Stem Cell Surface Marker Expression Defines Late Stages of Reprogramming to Pluripotency in Human Fibroblasts.
Our current understanding of the induction of pluripotency by defined factors indicates that this process occurs in discrete stages characterized by specific alterations in the cellular transcriptome and epigenome. However, the final phase of the reprogramming process is incompletely understood. We sought to generate tools to characterize the transition to a fully reprogramed state. We used combinations of stem cell surface markers to isolate colonies emerging after transfection of human fibroblasts with reprogramming factors and then analyzed their expression of genes associated with pluripotency and early germ lineage specification. We found that expression of a subset of these genes, including the cell-cell adhesion molecule CDH3, characterized a late stage in the reprogramming process. Combined live-cell staining with the antibody GCTM-2 and anti-CDH3 during reprogramming identified colonies of cells that showed gene expression patterns very similar to those of embryonic stem cell or established induced pluripotent stem cell lines, and gave rise to stable induced pluripotent stem cell lines at high frequency. Our findings will facilitate studies of the final stages of reprogramming of human cells to pluripotency and will provide a simple means for prospective identification of fully reprogrammed cells.Reprogramming of differentiated cells back to an embryonic pluripotent state has wide ranging applications in understanding and treating human disease. However, how cells traverse the barriers on the journey to pluripotency still is not fully understood. This report describes tools to study the late stages of cellular reprogramming. The findings enable a more precise approach to dissecting the final phases of conversion to pluripotency, a process that is particularly poorly defined. The results of this study also provide a simple new method for the selection of fully reprogrammed cells, which could enhance the efficiency of derivation of cell lines for research and therapy.
Pomeroy, JE; Hough, SR; Davidson, KC; Quaas, AM; Rees, JA; Pera, MF
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