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Cell Prolif. 2008 Feb;41 Suppl 1:51-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2184.2008.00493.x.

Induction of pluripotent stem cells from mouse fibroblasts by four transcription factors.

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Department of Stem Cell Biology, Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


Pluripotent stem cells, such as embryonic stem cells (ESCs), proliferate rapidly while maintaining pluripotency, namely, the ability to differentiate into various types of cells. Embryonic stem cells are promising donor sources for cell transplantation therapies. However, human ESCs are also associated with ethical issues regarding the use of human embryos and rejection reactions after allogenic transplantation. It may be possible to overcome these issues by generating pluripotent stem cells directly from a patient's somatic cells. That somatic cell nuclei acquire an embryonic stem-like status by fusion with ESCs suggests the existence of 'pluripotency-inducing' factors. Previous studies have recently shown that retrovirus-mediated transfection with four transcription factors (Oct-3/4, Sox2, KLF4 and c-Myc), which are highly expressed in ESCs, into mouse fibroblasts has resulted in generation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. iPS cells are similar to ESCs in morphology, proliferation, and pluripotency, judged by teratoma formation and chimaera contribution. If iPS cells can be derived from human somatic cells, then such cells may thus lead to important drug discoveries and advances in regenerative medicine.

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