Generation of induced nephron progenitor-like cells from human urine-derived cells

Wei Wei Gao, Jie Zheng, Wonjin Yun, Phil Jun Kang, Gyuman Park, Gwonhwa Song, In Yong Kim, Seungkwon You

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Regenerative medicine strategies employing nephron progenitor cells (NPCs) are a viable approach that is worthy of substantial consideration as a promising cell source for kidney diseases. However, the generation of induced nephron progenitor-like cells (iNPCs) from human somatic cells remains a major challenge. Here, we describe a novel method for generating NPCs from human urine-derived cells (UCs) that can undergo long-term expansion in a serum-free condition. Results: Here, we generated iNPCs from human urine-derived cells by forced expression of the transcription factors OCT4, SOX2, KLF4, c-MYC, and SLUG, followed by exposure to a cocktail of defined small molecules. These iNPCs resembled human embryonic stem cell-derived NPCs in terms of their morphology, biological characteristics, differentiation potential, and global gene expression and underwent a long-term expansion in serum-free conditions. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that human iNPCs can be readily generated and expanded, which will facilitate their broad applicability in a rapid, efficient, and patient-specific manner, particularly holding the potential as a transplantable cell source for patients with kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13449
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (MSIT) 2014M3A9D3034158, 2014M3A9D3034164, 2016R1C1B1011180, 2018R1C1B5040264, 2019R1A2C1004046, 2019R1F1A1044473, and 2019R1H1A1079839, and by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (R0005886). This work was also supported by the School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology for BK21 PLUS, Korea University, and STEMLAB, Inc.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Direct reprogramming
  • Kidney
  • Nephron progenitor cells
  • Transdifferentiation
  • Urine cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Generation of induced nephron progenitor-like cells from human urine-derived cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this