Changing the Leopard’s Spots
Holding back the “guardian of the genome” opens the gates to more efficient transdifferentiation
A new transdifferentiation protocol has yielded 60 percent dopaminergic neurons from human fibroblasts after 10 days. The conversion rate achieved by the researchers from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo, USA, is a substantial improvement on the five percent in 15–20 days attained via other methods.
Previous studies had found that attenuating the p53 pathway made it much easier to generate induced pluripotent stem cells. “This inspired us to find out whether knocking down p53 would have an effect on transdifferentiation,” says Jian Feng, lead author of the study. “And to our surprise, it did.”
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