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Cell Stem Cell. 2010 Jun 4;6(6):547-56. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2010.04.013.

ESCs require PRC2 to direct the successful reprogramming of differentiated cells toward pluripotency.

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MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK.


Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are pluripotent, self-renewing, and have the ability to reprogram differentiated cell types to pluripotency upon cellular fusion. Polycomb-group (PcG) proteins are important for restraining the inappropriate expression of lineage-specifying factors in ESCs. To investigate whether PcG proteins are required for establishing, rather than maintaining, the pluripotent state, we compared the ability of wild-type, PRC1-, and PRC2-depleted ESCs to reprogram human lymphocytes. We show that ESCs lacking either PRC1 or PRC2 are unable to successfully reprogram B cells toward pluripotency. This defect is a direct consequence of the lack of PcG activity because it could be efficiently rescued by reconstituting PRC2 activity in PRC2-deficient ESCs. Surprisingly, the failure of PRC2-deficient ESCs to reprogram somatic cells is functionally dominant, demonstrating a critical requirement for PcG proteins in the chromatin-remodeling events required for the direct conversion of differentiated cells toward pluripotency.

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