Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Genet. 2013 Jan;45(1):34-42. doi: 10.1038/ng.2491. Epub 2012 Dec 2.

H3K9 methylation is a barrier during somatic cell reprogramming into iPSCs.

Author information

Key Laboratory of Regenerative Biology, South China Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China.


The induction of pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by defined factors is poorly understood stepwise. Here, we show that histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methylation is the primary epigenetic determinant for the intermediate pre-iPSC state, and its removal leads to fully reprogrammed iPSCs. We generated a panel of stable pre-iPSCs that exhibit pluripotent properties but do not activate the core pluripotency network, although they remain sensitive to vitamin C for conversion into iPSCs. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) were subsequently identified in serum as critical signaling molecules in arresting reprogramming at the pre-iPSC state. Mechanistically, we identified H3K9 methyltransferases as downstream targets of BMPs and showed that they function with their corresponding demethylases as the on/off switch for the pre-iPSC fate by regulating H3K9 methylation status at the core pluripotency loci. Our results not only establish pre-iPSCs as an epigenetically stable signpost along the reprogramming road map, but they also provide mechanistic insights into the epigenetic reprogramming of cell fate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center