A recent study has suggested that fibroblasts can be converted into mouse-induced neural stem cells (miNSCs) through the expression of defined factors. However, successful generation of human iNSCs (hiNSCs) has proven challenging to achieve. Here, using microRNA (miRNA) expression profile analyses, we showed that let-7 microRNA has critical roles for the formation of PAX6/NESTIN-positive colonies from human adult fibroblasts and the proliferation and self-renewal of hiNSCs. HMGA2, a let-7-targeting gene, enables induction of hiNSCs that displayed morphological/molecular features and in vitro/in vivo differentiation potential similar to H9-derived NSCs. Interestingly, HMGA2 facilitated the efficient conversion of senescent somatic cells or blood CD34+ cells into hiNSCs through an interaction with SOX2, whereas other combinations or SOX2 alone showed a limited conversion ability. Taken together, these findings suggest that HMGA2/let-7 facilitates direct reprogramming toward hiNSCs in minimal conditions and maintains hiNSC self-renewal, providing a strategy for the clinical treatment of neurological diseases.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.