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Cell Stem Cell. 2009 Nov 6;5(5):554-66. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2009.10.004.

A robust and highly efficient immune cell reprogramming system.

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Center for Genomic Regulation and Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.


Here we describe a lineage reprogramming system consisting of a B cell line with an estradiol-inducible form of C/EBPalpha where cells can be converted into macrophage-like cells at 100% efficiency within 2 to 3 days. The reprogrammed cells are larger, contain altered organelle and cytoskeletal structures, are phagocytic, and exhibit an inflammatory response. Time-lapse experiments showed that the cells acquire a macrophage morphology and increased migratory activity as early as 10 hr. During induction, thousands of genes become up- or downregulated, including several dozen transcription and chromatin-remodeling factors. Time-limited exposure of cells to the inducer showed that the reprogrammed cells become transgene independent within 1 to 2 days. The reprogramming can be inhibited, at least partially, by perturbation experiments with B cell and macrophage transcription factors. The tightness, robustness, and speed of the system described make it a versatile tool to study biochemical and biological aspects of lineage reprogramming.

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