Electromagnetic fields mediate efficient cell reprogramming into a pluripotent state

ACS Nano. 2014 Oct 28;8(10):10125-38. doi: 10.1021/nn502923s. Epub 2014 Oct 1.


Life on Earth is constantly exposed to natural electromagnetic fields (EMFs), and it is generally accepted that EMFs may exert a variety of effects on biological systems. Particularly, extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (EL-EMFs) affect biological processes such as cell development and differentiation; however, the fundamental mechanisms by which EMFs influence these processes remain unclear. Here we show that EMF exposure induces epigenetic changes that promote efficient somatic cell reprogramming to pluripotency. These epigenetic changes resulted from EMF-induced activation of the histone lysine methyltransferase Mll2. Remarkably, an EMF-free system that eliminates Earth's naturally occurring magnetic field abrogates these epigenetic changes, resulting in a failure to undergo reprogramming. Therefore, our results reveal that EMF directly regulates dynamic epigenetic changes through Mll2, providing an efficient tool for epigenetic reprogramming including the acquisition of pluripotency.

Keywords: cell reprogramming; electromagnetic fields; epigenetic changes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cellular Reprogramming*
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction