Buecker C, Chen HH, Polo JM, Daheron L, Bu L, Barakat TS, Okwieka P, Porter A, Gribnau J, Hochedlinger K, Geijsen N
Murine pluripotent stem cells can exist in two functionally distinct states, LIF-dependent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and bFGF-dependent epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs). However, human pluripotent cells so far seemed to assume only an epiblast-like state. Here we demonstrate that human iPSC reprogramming in the presence of LIF yields human stem cells that display morphological, molecular, and functional properties of murine ESCs. We termed these hLR5 iPSCs because they require the expression of five ectopic reprogramming factors, Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, cMyc, and Nanog, to maintain this more naive state. The cells are "metastable" and upon ectopic factor withdrawal they revert to standard human iPSCs. Finally, we demonstrate that the hLR5 state facilitates gene targeting, and as such provides a powerful tool for the generation of recombinant human pluripotent stem cell lines.