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© 2014. Akt plays an important role in cell growth, proliferation and survival. The specific roles of the three Akt isoforms in somatic cell reprogramming have not been investigated. Here we report that, during iPSC generation, enhanced Akt1 activity promotes complete reprogramming mainly through increased activation of Stat3 in concert with leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and, to a lesser extent, through promotion of colony formation. Akt1 augments Stat3 activity through activation of mTOR and upregulation of LIF receptor expression. Similarly, enhanced Akt2 or Akt3 activation also promotes reprogramming and coordinates with LIF to activate Stat3. Blocking Akt1 or Akt3 but not Akt2 expression prohibits cell proliferation and reprogramming. Furthermore, the halt in cell proliferation and reprogramming caused by mTOR and Akt inhibitors can be reversed by inhibition of GSK3. Finally, we found that expressing the GSK3b target Esrrb overrides inhibition of Akt and restores reprogramming. Our data demonstrated that during reprogramming, Akt promotes establishment of pluripotency through co-stimulation of Stat3 activity with LIF. Akt1 and Akt3 are essential for the proliferation of reprogrammed cells, and Esrrb supports cell proliferation and complete reprogramming during Akt signaling.

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Journal of Cell Science

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