Transient acquisition of pluripotency during somatic cell transdifferentiation with iPSC reprogramming factors

Itay Maza, Inbal Caspi, Asaf Zviran, Elad Chomsky, Yoach Rais, Sergey Viukov, Shay Geula, Jason D. Buenrostro, Leehee Weinberger, Vladislav Krupalnik, Suhair Hanna, Mirie Zerbib, James R. Dutton, William J. Greenleaf, Rada Massarwa, Noa Novershtern, Jacob H. Hanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Somatic cells can be transdifferentiated to other cell types without passing through a pluripotent state by ectopic expression of appropriate transcription factors. Recent reports have proposed an alternative transdifferentiation method in which fibroblasts are directly converted to various mature somatic cell types by brief expression of the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) reprogramming factors Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc (OSKM) followed by cell expansion in media that promote lineage differentiation. Here we test this method using genetic lineage tracing for expression of endogenous Nanog and Oct4 and for X chromosome reactivation, as these events mark acquisition of pluripotency. We show that the vast majority of reprogrammed cardiomyocytes or neural stem cells obtained from mouse fibroblasts by OSKM-induced 'transdifferentiation' pass through a transient pluripotent state, and that their derivation is molecularly coupled to iPSC formation mechanisms. Our findings underscore the importance of defining trajectories during cell reprogramming by various methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-774
Number of pages6
JournalNature biotechnology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 13 2015

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