Avian-induced pluripotent stem cells derived using human reprogramming factors

Stem Cells Dev. 2012 Feb 10;21(3):394-403. doi: 10.1089/scd.2011.0499. Epub 2011 Nov 16.


Avian species are important model animals for developmental biology and disease research. However, unlike in mice, where clonal lines of pluripotent stem cells have enabled researchers to study mammalian gene function, clonal and highly proliferative pluripotent avian cell lines have been an elusive goal. Here we demonstrate the generation of avian induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), the first nonmammalian iPSCs, which were clonally isolated and propagated, important attributes not attained in embryo-sourced avian cells. This was accomplished using human pluripotency genes rather than avian genes, indicating that the process in which mammalian and nonmammalian cells are reprogrammed is a conserved process. Quail iPSCs (qiPSCs) were capable of forming all 3 germ layers in vitro and were directly differentiated in culture into astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neurons. Ultimately, qiPSCs were capable of generating live chimeric birds and incorporated into tissues from all 3 germ layers, extraembryonic tissues, and potentially the germline. These chimera competent qiPSCs and in vitro differentiated cells offer insight into the conserved nature of reprogramming and genetic tools that were only previously available in mammals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cellular Reprogramming*
  • Chick Embryo
  • Chimera
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism
  • Embryonic Development
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Genome, Human
  • Germ Layers / cytology
  • Germ Layers / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / genetics
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / metabolism
  • Oligodendroglia / cytology
  • Oligodendroglia / metabolism
  • Quail / genetics
  • Quail / metabolism*
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / genetics
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Transduction, Genetic


  • GKLF protein
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • POU5F1 protein, human
  • SOX2 protein, human
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors
  • Telomerase