Cell research

GATA family members as inducers for cellular reprogramming to pluripotency.

PMID 25591928


Members of the GATA protein family play important roles in lineage specification and transdifferentiation. Previous reports show that some members of the GATA protein family can also induce pluripotency in somatic cells by substituting for Oct4, a key pluripotency-associated factor. However, the mechanism linking lineage-specifying cues and the activation of pluripotency remains elusive. Here, we report that all GATA family members can substitute for Oct4 to induce pluripotency. We found that all members of the GATA family could inhibit the overrepresented ectodermal-lineage genes, which is consistent with previous reports indicating that a balance of different lineage-specifying forces is important for the restoration of pluripotency. A conserved zinc-finger DNA-binding domain in the C-terminus is critical for the GATA family to induce pluripotency. Using RNA-seq and ChIP-seq, we determined that the pluripotency-related gene Sall4 is a direct target of GATA family members during reprogramming and serves as a bridge linking the lineage-specifying GATA family to the pluripotency circuit. Thus, the GATA family is the first protein family of which all members can function as inducers of the reprogramming process and can substitute for Oct4. Our results suggest that the role of GATA family in reprogramming has been underestimated and that the GATA family may serve as an important mediator of cell fate conversion.