Induced pluripotent stem cell – Wikipedia, the free …

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May 30 2015

Induced pluripotent stem cells (also known as iPS cells or iPSCs) are a type of pluripotent stem cell that can be generated directly from adult cells. The iPSC technology was pioneered by Shinya Yamanakas lab in Kyoto, Japan, who showed in 2006 that the introduction of four specific genes encoding transcription factors could convert adult cells into pluripotent stem cells.[1] He was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize along with Sir John Gurdon "for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent." [2]

Pluripotent stem cells hold great promise in the field of regenerative medicine. Because they can propagate indefinitely, as well as give rise to every other cell type in the body (such as neurons, heart, pancreatic, and liver cells), they represent a single source of cells that could be used to replace those lost to damage or disease.

The most well-known type of pluripotent stem cell is the embryonic stem cell. However, since the generation of embryonic stem cells involves destruction (or at least manipulation) [3] of the pre-implantation stage embryo, there has been much controversy surrounding their use. Further, because embryonic stem cells can only be derived from embryos, it has so far not been feasible to create patient-matched embryonic stem cell lines.

Since iPSCs can be derived directly from adult tissues, they not only bypass the need for embryos, but can be made in a patient-matched manner, which means that each individual could have their own pluripotent stem cell line. These unlimited supplies of autologous cells could be used to generate transplants without the risk of immune rejection. While the iPSC technology has not yet advanced to a stage where therapeutic transplants have been deemed safe, iPSCs are readily being used in personalized drug discovery efforts and understanding the patient-specific basis of disease.[citation needed]

Depending on the methods used, reprogramming of adult cells to obtain iPSCs may pose significant risks that could limit their use in humans. For example, if viruses are used to genomically alter the cells, the expression of cancer-causing genes "oncogenes" may potentially be triggered. In February 2008, scientists announced the discovery of a technique that could remove oncogenes after the induction of pluripotency, thereby increasing the potential use of iPS cells in human diseases.[4] In April 2009, it was demonstrated that generation of iPS cells is possible without any genetic alteration of the adult cell: a repeated treatment of the cells with certain proteins channeled into the cells via poly-arginine anchors was sufficient to induce pluripotency.[5] The acronym given for those iPSCs is piPSCs (protein-induced pluripotent stem cells).

iPSCs are typically derived by introducing a specific set of pluripotency-associated genes, or reprogramming factors, into a given cell type. The original set of reprogramming factors (also dubbed Yamanaka factors) are the genes Oct4 (Pou5f1), Sox2, cMyc, and Klf4. While this combination is most conventional in producing iPSCs, each of the factors can be functionally replaced by related transcription factors, miRNAs, small molecules, or even non-related genes such as lineage specifiers.

iPSC derivation is typically a slow and inefficient process, taking 12 weeks for mouse cells and 34 weeks for human cells, with efficiencies around 0.01%0.1%. However, considerable advances have been made in improving the efficiency and the time it takes to obtain iPSCs. Upon introduction of reprogramming factors, cells begin to form colonies that resemble pluripotent stem cells, which can be isolated based on their morphology, conditions that select for their growth, or through expression of surface markers or reporter genes.

Induced pluripotent stem cells were first generated by Shinya Yamanaka's team at Kyoto University, Japan, in 2006.[1] Their hypothesis was that genes important to embryonic stem cell function might be able to induce an embryonic state in adult cells. They began by choosing twenty-four genes that were previously identified as important in embryonic stem cells, and used retroviruses to deliver these genes to fibroblasts from mice. The mouse fibroblasts were engineered so that any cells that reactivated the ESC-specific gene, Fbx15, could be isolated using antibiotic selection.

Upon delivery of all twenty-four factors, colonies emerged that had reactivated the Fbx15 reporter, resembled ESCs, and could propagate indefinitely. They then narrowed their candidates by removing one factor at a time from the pool of twenty-four. By this process, they identified four factors, Oct4, Sox2, cMyc, and Klf4, which as a group were both necessary and sufficient to obtain ESC-like colonies under selection for reactivation of Fbx15.

Similar to ESCs, these first-generation iPSCs showed unlimited self-renewal and demonstrated pluripotency by contributing to lineages from all three germ layers in the context of embryoid bodies, teratomas, fetal chimeras. However, the molecular makeup of these cells, including gene expression and epigenetic marks, was somewhere between that of a fibroblast and an ESC, and the cells also failed to produce viable chimeras when injected into developing embryos.

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