Brief Communications abstract

Nature Biotechnology 26, 795 - 797 (2008)
Published online: 22 June 2008 | doi:10.1038/nbt1418

Induction of pluripotent stem cells by defined factors is greatly improved by small-molecule compounds

Danwei Huangfu1, René Maehr1, Wenjun Guo2, Astrid Eijkelenboom1,3, Melinda Snitow1, Alice E Chen1 & Douglas A Melton1


Reprogramming of mouse and human somatic cells can be achieved by ectopic expression of transcription factors, but with low efficiencies. We report that DNA methyltransferase and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors improve reprogramming efficiency. In particular, valproic acid (VPA), an HDAC inhibitor, improves reprogramming efficiency by more than 100-fold, using Oct4-GFP as a reporter. VPA also enables efficient induction of pluripotent stem cells without introduction of the oncogene c-Myc.

  1. Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard University, 7 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
  2. Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.
  3. Biomedical Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Correspondence to: Douglas A Melton1 e-mail:


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