Despite the profound and rapid advancements in reprogramming technologies since the generation of the first induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in 2006, the molecular basics of the process and its implications are still not fully understood. Recent work has suggested that a subset of TFs, so called "Pioneer TFs", play an important role during the stochastic phase of iPSC reprogramming [2-6]. Pioneer TFs activities differ from conventional transcription factors in their mechanism of action. They bind directly to condensed chromatin and elicit a series of chromatin remodeling events that lead to opening of the chromatin. Chromatin decondensation by pioneer factors progressively occurs during cell division and in turn exposes specific gene promoters in the DNA to which TFs can now directly bind to promoters that are readily accessible[2, 6]. Here, we will summarize recent advancements on our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying reprogramming to iPSC as well as the implications that pioneer Transcription Factor activities might play during different lineage conversion processes.
Keywords: Dedifferentiation; Development; Lineage conversion; Pioneer transcription factors; Reprogramming; iPSCs.
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