Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.348, No.4, 1419-1428, 2006
Analysis of nuclear reprogramming in cloned miniature pig embryos by expression of Oct-4 and Oct-4 related genes
Xenotransplantation is a rapidly expanding field of research and cloned miniature pigs have been considered as a model animal for it. However, the efficiency of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is extremely low, with most clones resulting in early lethality and several kinds of aberrant development. A possible explanation for the developmental failure of SCNT embryos is insufficient reprogramming of the somatic cell nucleus by the oocyte. In order to test this, we analyzed the reprogramming capacity of differentiated fibroblast cell nuclei and embryonic germ cell nuclei with Oct-4 and Oct-4 related genes (Ndp52II, Dppa2, Dppa3, and Dppa5), which are important for embryonic development, Hand1 and GATA-4, which are important for placental development, as molecular markers using RT-PCR. The Oct-4 expression level was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in cloned hatched blastocysts derived from fibroblasts and many of fibroblast-derived clones failed to reactivate at least one of the tested genes, while most of the germ cell clones and control embryos correctly expressed these genes. In conclusion, our results suggest that the reprogramming of fibroblast-derived cloned embryos is highly aberrant and this improper reprogramming could be one reason of the early lethality and post-implantation anomalies of somatic cell-derived clones. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.