 3 (12), 2271-2279 (1983).
  12. Jasmin, D. C., Spray, A. C., Campos de Carvalho, R., Mendez-Otero, Chemical induction of cardiac differentiation in P19 embryonal carcinoma stem cells. Stem Cells and Development. 19 (3), 403-412 (2010).
  13. Solari, M., Paquin, J., Ducharme, P., Boily, M. P19 neuronal differentiation and retinoic acid metabolism as criteria to investigate atrazine, nitrite, and nitrate developmental toxicity. Toxicological Sciences. 113 (1), 116-126 (2010).
  14. Babuska, V., et al. Characterization of P19 cells during retinoic acid induced differentiation. Prague Medical Report. 111 (4), 289-299 (2010).
  15. Monzo, H. J., et al. A method for generating high-yield enriched neuronal cultures from P19 embryonal carcinoma cells. Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 204 (1), 87-103 (2012).
  16. Popova, D., Karlsson, J., Jacobsson, S. O. P. Comparison of neurons derived from mouse P19, rat PC12 and human SH-SY5Y cells in the assessment of chemical- and toxin-induced neurotoxicity. BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology. 18 (1), 42 (2017).
  17. Woodgate, A., MacGibbon, G., Walton, M., Dragunow, M. The toxicity of 6-hydroxydopamine on PC12 and P19 cells. Molecular Brain Research. 69 (1), 84-92 (1999).
  18. Tsukane, M., Yamauchi, T. Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II mediates apoptosis of P19 cells expressing human tau during neural differentiation with retinoic acid treatment. Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry. 24 (2), 365-371 (2009).
  19. Adler, S., Pellizzer, C., Paparella, M., Hartung, T., Bremer, S. The effects of solvents on embryonic stem cell differentiation. Toxicology in Vitro. 20 (3), 265-271 (2006).
  20. Jones-Villeneuve, E. M., McBurney, M. W., Rogers, K. A., Kalnins, V. I. Retinoic acid induces embryonal carcinoma cells to differentiate into neurons and glial cells. The Journal of Cell Biology. 94 (2), 253-262 (1982).
  21. Roy, B., Taneja, R., Chambon, P. Synergistic activation of retinoic acid (RA)-responsive genes and induction of embryonal carcinoma cell differentiation by an RA receptor alpha (RAR alpha)-, RAR beta-, or RAR gamma-selective ligand in combination with a retinoid X receptor-specific ligand. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 15 (12), 6481-6487 (1995).
  22. Hamada-Kanazawa, M., et al. Sox6 overexpression causes cellular aggregation and the neuronal differentiation of P19 embryonic carcinoma cells in the absence of retinoic acid. FEBS Letters. 560 (1-3), 192-198 (2004).
  23. Tangsaengvit, N., Kitphati, W., Tadtong, S., Bunyapraphatsara, N., Nukoolkarn, V. Neurite Outgrowth and Neuroprotective Effects of Quercetin from Caesalpinia mimosoides Lamk on Cultured P19-Derived Neurons. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative. , 838051 (2013).
  24. Magnuson, D. S., Morassutti, D. J., McBurney, M. W., Marshall, K. C. Neurons derived from P19 embryonal carcinoma cells develop responses to excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters. Developmental Brain Research. 90 (1-2), 141-150 (1995).
  25. MacPherson, P., Jones, S., Pawson, P., Marshall, K., McBurney, M. P19 cells differentiate into glutamatergic and glutamate-responsive neurons in vitro. Neuroscience. 80 (2), 487-499 (1997).
  26. Hong, S., et al. Methyltransferase-inhibition interferes with neuronal differentiation of P19 embryonal carcinoma cells. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 377 (3), 935-940 (2008).
  27. Wenzel, M., et al. Identification of a classic nuclear localization signal at the N terminus that regulates the subcellular localization of Rbfox2 isoforms during differentiation of NMuMG and P19 cells. FEBS Letters. 590 (24), 4453-4460 (2016).
  28. Harada, Y., et al. Overexpression of Cathepsin E Interferes with Neuronal Differentiation of P19 Embryonal Teratocarcinoma Cells by Degradation of N-cadherin. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology. 37 (3), 437-443 (2017).
  29. Morassutti, D. J., Staines, W. A., Magnuson, D. S., Marshall, K. C., McBurney, M. W. Murine embryonal carcinoma-derived neurons survive and mature following transplantation into adult rat striatum. Neuroscience. 58 (4), 753-763 (1994).
  30. Magnuson, D. S., Morassutti, D. J., Staines, W. A., McBurney, M. W., Marshall, K. C. In vivo electrophysiological maturation of neurons derived from a multipotent precursor (embryonal carcinoma) cell line. Developmental Brain Research. 84 (1), 130-141 (1995).

This article has been published

Video Coming Soon

JoVE Logo


Terms of Use





Copyright © 2024 MyJoVE Corporation. All rights reserved