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Keywords:

  • Induced pluripotent stem cells;
  • Reprogramming;
  • Pluripotency;
  • Experimental models

Abstract

Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a rare congenital disorder characterized by progressive ossification of soft tissues. FOP is caused by mutations in activin receptor-like kinase 2 (ALK2) that cause its constitutive activation and result in dysregulation of BMP signaling. Here, we show that generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from FOP-derived skin fibroblasts is repressed because of incomplete reprogramming and inhibition of iPSC maintenance. This repression was mostly overcome by specific suppression of ALK2 expression and treatment with an ALK2 inhibitor, indicating that the inhibition of iPSC generation and maintenance observed in FOP-derived skin fibroblasts results from constitutive activation of ALK2. Using this system, we identified an ALK2 inhibitor as a potential candidate for future drug development. This study highlights the potential of the inhibited production and maintenance of iPSCs seen in diseases as a useful phenotype not only for studying the molecular mechanisms underlying iPS reprogramming but also for identifying drug candidates for future therapies. STEM CELLS2012; 30:2437–2449