Scientists Create Monkey Stem Cells

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — The successful creation of the first induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell line from adult monkey skin may have important implications for direct reprogramming capabilities across different species.

Previous studies have shown that induction of four key transcription factors can reprogram adult mouse and human skin cells into iPS cells. Until now, iPS cell creation had not been demonstrated in any other species.

Researchers at Peking University in Beijing, China retrofit viruses to express the four key factors to infect adult monkey skin cells. This technique led to the creation of cells that displayed multiple hallmarks of embryonic stem cells. These cells possessed the ability to develop into multiple types of differentiated cells.

These findings could potentially be useful for the creation of clinically valuable primate models for human disease. The direct reprogramming model may also be a universal strategy for generating iPS cells in other species.

SOURCE: Cell Stem Cell, 2008;3:587-590