AID in reprogramming: quick and efficient: identification of a key enzyme called AID, and its activity in DNA demethylation, may help to overcome a pivotal epigenetic barrier in reprogramming somatic cells toward pluripotency

Bioessays. 2010 May;32(5):385-7. doi: 10.1002/bies.201000014.


Current methods of reprogramming differentiated cells into induced pluripotent stem cells remain slow and inefficient. In a recent report published online in Nature, Bhutani et al.1 developed a cell fusion strategy, achieving quick and efficient reprogramming toward pluripotency. Using this assay, they identified an immune system protein called activation-induced cytidine deaminase, or AID, which unexpectedly is actually able to "aid" in reprogramming due to its involvement in DNA demethylation that is required for induction of the two key pluripotency genes, Oct4 and Nanog. More recently, Popp et al. 2 also reported online in Nature that AID is important for complete cell reprogramming in mammals. Together, these findings provide new insights into how cells are reprogrammed, identify the specific role of AID in cell fate reversal, and advance the field of regenerative medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cellular Reprogramming / genetics*
  • Cytidine Deaminase / genetics
  • Cytidine Deaminase / metabolism*
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism


  • AICDA (activation-induced cytidine deaminase)
  • Cytidine Deaminase