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J Biol Chem. 2009 Feb 6;284(6):3365-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.R800063200. Epub 2008 Sep 26.

Regulation of pluripotency and reprogramming by transcription factors.

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  • Stem Cell and Cancer Biology Group, Laboratory of Regenerative Biology, South China Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510663, China. pei_duanqing@gibh.ac.cn


Living organisms, from virus to human, rely on the transcription machinery to express specific parts of their genomes to execute critical biological functions during their life cycle by responding to environmental or developmental signals. Thus, transcription constitutes a critical step in regulating biological processes, and transcription factors have been considered as master switches for cell fate determination. Stem cell biology has benefited from rapid advances in recent years, largely because of the characterization of several transcription factors as master regulators of stem cell pluripotency. The same factors, viz. Oct4, Sox2, Nanog, Klf4, and Myc, have been shown to possess the magic power to reprogram somatic cells into pluripotent ones, a remarkable achievement with both practical and theoretical implications. This minireview summarizes recent advances in pluripotency and reprogramming by focusing on key transcription factors and the likely mechanisms.

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