Direct reprogramming of somatic cells: an update

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Direct reprogramming of somatic cells: an update

Phuc Van Pham

Abstract

Direct epigenetic reprogramming is a technique that converts a differentiated adult cell into another differentiated cell—such fibroblasts to cardiomyocytes—without passage through an undifferentiated pluripotent stage. This novel technology is opening doors in biological research and regenerative medicine. Some preliminary studies about direct reprogramming started in the 1980s when differentiated adult cells could be converted into other differentiated cells by overexpressing transcription-factor genes. These studies also showed that differentiated cells have plasticity. Direct reprogramming can be a powerful tool in biological research and regenerative medicine, especially the new frontier of personalized medicine. This review aims to summarize all direct reprogramming studies of somatic cells by master control genes as well as potential applications of these techniques in research and treatment of selected human diseases.

Keywords

Direct reprogramming, Trans-differentiation; Induced pluripotent stem cells; Stem cell technology; Gene over-expression

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