Recent scientific achievements in cell and developmental biology have provided unprecedented opportunities for advances in biomedical research. The demonstration that fully differentiated cells can reverse their gene expression profile to that of a pluripotent cell, and the successful derivation and culture of human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) have fuelled hopes for applications in regenerative medicine. These advances have been put to public scrutiny raising legal, moral and ethical issues which have resulted in different levels of acceptance. Ethical issues concerning the use of cloned human embryos for the derivation of stem cells have stimulated the search for alternative methods for reversing differentiated cells into multi/pluripotent cells. In this article, we will review the present state of these reprogramming technologies and discuss their relative success. We also overview reprogramming events after somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), as they may further instruct ex ovo strategies for cellular manipulation.
Ramiro Alberio, Keith H Campbell and Andrew D Johnson
Dasari Amarnath, Inchul Choi, Adel R Moawad, Teruhiko Wakayama and Keith H S Campbell
Inter-species somatic cell nuclear transfer (iSCNT) embryos usually fail to develop to the blastocyst stage and beyond due to incomplete reprogramming of donor cell. We evaluated whether using a karyoplast that would require less extensive reprogramming such as an embryonic blastomere or the meiotic spindle from metaphase II oocytes would provide additional insight into the development of iSCNT embryos. Our results showed that karyoplasts of embryonic or oocyte origin are no different from somatic cells; all iSCNT embryos, irrespective of karyoplast origin, were arrested during early development. We hypothesized that nuclear–cytoplasmic incompatibility could be another reason for failure of embryonic development from iSCNT. We used pig–mouse cytoplasmic hybrids as a model to address nuclear–cytoplasmic incompatibility in iSCNT embryos. Fertilized murine zygotes were reconstructed by fusing with porcine cytoplasts of varying cytoplasmic volumes (1/10 (small) and 1/5 (large) total volume of mouse zygote). The presence of pig cytoplasm significantly reduced the development of mouse zygotes to the blastocyst stage compared with control embryos at 120 h post-human chorionic gondotropin (41 vs 6 vs 94%, P<0.05; 1/10, 1/5, control respectively). While mitochondrial DNA copy numbers remained relatively unchanged, expression of several important genes namely Tfam, Polg, Polg2, Mfn2, Slc2a3 (Glut3), Slc2a1 (Glut1), Bcl2, Hspb1, Pou5f1 (Oct4), Nanog, Cdx2, Gata3, Tcfap2c, mt-Cox1 and mt-Cox2 was significantly reduced in cytoplasmic hybrids compared with control embryos. These results demonstrate that the presence of even a small amount of porcine cytoplasm is detrimental to murine embryo development and suggest that a range of factors are likely to contribute to the failure of inter-species nuclear transfer embryos.