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F1000Prime Rep. 2013 Sep 2;5:33. doi: 10.12703/P5-33.

Reshaping the brain: direct lineage conversion in the nervous system.

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Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology Sherman Fairchild Building 7 Divinity Avenue, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.


During embryonic development, cells in an uncommitted pluripotent state undergo progressive epigenetic changes that lock them into a final restrictive differentiated state. However, recent advances have shown that not only is it possible for a fully differentiated cell to revert back to a pluripotent state, a process called nuclear reprogramming, but also that differentiated cells can be directly converted from one class into another without generating progenitor intermediates, a process known as direct lineage conversion. In this review, we discuss recent progress made in direct lineage reprogramming of differentiated cells into neurons and discuss some of the therapeutic implications of the findings.

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