A decade of transcription factor-mediated reprogramming to pluripotency

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2016 Mar;17(3):183-93. doi: 10.1038/nrm.2016.8. Epub 2016 Feb 17.


The past 10 years have seen great advances in our ability to manipulate cell fate, including the induction of pluripotency in vitro to generate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). This process proved to be remarkably simple from a technical perspective, only needing the host cell and a defined cocktail of transcription factors, with four factors - octamer-binding protein 3/4 (OCT3/4), SOX2, Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) and MYC (collectively referred to as OSKM) - initially used. The mechanisms underlying transcription factor-mediated reprogramming are still poorly understood; however, several mechanistic insights have recently been obtained. Recent years have also brought significant progress in increasing the efficiency of this technique, making it more amenable to applications in the fields of regenerative medicine, disease modelling and drug discovery.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cellular Reprogramming Techniques / history
  • Cellular Reprogramming Techniques / methods*
  • Cellular Reprogramming*
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Kruppel-Like Factor 4
  • Transcription Factors* / biosynthesis
  • Transcription Factors* / genetics


  • KLF4 protein, human
  • Kruppel-Like Factor 4
  • Transcription Factors