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Inducing multipotent progenitor cells from keratinocytes by depleting the tumor protein p63 (TP63; p63) ΔNp63 isoform or DGCR8 microprocessor complex subunit (DGCR8)

In vitro studies suggest depleting ΔNp63 or DGCR8 in keratinocytes could induce their conversion into multipotent stem cells. In mouse or human epidermal cells, shRNA against or knockout of ΔNp63 and DGCR8 increased expression of pluripotency markers compared with control shRNA or no alteration and allowed differentiation into multiple cell types. Restoring DGCR8 expression repressed expression of pluripotency markers. In mice, injection of green fluorescent protein-labeled ΔNp63 mutant epidermal cells into blastocyst-stage embryos led to their incorporation into differentiated tissues at levels similar to those for induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Next steps include using the strategy to differentiate cells for cell therapy.

SciBX 7(7); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.210
Published online Feb. 20, 2014

Patent application filed; available for licensing

Chakravarti, D. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online Jan. 21, 2014;
Contact: Elsa R. Flores, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas