Inhibition of transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling can substitute for Oct4 protein in reprogramming and maintain pluripotency.

Research paper by Fangzhi F Tan, Cheng C Qian, Ke K Tang, Saber Mohamed SM Abd-Allah, Naihe N Jing

Indexed on: 31 Dec '14Published on: 31 Dec '14Published in: Journal of Biological Chemistry


Mouse pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), such as ES cells and induced PSCs (iPSCs), are an excellent system to investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in early embryonic development. The signaling pathways orchestrated by leukemia inhibitor factor/STAT3, Wnt/β-catenin, and FGF/MEK/ERK play key roles in the generation of pluripotency. However, the function of TGF-β signaling in this process remains elusive. Here we show that inhibiting TGF-β signaling with its inhibitor SB431542 can substitute for Oct4 during reprogramming. Moreover, inhibiting TGF-β signaling can sustain the pluripotency of iPSCs and ES cells through modulating FGF/MEK/ERK signaling. Therefore, this study reveals a novel function of TGF-β signaling inhibition in the generation and maintenance of PSCs.