iPSCs with just one factor

Several different labs have managed to streamline the production of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Originally, scientists inserted four different genes into cells to push them into the pluripotent state. However, by using a variety of new techniques and soaking cells in various chemicals, several labs have managed to lower the number of genes required to generate iPSCs.

Now Hans Schöler and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, Germany, have shown that neural cells, which already express high levels of three of the four standard pluripotency factors (SOX2, KLF4 and C-MYC), can be converted into iPSCs by transfection with only OCT4 (Kim, J. B. et al. Oct4-induced pluripotency in adult neural stem cells. Cell 136, 411–419 (2009)). This worked in mouse cells and the resulting iPSCs all passed every test of pluripotency.

Thus the production of iPSCs is getter easier and easier.


Published by


Professor of Biochemistry at Spring Arbor University (SAU) in Spring Arbor, MI. Have been at SAU since 1999. Author of The Stem Cell Epistles. Before that I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA (1997-1999), and Sussex University, Falmer, UK (1994-1997). I studied Cell and Developmental Biology at UC Irvine (PhD 1994), and Microbiology at UC Davis (MA 1986, BS 1984).