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Fibroblasts can be reprogrammed to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by application of transcription factors octamer-binding protein 4 (Oct4), SRY-box containing gene 2 (Sox2), Kruppel-like factor 4 (Klf4), and c-Myelocytomatosis oncogene (c-Myc) (OSKM), but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we report that exogenous Oct4 and Sox2 can bind at the promoter regions of mir-141/200c and mir-200a/b/429 cluster, respectively, and induce the transcription activation of miR-200 family during the OSKM-induced reprogramming. Functional suppression of miR-200s with specific inhibitors significantly represses the OSKM-caused mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET, an early event in reprogramming of fibroblasts to iPSCs) and iPSC generation, whereas overexpression of miR-200s promotes the MET and iPSC generation. Mechanistic studies showed that miR-200s significantly repress the expression of zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 2 (ZEB2) through directly targeting its 3' UTR and direct inhibition of ZEB2 can mimic the effects of miR-200s on iPSC generation and MET process. Moreover, the effects of miR-200s during iPSC generation can be blocked by ZEB2 overexpression. Collectively, our findings not only reveal that members of the miR-200 family are unique mediators of the reprogramming factors Oct4/Sox2, but also demonstrate that the miR-200/ZEB2 pathway as one critical mechanism of Oct4/Sox2 to induce somatic cell reprogramming at the early stage.


Guiying Wang, Xudong Guo, Wujun Hong, Qidong Liu, Tingyi Wei, Chenqi Lu, Longfei Gao, Dan Ye, Yi Zhou, Jie Chen, Jianmin Wang, Minjuan Wu, Houqi Liu, Jiuhong Kang. Critical regulation of miR-200/ZEB2 pathway in Oct4/Sox2-induced mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition and induced pluripotent stem cell generation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2013 Feb 19;110(8):2858-63

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PMID: 23386720

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