Researchers in Japan and the US report that four factors, Oct3/4, Sox2, c-Myc, and Klf4, can transform adult human skin cells into cells that resemble embryonic stem cells. The converted cells have many of the physical, growth, and genetic features typically found in embryonic stem cells and can differentiate to produce other tissue types, including neurons and heart tissue, the researchers report.
The findings were reported in the current issue of the journal Cell.
Last year, the research team used an identical chemical cocktail to produce induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from adult mouse cells. Because human embryonic stem cells differ from those in mice, the differences led the researchers to suspect that other factors might be required to generate human iPS cells.
The new research shows that the same four factors can generate iPS cells from fibroblasts taken from human skin. The iPS cells were indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells in terms of their appearance and behavior in cell culture, the rsearchers found. They also express genetic markers that are used by scientists to identify embryonic stem cells.
The researchers represent Kyoto University, Japan, the Japan Science and Technology Agency, the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, San Francisco, Calif.
Release Date: November 20, 2007
Filed Under: Genomics/Proteomics