[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (Oct4) is a critical molecule for the self-renewal and pluripotency of embryonic stem cells. Recent reports have shown that Oct4 also controls cell-cycle progression and enhances the proliferation of various types of cells. As the high proliferation of donor fibroblasts is critical to the production of transgenic pigs, using the somatic cell nuclear transfer technique, we analysed the effect of Oct4 overexpression on the proliferation of porcine fibroblasts and embryos. Porcine endogenous Oct4 cDNA was cloned, sequenced and inserted into an expression vector. The vector was transfected into porcine fibroblasts, and a stable Oct4-overexpressed cell line was established by antibiotic selection. Oct4 expression was validated by the immunostaining of Oct4. Cell morphology was changed to sharp, and both proliferation and migration abilities were enhanced in Oct4-overexpressed cells. Real-time RT-PCR results showed that p16, Bcl2 and Myc were upregulated in Oct4-overexpressed cells. Somatic cell nuclear transfer was performed using Oct4-overexpressed cells, and the development of Oct4 embryos was compared with that of wild-type cloned embryos. The cleavage and blastocyst formation rates were improved in the Oct4 embryos. Interestingly, blastocyst formation of the Oct4 embryos was observed as early as day 5 in culture, while blastocysts were observed from day 6 in wild-type cloned embryos. In conclusion, the overexpression of Oct4 enhanced the proliferation of both porcine fibroblasts and embryos.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Generation of transgenic pigs for xenotransplantation is one of the most promising technologies for resolving organ shortages. Human heme oxygenase-1 (hHO-1/HMOX1) can protect transplanted organs by its strong anti-oxidative, anti-apoptotic, and anti-inflammatory effects. Soluble human TNFRI-Fc (shTNFRI-Fc) can inhibit the binding of human TNF-α (hTNF-α) to TNF receptors on porcine cells, and thereby, prevent hTNF-α-mediated inflammation and apoptosis. Herein, we successfully generated shTNFRI-Fc-F2A-HA-hHO-1 transgenic (TG) pigs expressing both shTNFRI-Fc and hemagglutinin-tagged-human heme oxygenase-1 (HA-hHO-1) by using an F2A self-cleaving peptide. shTNFRI-Fc and HA-hHO-1 transgenes containing the F2A peptide were constructed under the control of the CAG promoter. Transgene insertion and copy number in the genome of transgenic pigs was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Southern blot analysis. Expressions of shTNFRI-Fc and HA-hHO-1 in TG pigs were confirmed using PCR, RT-PCR, western blot, ELISA, and immunohistochemistry. shTNFRI-Fc and HA-hHO-1 were expressed in various organs, including the heart, lung, and spleen. ELISA assays detected shTNFRI-Fc in the sera of TG pigs. For functional analysis, fibroblasts isolated from a shTNFRI-Fc-F2A-HA-hHO-1 TG pig (i.e., #14; 1 × 10(5) cells) were cultured with hTNF-α (20 ng/mL) and cycloheximide (10 μg/mL). The viability of shTNFRI-Fc-F2A-HA-hHO-1 TG pig fibroblasts was significantly higher than that of the wild type (wild type vs. shTNFRI-Fc-F2A-HA-hHO-1 TG at 24 h, 31.6 ± 3.2 vs. 60.4 ± 8.3 %, respectively; p < 0.05). Caspase-3/-7 activity of the shTNFRI-Fc-F2A-HA-hHO-1 TG pig fibroblasts was lower than that of the wild type pig fibroblasts (wild type vs. shTNFRI-Fc-F2A-HA-hHO-1 TG at 12 h, 812,452 ± 113,078 RLU vs. 88,240 ± 10,438 RLU, respectively; p < 0.05). These results show that shTNFRI-Fc and HA-hHO-1 TG pigs generated by the F2A self-cleaving peptide express both shTNFRI-Fc and HA-hHO-1 molecules, which provides protection against oxidative and inflammatory injury. Utilization of the F2A self-cleaving peptide is a promising tool for generating multiple TG pigs for xenotransplantation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To facilitate the construction of genetically-modified pigs, we produced cloned embryos derived from porcine fibroblasts transfected with a pair of engineered zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) plasmids to create targeted mutations and enriched using a reporter plasmid system. The reporter expresses RFP and eGFP simultaneously when ZFN-mediated site-specific mutations occur. Thus, double positive cells () were selected and used for somatic cell nuclear transfer. Two types of reporter based enrichment systems were used in this study; the cloned embryos derived from cells enriched using a magnetic sorting-based system showed better developmental competence than did those derived from cells enriched by flow cytometry. Mutated sequences, such as insertions, deletions, or substitutions, together with the wild-type sequence, were found in the cloned porcine blastocysts. Therefore, genetic mutations can be achieved in cloned porcine embryos reconstructed with ZFN-treated cells that were enriched by a reporter-based system.
Asian Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 01/2014; 27(3). · 0.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Summary The presence of glutamine (Gln) in in vitro maturation (IVM) and in vitro culture (IVC) medium is a more potent factor for improving porcine oocyte and embryo development than other amino acids. However Gln is inherently unstable and spontaneously breaks down into ammonia, and therefore interferes with proper development. To avoid this adverse effect, Gln was replaced in the present study with its stable dipeptide derivative alanyl-glutamine (Ala-Gln) and the effects of this replacement on porcine IVM and IVC were evaluated. Replacement of Gln with Ala-Gln during IVM did not improve nuclear maturation, however numbers of early cleaved embryos were significantly increased after activation. Blastocyst formation rates were also significantly improved by using Ala-Gln during IVM. Replacement of Gln with Ala-Gln during IVC significantly increased total cell numbers in blastocysts. Blastocyst formation rate was also significantly higher when Ala-Gln was used in both IVM and IVC. In conclusion, the use of Ala-Gln rather than Gln gives better results for development in both porcine IVM and IVC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Quercetin is a plant-derived flavonoid found in fruits or vegetables that has antioxidant properties and acts as a free radical scavenger. We investigated the effects of quercetin on porcine oocyte nuclear maturation and embryonic development after parthenogenetic activation. We then evaluated the antioxidant activities of quercetin by measuring reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels during oocyte maturation. Immature oocytes were untreated or treated with 1, 10, and 50 μg/mL quercetin during in vitro maturation (IVM). Quercetin treatment did not improve oocyte nuclear maturation, but significantly higher blastocyst rates (p < 0.05) of parthenogenetically activated oocytes were achieved when the IVM medium was supplemented with an adequate concentration of quercetin (1 μg/mL). However, cleavage rates and blastocyst cell numbers were not affected. Oocytes treated with 1 or 10 μg/mL quercetin had significantly lower (p < 0.05) levels of ROS than the control and group treated with the highest concentration of queretin (50 μg/mL). Moreover, this highest concentration was detrimental to oocyte nuclear maturation and blastocyst formation. Based on our findings, we concluded that exogenous quercetin reduces ROS levels during oocyte maturation and is beneficial for subsequent embryo development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In pig-to-primate xenotransplantation, multiple transgenic pigs are required to overcome a series of transplant rejections. The generation of multiple transgenic pigs either by breeding or the introduction of several mono-cistronic vectors has been hampered by the differential expression patterns of the target genes. To achieve simultaneous expression of multiple genes, a poly-cistronic expression system using the 2A peptide derived from the Thosea asigna virus (T2A) can be considered an alternative choice. Before applying T2A expression system to pig generation, the expression patterns of multiple genes in this system should be precisely evaluated. In this study, we constructed several bi-cistronic T2A expression vectors, which combine target genes that are frequently used in the xenotransplantation field, and introduced them into porcine fibroblasts. The proteins targeted to the same or different subcellular regions were efficiently expressed without affecting the localization or expression levels of the other protein. However, when a gene with low expression efficiency was inserted into the upstream region of the T2A sequences, the expression level of the downstream gene was significantly decreased compared with the expression efficiency without the insertion. A small interfering RNA targeting one gene in this system resulted in the significant downregulation of both the target gene and the other gene, indicating that multiple genes combined into a T2A expression vector can be considered as a single gene in terms of transcription and translation. In summary, the efficient expression of a downstream gene can be achieved if the expression of the upstream gene is efficient.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e70486. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kisspeptin (Kp) is best known as a multifunctional peptide with roles in reproduction, the cardiovascular system and cancer. In the present study the expression of kisspeptin hierarchy elements (KISS1, GNRH1 and LHB) and their receptors (KISS1R, GNRHR and LHCGR, respectively) in porcine ovary and in cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) were investigated, as were its effects on the in vitro maturation (IVM) of oocytes and their subsequent ability to sustain preimplantation embryo competence after parthenogenetic electrical activation. Kp system elements were expressed and affected IVM of oocytes when maturation medium was supplemented with 10(-6)M Kp. Oocyte maturation, maternal gene expression (MOS, GDF9 and BMP15), blastocyst formation rate, blastocyst hatching and blastocyst total cell count were all significantly increased when oocytes were matured in medium containing Kp compared with the control group (without Kp). A Kp antagonist (p234) at 4×10(-6)M interfered with this hierarchy but did not influence the threshold effect of gonadotrophins on oocyte maturation. FSH was critical and permissive to Kp action on COCs by increasing the relative expression of KISS1R. In contrast, Kp significantly increased apoptosis, the expression of pro-apoptotic gene, BAK1, and suppressed trophoblast outgrowths from hatched blastocysts cultured on feeder cells. The present study provides the first functional evidence of the Kp hierarchy in porcine COCs and its role in enhancing oocyte maturation and subsequent developmental competence in an autocrine-paracrine manner. However, Kp supplementation may have a harmful impact on cultured hatched blastocysts reflecting systemic or local regulation during the critical early period of embryonic development.
Reproduction Fertility and Development 06/2012; 24(5):656-68. · 2.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transplantation of islet cells into diabetic patients is a promising therapy, provided that the islet cells are able to evade host immune rejection. With improved islet viability, this strategy may effectively reverse diabetes. We applied 2% calcium alginate to generate small and large capsules to encapsulate porcine neonatal pancreatic cell clusters (NPCCs) using an air-driven encapsulator. After encapsulation, the viability was assessed at 1, 4, 7, 14 and 28 days and secretion of functional insulin in response to glucose stimulation were tested at days 14 and 28. Selective permeability of the small alginate capsules was confirmed using various sizes of isothiocyanate-labeled dextran (FITC-dextran). Encapsulation of NPCCs was performed without islet protrusion in the small and large capsules. The viability of NPCCs in all experimental groups was greater than 90% at day 1 and then gradually decreased after day 7. The NPCCs encapsulated in large capsules showed significantly lower viability (79.50 ± 2.88%) than that of naïve NPCCs and NPCCs in small capsule (86.83 ± 2.32%, 87.67 ± 2.07%, respectively) at day 7. The viability of naïve NPCCs decreased rapidly at day 14 (75.67 ± 1.75%), whereas the NPCCs encapsulated in small capsules maintained (82.0 ± 2.19%). After 14 and 28 days NPCCs' function in small capsules (2.67 ± 0.09 and 2.13 ± 0.09) was conserved better compared to that of naïve NPCCs (2.04 ± 0.25 and 1.53 ± 0.32, respectively) and NPCCs in large capsules (2.04 ± 0.34 and 1.13 ± 0.10, respectively), as assessed by a stimulation index. The small capsules also demonstrated selective permeability. With this encapsulation technique, small capsules improved the viability and insulin secretion of NPCCs without islet protrusion.
Experimental and Molecular Medicine 01/2012; 44(1):20-5. · 2.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Xenotransplantation using transgenic pigs as an organ source is a promising strategy to overcome shortage of human organ for transplantation. Various genetic modifications have been tried to ameliorate xenograft rejection. In the present study we assessed effect of transgenic expression of human heme oxygenase-1 (hHO-1), an inducible protein capable of cytoprotection by scavenging reactive oxygen species and preventing apoptosis caused by cellular stress during inflammatory processes, in neonatal porcine islet-like cluster cells (NPCCs). Transduction of NPCCs with adenovirus containing hHO-1 gene significantly reduced apoptosis compared with the GFP-expressing adenovirus control after treatment with either hydrogen peroxide or hTNF-α and cycloheximide. These protective effects were diminished by co-treatment of hHO-1 antagonist, Zinc protoporphyrin IX. We also generated transgenic pigs expressing hHO-1 and analyzed expression and function of the transgene. Human HO-1 was expressed in most tissues, including the heart, kidney, lung, pancreas, spleen and skin, however, expression levels and patterns of the hHO-1 gene are not consistent in each organ. We isolate fibroblast from transgenic pigs to analyze protective effect of the hHO-1. As expected, fibroblasts derived from the hHO-1 transgenic pigs were significantly resistant to both hydrogen peroxide damage and hTNF-α and cycloheximide-mediated apoptosis when compared with wild-type fibroblasts. Furthermore, induction of RANTES in response to hTNF-α or LPS was significantly decreased in fibroblasts obtained from the hHO-1 transgenic pigs. These findings suggest that transgenic expression of hHO-1 can protect xenografts when exposed to oxidative stresses, especially from ischemia/reperfusion injury, and/or acute rejection mediated by cytokines. Accordingly, hHO-1 could be an important candidate molecule in a multi-transgenic pig strategy for xenotransplantation.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(10):e46646. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The oocyte is known from recent studies in the mouse, cow, sheep and human to be a central regulator of follicular cell function. However, in the pig, little information is known about the regulation of cumulus expansion by oocyte-secreted factors and oocyte quality. We investigated the possible effects of oocyte-secreted factors during in vitro maturation on cumulus expansion and on porcine oocytes as judged by subsequent embryonic development after parthenogenetic activation. Cumulus-oocyte complexes (COC) from antral follicles of pig ovaries collected from a local abattoir were divided into control and treatment groups and were cultured in tissue culture medium 199 supplemented with follicle-stimulating hormone. Treatment groups consisted of increasing numbers of denuded oocytes (DO) co-cultured with COC (at ratios of COC to DO of 1:1, 1:2, 1:3, 1:4 and 1:5). After incubation for 44 h, cumulus expansion and maturation rates were assessed and oocytes were activated parthenogenetically. Cumulus expansion in the 1 COC:4 DO and 1 COC:5 DO groups was low and altered because full dispersion of the outer layer did not occur. Cell viability was not affected, as measured by the automated cell counter, but scanning electron microscopy revealed only a scanty extracellular matrix. Blastocyst rate was significantly higher in the 1 COC:4 DO (34.4%) and in the 1 COC:5 DO (34.9%) groups (p < 0.05) when compared with other groups. Maturation rate, cleavage rate and total cell number showed no significant difference between control and treatment groups. Amplification by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) showed up-regulation of growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) in the cumulus cells in the 1 COC:4 DO group at 44 h. We conclude that denuded porcine oocytes could improve the maturation of COC as evidenced by increased blastocyst development in the 1 COC:4 DO, even though cumulus expansion was poor. This improvement could be a result of the GDF9 up-regulation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acute humoral xenograft rejection (AHXR) is an important barrier to xenograft survival. Human tumor necrosis factor-α (hTNF-α) is one of the essential mediators of AHXR and induces activation of porcine endothelial cells (PECs), resulting in upregulation of major histocompatibility complex molecules, adhesion molecules, and proinflammatory chemokines. We investigated whether introduction of a soluble human tumor necrosis factor receptor I-Fc (shTNFRI-Fc) fusion gene can suppress activation of PECs and, more importantly, produced shTNFRI-Fc transgenic pigs.
The shTNFRI-Fc gene expression vector was constructed and inserted into PECs. The inhibitory effects of shTNFRI-Fc were tested by luciferase assay, reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, and flow cytometry. A shTNFRI-Fc transgenic pig was generated by somatic cell nuclear transfer. The expression of shTNFRI-Fc in the transgenic pig was evaluated by PCR, western blot, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and immunohistochemistry. The inhibitory effects of shTNFRI-Fc in the serum obtained from the transgenic pig were also tested.
In comparison with control green fluorescent protein, shTNFRI-Fc protein showed much stronger inhibitory effects on NF-κB activation in the HEK293-NF-κB-luciferase reporting cell line, expression of chemokines and adhesion molecules in PECs, and TNF-α-mediated cytotoxicity. We successfully generated shTNFRI-Fc transgenic pig. Sera obtained from the transgenic pig inhibited induction of chemokines, and E-selectin in PECs stimulated with Human TNF-α.
We have generated transgenic pigs producing shTNFRI-Fc protein that can inhibit TNF-α-mediated activation of PECs. Because TNF-α is an important mediator of xenograft rejection, the use of xenografts that can produce shTNFRI-Fc proteins de novo could be an effective approach in overcoming a considerable component of the xenograft rejection process, especially AHXR.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In non-human primates, it is difficult to collect sufficient numbers of oocytes for producing identical embryos by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Because of this factor, inter-species SCNT (iSCNT) using heterospecific oocytes is an attractive alternative approach. The objective of this study was to produce iSCNT-derived blastocysts using enucleated cow (Bos taurus) metaphase II oocytes and adult rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) fibroblasts. Ear skin tissue from a 6-year-old male rhesus monkey was collected by biopsy and fibroblasts were isolated. Immature cumulus-oocyte complexes from cow ovaries were collected and matured in vitro in Medium 199. The enucleated oocytes were reconstructed with rhesus monkey fibroblasts and iSCNT embryos were cultured in modified synthetic oviduct fluid in an atmosphere of 5-5.5% CO2 under various conditions (37-39 °C and 5-20% O2) to examine the effects of in vitro culture conditions. Most embryos were arrested at the 8- or 16-cell stage and only three blastocysts were derived in this way using iSCNT from a total of 1153 cultured activated embryos (0.26% production rate). Two of the three blastocysts were used for counting nuclear numbers using bisbenzimide staining, which were 51 and 24. The other iSCNT-derived blastocyst was used to analyse mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) by PCR, and both rhesus monkey and cow mtDNA were detected. Although the development rate was extremely low, this study established that iSCNT using two phylogenetically distant species, including a primate, could produce blastocysts. With improvements in the development rate, it may be possible to produce rhesus monkey iSCNT-derived embryonic stem cell lines for studies on primate nucleus and cow mitochondria interaction mechanisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The addition of 9-cis retinoic acid to the oocyte maturation culture medium has a beneficial effect on in vitro fertilized embryos. However, the mechanism of this activity is not known. Therefore, this study was done to elucidate the effect of 9-cis retinoic acid on parthenogenetic embryo production and its signaling pathway and molecular function during in vitro maturation of porcine cumulus cell-oocyte complexes (COCs). Concentrations of 0, 5, 50, and 500 nM 9-cis retinoic acid were added to the in vitro maturation medium, and the embryos were assessed after parthenogenetic activation. Cumulus cells and oocytes from the in vitro matured COCs were separated and subjected to RT-PCR and real-time RT-PCR for detecting retinoic acid receptors and measuring expression of prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase1 and 2. The addition of 5 nM 9-cis retinoic acid to the maturation medium was beneficial for parthenogenetic embryo production. The effect of 9-cis retinoic acid was exerted directly through the oocytes via the retinoic acid receptor alpha and retinoid X receptor gamma signaling pathways and indirectly through the cumulus cells by the retinoic acid receptor beta and gamma and retinoid X receptor alpha and beta signaling pathways. The addition of 5 nM 9-cis retinoic acid-stimulated cumulus cells reaches full expansion by suppressing their excessive expression of prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2. This study shows that 9-cis retinoic acid can exert its beneficial effect on parthenogenetic embryo production in pigs by multidimensional pathways affecting oocyte maturation.
Biology of Reproduction 03/2011; 84(6):1272-81. · 4.03 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Treatment with 6-dimethylaminopurine (6-DMAP) or demecolcine (DE) for several (at least 2) hours after artificial activation is known to improve in vitro development of porcine embryos. However, several reports have also shown that treatments with these chemicals induce apoptosis. The aim of this study was to find out whether short-term treatment with 6-DMAP and DE combined with electrical or thimerosal/dithiothreitol (Thi/DTT) activation had a beneficial effect on development of parthenogenetically activated porcine oocytes. We additionally treated embryos with 6-DMAP (2 mM) and/or DE (0.4 microg/ml) for a short time (40 min) after an electrical pulse (EP) or Thi/DTT. As a result, short-term treatment with 6-DMAP and DE successfully induced development of electrically or Thi/DTT-activated porcine parthenogenetic embryos with no significant difference in cleavage rate, blastocyst formation rate and total cell number compared with long-term treatment. To find optimal activation protocol, cleavage rate, blastocyst formation rate and total cell number were compared between EP and Thi/DTT treatments. Thi/DTT + 6-DMAP + DE showed significantly higher blastocyst formation rate (36.1 ± 3.5%) and total cell number (46.9 ± 1.0) than other groups (EP + 6-DMAP + DE, EP + Thi/DTT + 6-DMAP + DE: 23.3 ± 3.0%, 42.2 ± 1.1 and 17.2 ± 2.7%, 36.7 ± 1.5, respectively). In conclusion, this study demonstrates that short-term treatment with 6-DMAP and DE is as effective as the standard long-term treatment and Thi/DTT + 6-DMAP + DE exerts a synergistic effect.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: c1 All correspondence to: Byeong Chun Lee. Department of Theriogenology and Biotechnology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, 599 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, 151–742, Korea. Tel: +822 880 1269. Fax: +822 873 1269. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Porcine islet xenotransplantation is a promising strategy for the treatment of diabetes that overcomes donor shortages. However, islet xenografts are susceptible to oxidative stress and apoptosis. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) has been shown to protect cells from oxidative stress, apoptosis and inflammation. Here, we investigated whether introduction of human HO-1 (hHO-1) into neonatal porcine islet-like cell clusters (NPCCs) can induce beneficial transcriptional changes in NPCCs against cellular stress. NPCCs were transduced with either adenovirus-HO-1 (Ad-HO-1) or control adenovirus-GFP (Ad-GFP). After treatment with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) for 24 hours, nitrite oxide (NO) production assays were performed to detect oxidative stress. Microarray analysis was performed using a pig oligonucleotide 44 K gene chip. We profiled transcriptional changes to apoptosis, oxidant and inflammatory genes, and real-time PCR analysis was also performed to confirm the microarray results. Survival of NPCCs after treatment with H2O2 was significantly higher in the Ad-HO-1 group (p<0.001), and NO production also decreased in the Ad-HO-1 group (p<0.01). The microarray results showed that the expression of pro-apoptosis genes such as CASP3, CASP7, CASP10, CIDE-B and CIDE-C was significantly decreased in the Ad-HO-1 virus group (CASP10; p<0.05, CASP3, CIDE-C; p<0.01, CASP7, CIDE-B; p<0.001). We also found that the expression of oxidative stresses genes including COX1, COX2, CYB5A, SDHD and NOS2 was decreased, and that the anti-oxidant genes Gpx1 and SOD2 were increased in the Ad-HO-1 group (NOS2; p<0.05, COXI, COX2, CYB5A, SDHD, SOD2, GPX1; p<0.001). However, inflammatory gene expression was not significantly changed. Realtime PCR analysis confirmed the results of the microarray analysis. These results shed light on the underlying mechanisms of the protective effects of hHO-1 on porcine islets from cellular stresses and suggest that hHO-1 could be a promising target gene for the production of transgenic pigs that confer improved islet xenograft survival.