Dis Model Mech. 2023 Oct 30:dmm.050193. doi: 10.1242/dmm.050193. Online ahead of print.
Fluorescent reporter pluripotent stem cell (PSC) derived retinal organoids are powerful tools to investigate cell type-specific development and disease phenotypes. When combined with live imaging, they enable direct and repeated observation of cell behaviors within a developing retinal tissue. Here, we generated a human cone photoreceptor reporter line by CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing of WTC11-mTagRFPT-LMNB1 human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by inserting enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) coding sequences and a 2A self-cleaving peptide at the N-terminus of Guanine Nucleotide-Binding Protein Subunit Alpha Transducin 2 (GNAT2). In retinal organoids generated from these iPSCs, the GNAT2-EGFP alleles robustly and exclusively labeled both immature and mature cones. Episodic confocal live imaging of hydrogel immobilized retinal organoids allowed tracking of morphological maturation of individual cones for >18 weeks and revealed inner segment accumulation of mitochondria and growth at 12.2 cubic microns per day from day 126 to day 153. Immobilized GNAT2-EGFP cone reporter organoids provide a valuable tool for investigating human cone development and disease.