Background and Objectives: Recent studies have described direct reprogramming of mouse and human somatic cells into induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) using various combinations of transcription factors. Although iNSC technology holds a great potential for clinical applications, the low conversion efficiency and limited reproducibility of iNSC generation hinder its further translation into the clinic, strongly suggesting the necessity of highly reproducible method for human iNSCs (hiNSCs). Thus, in orderto develop a highly efficient and reproducible protocol for hiNSC generation, we revisited the reprogramming potentials of previously reported hiNSC reprogramming cocktails by comparing the reprogramming efficiency of distinct factor combinations including ours.
Methods: We introduced distinct factor combinations, OSKM (OCT4+SOX2+KLF4+C-MYC), OCT4 alone, SOX2 alone, SOX2+HMGA2, BRN4+SKM+SV40LT (BSKMLT), SKLT, SMLT, and SKMLT and performed comparative analysis of reprogramming potentials of distinct factor combinations in hiNSC generation.
Results: Here we show that ectopic expression of five reprogramming factors, BSKMLT leads the robust hiNSC generation (>80 folds enhanced efficiency) from human somatic cells compared with previously described factor combinations. With our combination, we were able to observe hiNSC conversion within 7 days of transduction. Throughout further optimization steps, we found that both BRN4 and KLF4 are not essential for hiNSC conversion.
Conclusions: Our factor combination could robustly and reproducibly generate hiNSCs from human somatic cells with distinct origins. Therefore, our novel reprogramming strategy might serve as a useful tool for hiNSC-based clinical application.