Cardiac disease remains a major cause of death worldwide. Direct cardiac reprogramming has emerged as a promising approach for cardiac regenerative therapy. After the discovery of MyoD, a master regulator for skeletal muscle, other single cardiac reprogramming factors (master regulators) have been sought. Discovery of cardiac reprogramming factors was inspired by the finding that multiple, but not single, transcription factors were needed to generate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from fibroblasts. We first reported a combination of cardiac-specific transcription factors, Gata4, Mef2c, and Tbx5 (GMT), that could convert mouse fibroblasts into cardiomyocyte-like cells, which were designated as induced cardiomyocyte-like cells (iCMs). Following our first report of cardiac reprogramming, many researchers, including ourselves, demonstrated an improvement in cardiac reprogramming efficiency, in vivo direct cardiac reprogramming for heart regeneration, and cardiac reprogramming in human cells. However, cardiac reprogramming in human cells and adult fibroblasts remains inefficient, and further efforts are needed. We believe that future research elucidating epigenetic barriers and molecular mechanisms of direct cardiac reprogramming will improve the reprogramming efficiency, and that this new technology has great potential for clinical applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology