Abstract

Since the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), numerous approaches have been explored to improve the original protocol, which is based on a two-dimensional (2D) cell-culture system. Surprisingly, nothing is known about the effect of a more biologically faithful 3D environment on somatic-cell reprogramming. Here, we report a systematic analysis of how reprogramming of somatic cells occurs within engineered 3D extracellular matrices. By modulating microenvironmental stiffness, degradability and biochemical composition, we have identified a previously unknown role for biophysical effectors in the promotion of iPSC generation. We find that the physical cell confinement imposed by the 3D microenvironment boosts reprogramming through an accelerated mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition and increased epigenetic remodelling. We conclude that 3D microenvironmental signals act synergistically with reprogramming transcription factors to increase somatic plasticity.

Find the full publication at Nature Materials…

Nat Mater. 2016 Mar;15(3):344-52

Caiazzo M, Okawa Y, Ranga A, Piersigilli A, Tabata Y, Lutolf MP.

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