Generation of pluripotent stem cells without the use of genetic material

Akon Higuchi, Qing Dong Ling, S. Suresh Kumar, Murugan A. Munusamy, Abdullah A. Alarfaj, Yung Chang, Shih Hsuan Kao, Ke Chen Lin, Han Chow Wang, Akihiro Umezawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provide a platform to obtain patient-specific cells for use as a cell source in regenerative medicine. Although iPSCs do not have the ethical concerns of embryonic stem cells, iPSCs have not been widely used in clinical applications, as they are generated by gene transduction. Recently, iPSCs have been generated without the use of genetic material. For example, protein-induced PSCs and chemically induced PSCs have been generated by the use of small and large (protein) molecules. Several epigenetic characteristics are important for cell differentiation; therefore, several small-molecule inhibitors of epigenetic-modifying enzymes, such as DNA methyltransferases, histone deacetylases, histone methyltransferases, and histone demethylases, are potential candidates for the reprogramming of somatic cells into iPSCs. In this review, we discuss what types of small chemical or large (protein) molecules could be used to replace the viral transduction of genes and/or genetic reprogramming to obtain human iPSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-42
Number of pages17
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 31 Jan 2015


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