MYC function and efficient methods for hiPSC generation
Speaker: Dr Masato Nakagawa, Centre for iPS Cell Research & Application, Kyoto University
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, able to differentiate into all cell types in our bodies, raise great hopes for application in regenerative medicine. iPS cells can be established from ordinary skin cells with four transgenic factors delivered by a retroviral vector. These four factors - Sox2, Oct3/4, Klf4, and c-Myc - are all regulators of gene expression, and by expressing them in somatic cells, we can change the expression state of the cells, a process known as “reprogramming”. Before iPS cells can be used in clinical applications, the issues surrounding their safety must be resolved.
Research in mice has shown that the retrovirally delivered factor c-Myc can trigger tumour formation. Recent work from our lab has revealed that L-Myc, another member of the c-Myc family, can also be used in the establishment of iPS, with a gain in efficiency of 5 to 10 fold. In addition, the risk of tumorigenesis has not been shown for L-Myc derived iPS cells. The mechanisms by which L-Myc participates in iPS cell derivation, however, remain unclear, and further study will be needed. We collaborate broadly to define the full potential of iPS for cell therapy, drug discovery and toxicity studies.