Stem Cell Engineering

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Research interests

Somatic cells can be reprogrammed to a pluripotent embryonic stem cell-like state (induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells) by combinations of the transcription factors OCT4, SOX2, NANOG, LIN28, KLF4 and cMYC (Takahashi et al., 2006, 2007, Cell, Yu et al., 2007, Science, Park et al., 2007, Nature). The initial studies were underdone inducing pluripotency in mouse and human fibroblasts. We were able to demonstrate, that mouse and human neural stem cells, that express SOX2, KLF4 and cMYC, can be reprogrammed to iPS cells by retroviral expression of OCT4 (Kim, Zaehres et al., 2008, 2009). Recently, we have comparatively evaluated the hematopoietic and erythroid as well as neural differentiation potential of human cord blood and neural stem cell derived iPS cells (Hargus et al., 2014, Dorn et al., 2015).

Patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells and their differentiation derivatives hold great promise as novel in vitro model systems to study human pathogenesis.
We are currently focusing to model neural and skeletal muscle diseases with human pluripotent stem cells. Muscular dystrophy patient-derived somatic cells are reprogrammed to pluripotency and subjected to muscle cell differentiation.

We further want to strengthen the collaborative teaching and research efforts of the Institute of Anatomy, Ruhr-University Bochum with Tongji-University Shanghai and Jinan University, Guangzhou, China, in the area of stem cell research within the iSTEM master program.


Selected publications

Dorn, I., Klich, K., Arauzo-Bravo, M.J., Radstaak, M., Santourlidis, S., Ghanjati, F., Radke, T., Psathaki, O.E., Hargus, G., Kramer, J., Einhaus, M., Kim, J.B., Kögler, G., Wernet, P., Schöler, H.R., Schlenke, P., Zaehres, H. (2015) Erythroid differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells is independent of donor cell type of origin. Haematologica 100, 32-41

Hargus, G., Ehrlich, M., Arauzo-Bravo, M.J., Hemmer, K., Hallman, A.L., Reinhardt, P., Kim, K.P., Adachi, K., Santourlidis, S., Ghanjati, F., Fauser, M., Ossig, C., Storch, A., Kim, J.B., Schwamborn, J.C., Sterneckert, J., Schöler, H.R., Kuhlmann, T., Zaehres, H. (2014) Origin dependent neural cell identities in differentiated human induced pluripotent stem cells in vitro and after transplantation into the rodent brain. Cell Reports 8, 1697-703

Han, D.W., Tapia., N., Hermann, A., Hemmer, K., Höing, S., Arauzo-Bravo, M.J., Zaehres, H., Wu, G., Frank, S., Moritz, S., Greber, B., Yang, J.H., Schwamborn, J., Storch, A., Schöler, H.R. (2012) Direct reprogramming of fibroblasts into neural stem cells by defined factors. Cell Stem Cell 10, 465-472

Kim, J.B., Greber, B., Arauzo-Bravo, M.J., Meyer, J., Park, K.I., Zaehres, H., Schöler, H.R. (2009) Direct reprogramming of human neural stem cells by OCT4. Nature 461, 649-653

Kim, J.B.*, Zaehres, H.*, Wu, G., Gentile, L., Ko, K., Sebastiano, V., Arauzo-Bravo, M.J., Ruau, D., Han, D.W., Zenke, M., Schöler, H.R. (2008) Pluripotent stem cells induced from adult neural stem cells by reprogramming with two factors. Nature 454, 646-650

Zaehres, H., Schöler, H.R. (2007) Induction of pluripotency: from mouse to human. Cell 131, 834-835

Zaehres, H., Lensch, M.W., Daheron, L., Stewart, S.A., Itskovitz-Eldor, J., Daley, G.Q. (2005) High-efficiency RNA interference in human embryonic stem cells. Stem Cells 23, 299-305

Links to publications



PD Dr. Holm Zähres

Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Institut für Anatomie
Abteilung für Anatomie und Molekulare Embryologie

Tel.:    +49 (0)234 32 25714
Fax:    +49 (0)234 32 14474