The STAP papers have been retracted (July 2, 2014), but the original Nature publications are not yet labeled as such:
Stimulus-triggered fate conversion of somatic cells into pluripotency
Nature 505, 641–647 (30 January 2014)
Haruko Obokata, et al.
Here we report a unique cellular reprogramming phenomenon, called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP), which requires neither nuclear transfer nor the introduction of transcription factors.
In STAP, strong external stimuli such as a transient low-pH stressor reprogrammed mammalian somatic cells, resulting in the generation of pluripotent cells.
Through real-time imaging of STAP cells derived from purified lymphocytes, as well as gene rearrangement analysis, we found that committed somatic cells give rise to STAP cells by reprogramming rather than selection.
STAP cells showed a substantial decrease in DNA methylation in the regulatory regions of pluripotency marker genes.
Blastocyst injection showed that STAP cells efficiently contribute to chimaeric embryos and to offspring via germline transmission.
We also demonstrate the derivation of robustly expandable pluripotent cell lines from STAP cells.
Thus, our findings indicate that epigenetic fate determination of mammalian cells can be markedly converted in a context-dependent manner by strong environmental cues.