Organotypic culture systems from disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) exhibit obvious advantages compared with immortalized cell lines and primary cell cultures, but implementation of iPSC-based high-throughput (HT) assays is still technically challenging. Here, we demonstrate the development and conduction of an organotypic HT Cl/I exchange assay using cystic fibrosis (CF) disease-specific iPSCs. The introduction of a halide-sensitive YFP variant enabled automated quantitative measurement of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) function in iPSC-derived intestinal epithelia. CFTR function was partially rescued by treatment with VX-770 and VX-809, and seamless gene correction of the p.Phe508del mutation resulted in full restoration of CFTR function. The identification of a series of validated primary hits that improve the function of p.Phe508del CFTR from a library of 42,500 chemical compounds demonstrates that the advantages of complex iPSC-derived culture systems for disease modeling can also be utilized for drug screening in a true HT format.

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Journal Stem Cell Reports
Merkert, S., Schubert, M, Olmer, R, Engels, L, Radetzki, S., Veltman, M., … Martin, U. (2019). High-Throughput Screening for Modulators of CFTR Activity Based on Genetically Engineered Cystic Fibrosis Disease-Specific iPSCs. Stem Cell Reports, 12(6), 1389–1403. doi:10.1016/j.stemcr.2019.04.014