Epigenetic resetting of human pluripotency

Ge Guo, Ferdinand von Meyenn, Maria Rostovskaya, James Clarke, Sabine Dietmann, Duncan Baker, Anna Sahakyan, Samuel Myers, Paul Bertone, Wolf Reik, Kathrin Plath, Austin Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


Much attention has focussed on the conversion of human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) to a more naïve developmental status. Here we provide a method for resetting via transient histone deacetylase inhibition. The protocol is effective across multiple PSC lines and can proceed without karyotype change. Reset cells can be expanded without feeders with a doubling time of around 24 h. WNT inhibition stabilises the resetting process. The transcriptome of reset cells diverges markedly from that of primed PSCs and shares features with human inner cell mass (ICM). Reset cells activate expression of primate-specific transposable elements. DNA methylation is globally reduced to a level equivalent to that in the ICM and is non-random, with gain of methylation at specific loci. Methylation imprints are mostly lost, however. Reset cells can be re-primed to undergo tri-lineage differentiation and germline specification. In female reset cells, appearance of biallelic X-linked gene transcription indicates reactivation of the silenced X chromosome. On reconversion to primed status, XIST-induced silencing restores monoallelic gene expression. The facile and robust conversion routine with accompanying data resources will enable widespread utilisation, interrogation, and refinement of candidate naïve cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2748-2763
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Differentiation
  • Human embryo
  • Methylome
  • Pluripotent stem cells
  • Reprogramming


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