Ectopic expression of CITED2 prior to reprogramming, promotes and homogenises the conversion of somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells
Cited2 plays crucial roles in mouse embryonic stem cells self-renewal, the initiation of the somatic reprogramming process into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and the suppression of cell senescence. Here, we investigated the potential of CITED2 expression in combination with the Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc factors for reprogramming of primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) at passage 2 and 4. The ectopic CITED2 expression in primary MEF prior to the onset of the reprogramming process, generated iPSC with less variability in the expression of endogenous pluripotency-related genes. In contrast, part of the MEF reprogrammed without ectopic expression of CITED2 at passage 4 originated partially reprogrammed iPSC or pre-iPSC. However, the overexpression of CITED2 in the pre-iPSC was insufficient to complete the reprogramming process into iPSC. These results indicated that ectopic CITED2 expression at the onset of the reprogramming process in combination with the reprogramming factors promotes a complete and homogeneous conversion of somatic cells into iPSC.