Ageing is associated with losing normal cellular plasticity (regeneration capacity) while acquiring abnormal cellular dys-plasticity (cancer). Cellular reprogramming is associated with a gain in the potential for differentiation and self-renewal. Could common pathways be controlling these two seemingly opposite processes? Previously, we reported that ageing has a negative effect on reprogramming and this is partially due to an age-dependent increase of the Ink4/Arf locus. However, the conceptual parallels between reprogramming and ageing are largely unexplored. We aim to harness the power of this in vitro system to elucidate organismal ageing by identifying molecular determinants of ageing.
Recently, reprogramming has been achieved in vivo (Abad, et al., Nature 2013). This breakthrough brought us one step closer to tissue regeneration in situ. We established this mouse model in the lab. We will use this powerful new tool to understand the impact of ageing on cellular plasticity, moreover to explore how to induce proper cellular plasticity for regeneration especially in ageing related diseases.