We report new functions of the cell-adhesion molecule E-cadherin in murine pluripotent cells. E-cadherin is highly expressed in mouse embryonic stem cells, and interference with E-cadherin causes differentiation. During cellular reprogramming of mouse fibroblasts by OCT4, SOX2, KLF4 and c-MYC, fully reprogrammed cells were exclusively observed in the E-cadherin-positive cell population and could not be obtained in the absence of E-cadherin. Moreover, reprogrammed cells could be established by viral E-cadherin in the absence of exogenous OCT4. Thus, reprogramming requires spatial cues that cross-talk with essential transcription factors. The cell-adhesion molecule E-cadherin has important functions in pluripotency and reprogramming.