Tankyrase inhibition promotes a stable human naïve pluripotent state with improved functionality

Ludovic Zimmerlin, Tea Soon Park, Jeffrey S. Huo, Karan Verma, Sarshan R. Pather, C. Conover Talbot, Jasmin Agarwal, Diana Steppan, Yang W. Zhang, Michael Considine, Hong Guo, Xiufeng Zhong, Christian Gutierrez, Leslie Cope, M. Valeria Canto-Soler, Alan D. Friedman, Stephen B. Baylin, Elias T. Zambidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The derivation and maintenance of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) in stable naïve pluripotent states has a wide impact in human developmental biology. However, hPSCs are unstable in classical naïve mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC) WNT and MEK/ERK signal inhibition (2i) culture.We show that a broad repertoire of conventional hESC and transgene-independent human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) lines could be reverted to stable human preimplantation inner cell mass (ICM)-like naïve states with onlyWNT, MEK/ERK, and tankyrase inhibition (LIF-3i). LIF-3i-reverted hPSCs retained normal karyotypes and genomic imprints, and attained defining mouse ESC-like functional features, including high clonal self-renewal, independence from MEK/ERK signaling, dependence on JAK/ STAT3 and BMP4 signaling, and naïve-specific transcriptional and epigenetic configurations. Tankyrase inhibition promoted a stable acquisition of a human preimplantation ICM-like ground state via modulation of WNT signaling, and was most efficacious in efficiently reprogrammed conventional hiPSCs. Importantly, naïve reversion of a broad repertoire of conventional hiPSCs reduced lineage-primed gene expression and significantly improved their multilineage differentiation capacities. Stable naïve hPSCs with reduced genetic variability and improved functional pluripotency will have great utility in regenerative medicine and human disease modeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4368-4380
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Differentiation
  • Ground state
  • Human embryonic stem cell
  • Induced pluripotent stem cell
  • Naïve pluripotency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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