Reprogramming of somatic cells is a valuable tool to understand the mechanisms of regaining pluripotency and further opens up the possibility of generating patient-specific pluripotent stem cells. Reprogramming of mouse and human somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells, designated as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, has been possible with the expression of the transcription factor quartet Oct4 (also known as Pou5f1), Sox2, c-Myc, and Klf4. Considering that ectopic expression of c-Myc causes tumourigenicity in offspring and retroviruses themselves can cause insertional mutagenesis, the generation of iPS cells with a minimal number of factors may hasten the clinical application of this approach. Here, we show that adult mouse neural stem cells express higher endogenous levels of Sox2 and c-Myc than embryonic stem cells, and that exogenous Oct4 together with either Klf4 or c-Myc are sufficient to generate iPS cells from neural stem cells. These two-factor (2F) iPS cells are similar to embryonic stem cells at the molecular level, contribute to development of the germ line, and form chimeras. We propose that, in inducing pluripotency, the number of reprogramming factors can be reduced when using somatic cells that endogenously express appropriate levels of complementing factors.