Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are somatic cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state. Mouse iPSCs were first reported in 2006 and human iPSCs were produced late in 2007, each from a series of experiments by Shinya Yamanaka’s group at Kyoto University and James Thomson’s group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Both mouse and human iPSCs exhibit important pluripotent stem cell characteristics, including the ability to differentiate into cells for all three germ layers. While iPSCs meet certain criteria for pluripotent stem cells, a lot of current research is focused on how iPSCs and embryonic stem cells vary.

Key antibodies for iPSC generation and characterization

Thermo Scientific™ Pierce™ iPS Antibodies for Stem Cell Research


Traditional methods of generating iPS cells have been limited by low efficiency and heterogeneity. Additional factors have been shown to increase traditional reprogramming efficiency and have also been successfully used to replace one or more of Yamanaka and Thomson’s original reprogramming genes. A number of quality Thermo Scientific™ Pierce™ antibodies to these new iPS drivers and other early development markers are available, all validated for use in applications such as western blotting, immunofluorescence (ICC/IF), immunohistochemistry (IHC), flow cytometry (flow and FACS), and immunoprecipitation (IP).

Detection and assessment of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)

Six core stem cell markers are used both to reprogram and identify induced pluripotent stem cells, and additional stem cell markers are used to provide further confirmation, characterization, and cell sorting capabilities of truly pluripotent cells amongst cell populations with a varying degree of differentiation.

The SSEA and TRA1 family of markers are expressed on the surface of murine or human embryonic stem cells and iPSCs, with changing expression levels as cells differentiate. SSEA1 is expressed on murine embryonic stem cells and lost upon differentiation. In human cells, SSEA1 is not found on undifferentiated ES cells, but is expressed upon differentiation. TRA1-60, TRA-1-81, SSEA3, SSEA4 and SSEA5 are lipids/glycans that are specifically expressed in human early embryonic development and iPSCs, and lost with differentiation.


For more information on markers to specific lineage and cell types, see NIH’s resource for stem cell markers.

Featured targets for generating iPSCs: SSEA1, SSEA3, SSEA4, SSEA5, TRAL-60, CD117 (K45), CD34 (QBEnd-10)GATA3, PRDM14, SOX1GLIS1, REX1

Featured targets for characterizing iPSCs: c-Myc, Oct-4, SOX2, KLF4, NANOG, LIN28, SSEA1, SSEA3, SSEA4, SSEA5, TRAL-60, TRA1-81


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