Reprogramming roadmap reveals route to human induced trophoblast stem cells

Nature. 2020 Oct;586(7827):101-107. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2734-6. Epub 2020 Sep 16.


The reprogramming of human somatic cells to primed or naive induced pluripotent stem cells recapitulates the stages of early embryonic development1-6. The molecular mechanism that underpins these reprogramming processes remains largely unexplored, which impedes our understanding and limits rational improvements to reprogramming protocols. Here, to address these issues, we reconstruct molecular reprogramming trajectories of human dermal fibroblasts using single-cell transcriptomics. This revealed that reprogramming into primed and naive pluripotency follows diverging and distinct trajectories. Moreover, genome-wide analyses of accessible chromatin showed key changes in the regulatory elements of core pluripotency genes, and orchestrated global changes in chromatin accessibility over time. Integrated analysis of these datasets revealed a role for transcription factors associated with the trophectoderm lineage, and the existence of a subpopulation of cells that enter a trophectoderm-like state during reprogramming. Furthermore, this trophectoderm-like state could be captured, which enabled the derivation of induced trophoblast stem cells. Induced trophoblast stem cells are molecularly and functionally similar to trophoblast stem cells derived from human blastocysts or first-trimester placentas7. Our results provide a high-resolution roadmap for the transcription-factor-mediated reprogramming of human somatic cells, indicate a role for the trophectoderm-lineage-specific regulatory program during this process, and facilitate the direct reprogramming of somatic cells into induced trophoblast stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cellular Reprogramming / genetics*
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Ectoderm / cytology
  • Ectoderm / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Trophoblasts / cytology*
  • Trophoblasts / metabolism*


  • Chromatin