Rationale and methodology of reprogramming for generation of induced pluripotent stem cells and induced neural progenitor cells

Zuojun Tian, Fuzheng Guo, Sangita Biswas, Wenbin Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Great progress has been made regarding the capabilities to modify somatic cell fate ever since the technology for generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) was discovered in 2006. Later, induced neural progenitor cells (iNPCs) were generated from mouse and human cells, bypassing some of the concerns and risks of using iPSCs in neuroscience applications. To overcome the limitation of viral vector induced reprogramming, bioactive small molecules (SM) have been explored to enhance the efficiency of reprogramming or even replace transcription factors (TFs), making the reprogrammed cells more amenable to clinical application. The chemical induced reprogramming process is a simple process from a technical perspective, but the choice of SM at each step is vital during the procedure. The mechanisms underlying cell transdifferentiation are still poorly understood, although, several experimental data and insights have indicated the rationale of cell reprogramming. The process begins with the forced expression of specific TFs or activation/inhibition of cell signaling pathways by bioactive chemicals in defined culture condition, which initiates the further reactivation of endogenous gene program and an optimal stoichiometric expression of the endogenous pluri- or multi-potency genes, and finally leads to the birth of reprogrammed cells such as iPSCs and iNPCs. In this review, we first outline the rationale and discuss the methodology of iPSCs and iNPCs in a stepwise manner; and then we also discuss the chemical-based reprogramming of iPSCs and iNPCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number594
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 20 2016


  • Dedifferentiation
  • Induced neural progenitor cell
  • Induced pluripotent stem cell
  • Reprogramming
  • Transdifferentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications


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