MyoD gene suppression by Oct4 is required for reprogramming in myoblasts to produce induced pluripotent stem cells

Shuichi Watanabe, Hiroyuki Hirai, Yoko Asakura, Christopher Tastad, Mayank Verma, Charles Keller, James R. Dutton, Atsushi Asakura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Expression of the four transcription factors, that is, Oct4, Sox2, cMyc, and Klf4 has been shown to generate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from many types of specialized differentiated somatic cells. It remains unclear, however, whether fully committed skeletal muscle progenitor cells (myoblasts) have the potency to undergo reprogramming to develop iPSCs in line with previously reported cases. To test this, we have isolated genetically marked myoblasts derived from satellite cell of adult mouse muscles using the Cre-loxP system (Pax7-CreER:R26R and Myf5-Cre:R26R). On infection with retroviral vectors expressing the four factors, these myoblasts gave rise to myogenic lineage tracer lacZ-positive embryonic stem cell (ESC)-like colonies. These cells expressed ESC-specific genes and were competent to differentiate into all three germ layers and germ cells, indicating the successful generation of myoblast-derived iPSCs. Continuous expression of the MyoD gene, a master transcription factor for skeletal muscle specification, inhibited this reprogramming process in myoblasts. In contrast, reprogramming myoblasts isolated from mice lacking the MyoD gene led to an increase in reprogramming efficiency. Our data also indicated that Oct4 acts as a transcriptional suppressor of MyoD gene expression through its interaction with the upstream enhancer region. Taken together, these results indicate that suppression of MyoD gene expression by Oct4 is required for the initial reprogramming step in the development of iPSCs from myoblasts. This data suggests that the skeletal muscle system provides a well-defined differentiation model to further elaborate on the effects of iPSC reprogramming in somatic cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-516
Number of pages12
JournalStem Cells
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Induced pluripotent stem cell
  • MyoD
  • Myoblast
  • Oct4
  • Satellite cell
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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