Brief exposure to small molecules allows induction of mouse embryonic fibroblasts into neural crest-like precursors

Yuzo Takayama, Tamami Wakabayashi, Hiroko Kushige, Yutaka Saito, Yoichiro Shibuya, Shinsuke Shibata, Wado Akamatsu, Hideyuki Okano, Yasuyuki S. Kida

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

6 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we propose a novel method for inducing neuronal cells by briefly exposing them to small-molecule cocktails in a step-by-step manner. Global gene expression analysis with immunohistochemical staining and calcium flux assays reveal the generation of neurons from mouse embryonic fibroblasts. In addition, time-lapse imaging of neural precursor-specific enhancer expression and global gene expression analyses show that the neurons are generated by passing through a neural crest-like precursor stage. Consistent with these results, the neural crest-like cells are able to differentiate into neural crest lineage cells, such as sympathetic neurons, adipocytes, osteocytes, and smooth muscle cells. Therefore, these results indicate that brief exposure to chemical compounds could expand and induce a substantial multipotent cell population without viral transduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-602
Number of pages13
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 1



  • neural crest
  • peripheral neuron
  • small molecules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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