Transflammation: How Innate Immune Activation and Free Radicals Drive Nuclear Reprogramming

Shu Meng, Palas Chanda, Rajarajan A. Thandavarayan, John P. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Significance: Yamanaka and colleagues galvanized the field of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine by their generation of induced pluripotent stem cells. Evidence is emerging that activation of innate immune signaling is critical for efficient reprogramming to pluripotency and for the nuclear reprogramming occurring in transdifferentiation. Recent Advances: We have shown that innate immune signaling triggers a global change in the expression of epigenetic modifiers to enhance DNA accessibility. In this state of epigenetic plasticity, overexpression of lineage determination factors, and/or environmental cues and paracrine factors, can induce pluripotency, or can direct transdifferentiation to another somatic cell lineage. Accumulating evidence reveals that innate immune activation triggers the generation of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species, and that these free radicals are required for nuclear reprogramming to pluripotency or for transdifferentiation. Critical Issues: We have discovered a limb of innate immune signaling that regulates DNA accessibility, in part, by the action of free radicals to induce post-translational modification of epigenetic modifiers. Future Directions: It is of scientific interest and clinical relevance to understand the mechanisms by which free radicals influence epigenetic plasticity, and how these mechanisms may be therapeutically modulated. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 00, 000-000.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-218
Number of pages14
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 10 2018


  • Induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Innate immunity
  • Nitric oxide
  • Nuclear reprogramming
  • Transflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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