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

3 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


  • 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


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