It is well-established that induced pluripotent stem cells may be generated by co-transfection of four genes: Oct3/4, Sox2, Kfl4 and c-Myc, into somatic adult cells resulting in re-programming of these cells to pluripotency equivalent to that of embryonic stem cells. It has recently been shown by independent research including results from our laboratory that over-expression of a single gene, Oct3/4 (POU5-F1), in adult neural or mesenchymal stem cells also results in enhanced differentiation capacity including pluripotency. This development simplifies iPS generation and may reflect levels of endogenous expression of Sox2, Kfl4 and c-Myc in adult stem cells that are multipotent.
Also, since the Oct3/4 promoter has well-known response elements and transcription control mechanisms, re-programming based on environmental cues is now feasible through use of small molecular agents that selectively activate expression of Oct3/4. Our human MSCs expressing Oct3/4 allow further investigation of iPSC mechanisms.
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