Direct reprogramming of fibroblasts into epiblast stem cells

Nat Cell Biol. 2011 Jan;13(1):66-71. doi: 10.1038/ncb2136. Epub 2010 Dec 5.


Epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs) derived from epiblast tissue of post-implantation embryos are pluripotent and can give rise to all three germ layers in teratoma assays. Introduction of the four transcription factors Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc into somatic cells has been shown to generate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that are very similar to embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in a number of characteristics. However, generation of EpiSCs by the direct reprogramming of somatic cells using these transcription factors has not been shown to date. Here, we show that these transcription factors can be used to directly generate induced EpiSCs (iEpiSCs) under EpiSC culture conditions. iEpiSCs resemble EpiSCs in morphology, gene expression pattern, epigenetic status and chimaera-forming capability. This study demonstrates that the culture environment in transcription factor-mediated reprogramming determines the cell fate of the reprogrammed cell. We therefore hypothesize that it will eventually be possible to shape the identity of a directly reprogrammed cell simply by modulating culture conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Germ Layers / cytology*
  • Germ Layers / metabolism
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / genetics
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / genetics
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Teratoma / genetics
  • Teratoma / metabolism
  • Teratoma / pathology
  • Transfection


  • GKLF protein
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Myc protein, mouse
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • Pou5f1 protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors
  • Sox2 protein, mouse
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE21516