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Exp Cell Res. 2013 Dec 10;319(20):3190-200. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2013.09.014. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

An improved method for the derivation of high quality iPSCs in the absence of c-Myc.

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Stem Cell Research Laboratory, CHA Stem Cell Institute, CHA University, Seoul, South Korea; Department of Stem Cell Biology, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold tremendous potential for the development of new regenerative medicine therapies and the study of molecular mechanisms of pluripotency and development. However, reactivation of c-Myc, which results in tumor formation in chimeric mice, is a major roadblock in the translation of iPSCs into therapies. Although ectopic expression of c-Myc is not absolutely required for somatic reprogramming, in the absence of c-Myc, the overall efficiency of reprogramming is drastically reduced and the reprogramming time is increased. Subtle, abnormal epigenetic modifications in iPSCs derived in the absence of c-Myc have also been documented. Therefore, we developed a reprogramming method without c-Myc to generate high-quality iPSCs, a prerequisite to harnessing the full potential of iPSCs. In this study, we determined that serum replacement (SR)-based culture conditions dramatically increased the transcription factor-mediated reprogramming of mouse embryonic fibroblast cells (MEFs). The process was shortened to approximately 8 days when Oct4/Sox2/Klf4 (3F)-transduced MEFs were first cultured for 3 days under low serum conditions (LS protocol). The 3F-derived iPSCs that were generated by this method resembled mouse ES cells (mESCs) in morphology, gene expression, and in vitro differentiation. Finally, we observed that 3F-derived iPSC colonies were able to reach definite pluripotency in terms of molecular signatures when the catalytic function of c-Myc was tolerated. The 3F induction of pluripotency described here should facilitate the use of iPSCs and may also facilitate the mechanistic dissection of somatic reprogramming.


Induced pluripotent stem cells; Reprogramming kinetics; c-Myc

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