iPS cells

In this focus

Recently scientists found that a special property of stem cells called pluripotency — the ability to renew and form all cells of the body — can be induced by introducing only four transcription factors into adult cells. This process creates powerful stem cells similar to embryonic stem cells. Now scientists are working to make the technique more efficient and safe, and are creating induced pluripotent stem-cell lines from individuals with diseases for use in drug screening and research into disease mechanisms.

Image: Genetically corrected fibroblasts from Fanconi anaemia patients are reprogrammed to generate induced pluripotent stem cells, which, in turn, can be turned into blood cells. Courtesy of Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte.


Current Research

News Feature

Stem cells: Fast and furious

Monya Baker

Nature 458, 962–965 (2009) doi:10.1038/458962a


Proving pluripotency


Reprogramming of human somatic cells to pluripotency with defined factors

In-Hyun Park et al.

Nature 451, 141–146 (10 January 2008) doi:10.1038/nature06534


In vitro reprogramming of fibroblasts into a pluripotent ES-cell-like state

Marius Wernig et al.

Nature 448, 318–324 (19 July 2007) doi:10.1038/nature05944


Generation of germline-competent induced pluripotent stem cells

Keisuke Okita, Tomoko Ichisaka & Shinya Yamanaka

Nature 448, 313–317 (19 July 2007) doi:10.1038/nature05934


Safer iPS


Virus-free induction of pluripotency and subsequent excision of reprogramming factors

Keisuke Kaji et al.

Nature 458, 771–775 (9 April 2009) doi:10.1038/nature07864


piggyBac transposition reprograms fibroblasts to induced pluripotent stem cells

Knut Woltjen et al.

Nature 458, 766–770 (9 April 2009) doi:10.1038/nature07863

News and Views

Stem cells: Low-risk reprogramming

Martin F. Pera

Nature 458, 715–716 (9 April 2009) doi:10.1038/458715a


Pluripotent stem cells induced from adult neural stem cells by reprogramming with two factors

Jeong Beom Kim et al.

Nature 454, 646–650 (31 July 2008) doi:10.1038/nature07061


Making human disease cells


Disease-corrected haematopoietic progenitors from Fanconi anaemia induced pluripotent stem cells

´┐Żngel Raya et al.

Nature advance online publication 31 May (2009) doi:10.1038/nature08129


Induced pluripotent stem cells from a spinal muscular atrophy patient

Allison D. Ebert et al.

Nature 457, 277–280 (15 January 2009) doi:10.1038/nature07677


Reprogrammed skin cells provide testing ground for new drugs

Asher Mullard

Nature News 22 December (2008) doi:10.1038/news.2008.1323

News and Views

Motor neuron disease: The curious ways of ALS

Magdalini Polymenidou & Don W. Cleveland

Nature 454, 284–285 (17 July 2008) doi:10.1038/454284a




Nature Podcast 4 June 2009 Reprogramming diseased cells: Cells from Fanconi anaemia patients have their genetic defects corrected