Two teams reprogram skin cells for pluripotency

Two studies published today report that human somatic cells can be reprogrammed into a pluripotent state that resembles human embryonic stem cells. As reported in linkurl:Cell;http://images.cell.com/images/Edimages/Cell/IEPs/3661.pdf , Shinya Yamanaka's group from Kyoto University linkurl:reprogrammed;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/24307/ adult human skin cells with four transcription factors to make them display human embryonic stem cell pluripotency. linkurl:Last year;http://www.

By | November 20, 2007

Two studies published today report that human somatic cells can be reprogrammed into a pluripotent state that resembles human embryonic stem cells. As reported in linkurl:Cell;http://images.cell.com/images/Edimages/Cell/IEPs/3661.pdf , Shinya Yamanaka's group from Kyoto University linkurl:reprogrammed;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/24307/ adult human skin cells with four transcription factors to make them display human embryonic stem cell pluripotency. linkurl:Last year;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=16904174&dopt=AbstractPlus this team of researchers showed that induced pluripotent stem cells can be generated from mouse embryonic and adult fibroblasts by the retrovirus-mediated transfection of four transcription factors: OCT3/4, SOX2, c-Myc, and Klf4. Using the same factors in humans, the cells could be subsequently differentiated into human cardiac cells and neural cells. The paper embargo was lifted early today because of an embargo break. In the second paper, appearing in linkurl:Science;http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2007/1120/1 , James Thomson's group at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, used a lentivirus and the four linkurl:transcription factors;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53404/ OCT4, SOX2, NANOG, and LIN28 to reprogram human skin cells into an undifferentiated, pluripotent state. This group did not differentiate their cells into specific cell types. A Wisconsin group is trying to linkurl:patent;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53677/ these findings, Thompson said today (November 20) on a teleconference ; they hold three other patents of Thomson's stem cell work. "These new results, while they don't eliminate the controversy [of human embryonic stem cell research], they are the beginning of the end of that controversy," Thomson said. "This does not mean it's the end of human stem cell research. Over time these new cells will be used by more and more labs, whereas embryonic stem cells will be used by fewer labs." Ian Wilmut, who cloned the sheep Dolly and pioneered somatic cell nuclear transfer, has said he will shift his research from cloning human embryos to reprogramming adult cells, The Scientist linkurl:reported;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53870/ yesterday. Douglas Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, said in a statement about the Cell paper that while these findings are big, using retroviruses is a real limitation. "Still, this is one more important step showing that this method is probably going to work." And there could be many other factors that induce pluripotency to more efficient levels, Junying Yu, lead author of the Science paper, said on the teleconference. Thomson added that these new cells will not eliminate the linkurl:general challenges;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53224/ of working with stem cells, but may prompt further use of primate linkurl:animal models;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/home/53306/ , now that the proof of concept has been shown in higher mammals.

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