Table of Contents
ISRN Cell Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 685852, 8 pages
Review Article

Apoptosis: Reprogramming and the Fate of Mature Cells

Section on Clinical and Developmental Genomics, The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

Received 9 January 2012; Accepted 14 February 2012

Academic Editors: D. Arnoult and R. Poon

Copyright © 2012 Hoi-Hung Cheung et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Apoptosis is essential for embryogenesis, organ metamorphosis, and tissue homeostasis. In embryonic stem cells, self-renewal is balanced with proliferative potential, inhibition of differentiation, and prevention of senescence and apoptosis. Growing evidence supports the role of apoptosis in self-renewal, differentiation of pluripotent stem cells, and dedifferentiation (reprogramming) of somatic cells. In this paper we discuss the multiple roles of apoptosis in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and reprogramming of differentiated cells to pluripotency. The role of caspases and p53 as key effectors in controlling the generation of iPSC is emphasized. Remarkably, the complication of apoptosis arising during reprogramming may provide insights into technical improvements for derivation of iPSC from senescent cells as a tool for modeling aging-related diseases.