Reprogramming

FACTs behind control of cell fate

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Science  31 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6405, pp. 889-890
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6405.889-d

As animals develop, their cells become progressively less plastic and follow defined functional destinies. Kolundzic et al. used a genetic screen of the worm Caenorhabditis elegans to uncover proteins that prevent cells from straying from their intended fate. They found that the histone chaperone FACT plays a regulatory part in an unexpected way: It is nonrepressive and also promotes gene expression. FACT acts as a barrier to cell reprogramming by stabilizing gene expression and thereby safeguarding cell identity. A germline-specific isoform of FACT ensures that cells with intestinal and germline programming confirm their fate and do not adopt a neuronal role. Furthermore, depletion of FACT in human fibroblasts enhances production of induced pluripotent stem cells, indicating that a conserved mechanism is at work to channel cell fate in animals.

Dev. Cell 10.1016/j.devcel.2018.07.006 (2018).

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