Engineering pluripotency through nuclear reprogramming and directing stem cells into defined lineages underscores cell fate plasticity. Acquisition of and departure from stemness are governed by genetic and epigenetic controllers, with modulation of energy metabolism and associated signaling increasingly implicated in cell identity determination. Transition from oxidative metabolism, typical of somatic tissues, into glycolysis is a prerequisite to fuel-proficient reprogramming, directing a differentiated cytotype back to the pluripotent state. The glycolytic metabotype supports the anabolic and catabolic requirements of pluripotent cell homeostasis. Conversely, redirection of pluripotency into defined lineages requires mitochondrial biogenesis and maturation of efficient oxidative energy generation and distribution networks to match demands. The vital function of bioenergetics in regulating stemness and lineage specification implicates a broader role for metabolic reprogramming in cell fate decisions and determinations of tissue regenerative potential.
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