[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human pluripotent stem cells hold potential for regenerative medicine, but available cell types have significant limitations. Although embryonic stem cells (ES cells) from in vitro fertilized embryos (IVF ES cells) represent the 'gold standard', they are allogeneic to patients. Autologous induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) are prone to epigenetic and transcriptional aberrations. To determine whether such abnormalities are intrinsic to somatic cell reprogramming or secondary to the reprogramming method, genetically matched sets of human IVF ES cells, iPS cells and nuclear transfer ES cells (NT ES cells) derived by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) were subjected to genome-wide analyses. Both NT ES cells and iPS cells derived from the same somatic cells contained comparable numbers of de novo copy number variations. In contrast, DNA methylation and transcriptome profiles of NT ES cells corresponded closely to those of IVF ES cells, whereas iPS cells differed and retained residual DNA methylation patterns typical of parental somatic cells. Thus, human somatic cells can be faithfully reprogrammed to pluripotency by SCNT and are therefore ideal for cell replacement therapies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial DNA diseases are relatively common, sometimes devastating, and transmitted exclusively through the egg to children of carrier mothers. A study in Cell by Wang et al. (2014) adds the exciting possibility of a new therapy for preventing mitochondrial disease transmission predicated on the use of polar body genomes in mice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Successful mammalian cloning using somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) into unfertilized, metaphase II (MII)-arrested oocytes attests to the cytoplasmic presence of reprogramming factors capable of inducing totipotency in somatic cell nuclei. However, these poorly defined maternal factors presumably decline sharply after fertilization, as the cytoplasm of pronuclear-stage zygotes is reportedly inactive. Recent evidence suggests that zygotic cytoplasm, if maintained at metaphase, can also support derivation of embryonic stem (ES) cells after SCNT, albeit at low efficiency. This led to the conclusion that critical oocyte reprogramming factors present in the metaphase but not in the interphase cytoplasm are 'trapped' inside the nucleus during interphase and effectively removed during enucleation. Here we investigated the presence of reprogramming activity in the cytoplasm of interphase two-cell mouse embryos (I2C). First, the presence of candidate reprogramming factors was documented in both intact and enucleated metaphase and interphase zygotes and two-cell embryos. Consequently, enucleation did not provide a likely explanation for the inability of interphase cytoplasm to induce reprogramming. Second, when we carefully synchronized the cell cycle stage between the transplanted nucleus (ES cell, fetal fibroblast or terminally differentiated cumulus cell) and the recipient I2C cytoplasm, the reconstructed SCNT embryos developed into blastocysts and ES cells capable of contributing to traditional germline and tetraploid chimaeras. Last, direct transfer of cloned embryos, reconstructed with ES cell nuclei, into recipients resulted in live offspring. Thus, the cytoplasm of I2C supports efficient reprogramming, with cell cycle synchronization between the donor nucleus and recipient cytoplasm as the most critical parameter determining success. The ability to use interphase cytoplasm in SCNT could aid efforts to generate autologous human ES cells for regenerative applications, as donated or discarded embryos are more accessible than unfertilized MII oocytes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inherited diseases caused by mitochondrial gene (mtDNA) mutations affect at least 1 in 5000-10000 children and are associated with severe clinical symptoms. Novel reproductive techniques designed to replace mutated mtDNA in oocytes or early embryos have been proposed to prevent transmission of disease from parents to their children. Here we review the efficacy and safety of these approaches and their associated ethical and regulatory issues.
Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 01/2014; 25(1):5-7. · 8.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reprogramming somatic cells into pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) has been envisioned as an approach for generating patient-matched nuclear transfer (NT)-ESCs for studies of disease mechanisms and for developing specific therapies. Past attempts to produce human NT-ESCs have failed secondary to early embryonic arrest of SCNT embryos. Here, we identified premature exit from meiosis in human oocytes and suboptimal activation as key factors that are responsible for these outcomes. Optimized SCNT approaches designed to circumvent these limitations allowed derivation of human NT-ESCs. When applied to premium quality human oocytes, NT-ESC lines were derived from as few as two oocytes. NT-ESCs displayed normal diploid karyotypes and inherited their nuclear genome exclusively from parental somatic cells. Gene expression and differentiation profiles in human NT-ESCs were similar to embryo-derived ESCs, suggesting efficient reprogramming of somatic cells to a pluripotent state.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parthenogenetic embryonic stem cells (PESCs) may have future utilities in cell replacement therapies since they are closely related to the female from which the activated oocyte was obtained. Furthermore, the avoidance of parthenogenetic development in mammals provides the most compelling rationale for the evolution of genomic imprinting, and the biological process of parthenogenesis raises complex issues regarding differential gene expression.
We describe here homozygous rhesus monkey PESCs derived from a spontaneously duplicated, haploid oocyte genome. Since the effect of homozygosity on PESCs pluripotency and differentiation potential is unknown, we assessed the similarities and differences in pluripotency markers and developmental potential by in vitro and in vivo differentiation of homozygous and heterozygous PESCs. To understand the differences in gene expression regulation between parthenogenetic and biparental embryonic stem cells (ESCs), we conducted microarray analysis of genome-wide mRNA profiles of primate PESCs and ESCs derived from fertilized embryos using the Affymetrix Rhesus Macaque Genome array. Several known paternally imprinted genes were in the highly down-regulated group in PESCs compared with ESCs. Furthermore, allele-specific expression analysis of other genes whose expression is also down-regulated in PESCs, led to the identification of one novel imprinted gene, inositol polyphosphate-5-phosphatase F (INPP5F), which was exclusively expressed from a paternal allele.
Our findings suggest that PESCs could be used as a model for studying genomic imprinting, and in the discovery of novel imprinted genes.
Human Reproduction 08/2010; 25(8):1927-41. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The first lineage decision during mammalian development is the establishment of the trophectoderm (TE) and the inner cell mass (ICM). The caudal-type homeodomain protein Cdx2 is implicated in the formation and maintenance of the TE in the mouse. However, the role of CDX2 during early embryonic development in primates is unknown. Here, we demonstrated that CDX2 mRNA levels were detectable in rhesus monkey oocytes, significantly upregulated in pronuclear stage zygotes, diminished in early cleaving embryos but restored again in compact morula and blastocyst stages. CDX2 protein was localized to the nucleus of TE cells but absent altogether in the ICM. Knockdown of CDX2 in monkey oocytes resulted in formation of early blastocyst-like embryos that failed to expand and ceased development. However, the ICM lineage of CDX2-deficient embryos supported the isolation of functional embryonic stem cells. These results provide evidence that CDX2 plays an essential role in functional TE formation during primate embryonic development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian development commences with the totipotent zygote which is capable of developing into all the specialized cells that make up the adult animal. As development unfolds, cells of the early embryo proliferate and differentiate into the first two lineages, the pluripotent inner cell mass and the trophectoderm. Pluripotent cells can be isolated, adapted and propagated indefinitely in vitro in an undifferentiated state as embryonic stem cells (ESCs). ESCs retain their ability to differentiate into cells representing the three major germ layers: endoderm, mesoderm or ectoderm or any of the 200+ cell types present in the adult body. Since many human diseases result from defects in a single cell type, pluripotent human ESCs represent an unlimited source of any cell or tissue type for replacement therapy thus providing a possible cure for many devastating conditions. Pluripotent cells resembling ESCs can also be derived experimentally by the nuclear reprogramming of somatic cells. Reprogrammed somatic cells may have an even more important role in cell replacement therapies since the patient's own somatic cells can be used for reprogramming thereby eliminating immune based rejection of transplanted cells. In this review, we summarize two major approaches to reprogramming: (1) somatic cell nuclear transfer and (2) direct reprogramming using genetic manipulations.
Advances in biochemical engineering/biotechnology 04/2009; 114:185-99. · 1.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We recently demonstrated that somatic cells from adult primates could be reprogrammed into a pluripotent state by somatic cell nuclear transfer. However, the low efficiency with donor cells from one monkey necessitated the need for large oocyte numbers. Here, we demonstrate nearly threefold higher blastocyst development and embryonic stem (ES) cell derivation rates with different nuclear donor cells. Two ES cell lines were isolated using adult female rhesus macaque skin fibroblasts as nuclear donors and oocytes retrieved from one female, following a single controlled ovarian stimulation. In addition to routine pluripotency tests involving in vitro and in vivo differentiation into various somatic cell types, primate ES cells derived from reprogrammed somatic cells were also capable of contributing to cells expressing markers of germ cells. Moreover, imprinted gene expression, methylation, telomere length, and X-inactivation analyses were consistent with accurate and extensive epigenetic reprogramming of somatic cells by oocyte-specific factors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The experience with artificial insemination (AI) and the more invasive ARTs (assisted reproductive technologies) in the propagation of non-human primates (NHPs), although limited, has included representation from the Great Apes and both Old World and New World Macaques. The application of these technologies in NHPs is impacted by high cost, substantial technical requirements and the limited captive populations of available animals. A major incentive for their use would be to propagate endangered, underrepresented individuals or valuable founder animals. Detailed protocols and a substantial experience base for the ARTs are available for rhesus and cynomolgus macaques and form the basis of this review, including sperm recovery, processing and long-term storage at low temperatures, insemination techniques and timing. Controlled ovarian stimulation and subsequent oocyte recovery required for the invasive ARTs such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), is also described. Three recent AI reports in Old World Macaques are reviewed, along with examples of the use of the ARTs in the propagation of valuable founder animals, in the preservation of endangered macaques, and finally in the creation of neurodegenerative disease models for biomedical research purposes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Monoparental parthenotes represent a potential source of histocompatible stem cells that should be isogenic with the oocyte donor and therefore suitable for use in cell or tissue replacement therapy. We generated five rhesus monkey parthenogenetic embryonic stem cell (PESC) lines with stable, diploid female karyotypes that were morphologically indistinguishable from biparental controls, expressed key pluripotent markers, and generated cell derivatives representative of all three germ layers following in vivo and in vitro differentiation. Interestingly, high levels of heterozygosity were observed at the majority of loci that were polymorphic in the oocyte donors. Some PESC lines were also heterozygous in the major histocompatibility complex region, carrying haplotypes identical to those of the egg donor females. Expression analysis revealed transcripts from some imprinted genes that are normally expressed from only the paternal allele. These results indicate that limitations accompanying the potential use of PESC-derived phenotypes in regenerative medicine, including aberrant genomic imprinting and high levels of homozygosity, are cell line-dependent and not always present. PESC lines were derived in high enough yields to be practicable, and their derivatives are suitable for autologous transplantation into oocyte donors or could be used to establish a bank of histocompatible cell lines for a broad spectrum of patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During embryo implantation, trophinin mediates cell adhesion by homophilic binding at the apical surfaces of trophectoderm and endometrium. Trophinin is expressed on the human endometrial epithelia in rare occasions. We developed hCG-coated agarose beads that mimic the physical and physiological features of an implantation-stage human blastocyst. When hCG-coated beads were applied to human endometrial epithelial cells in the presence of IL-1beta, endometrial cells acquired strong trophinin expression and the ability for apical cell adhesion with trophinin-expressing human trophoblastic cells. These results provide a mechanism for trophinin-mediated adhesion of human blastocyst to endometrium by a spatially and temporally restricted paracrine effect of hCG derived from the blastocyst.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene targeting in nonhuman primates has the potential to produce critical animal models for translational studies related to human diseases. Successful gene targeting in fibroblasts followed by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) has been achieved in several species of large mammals but not yet in primates. Our goal was to establish the protocols necessary to achieve gene targeting in primary culture of adult rhesus macaque fibroblasts as a first step in creating nonhuman primate models of genetic disease using nuclear transfer technology.
A primary culture of adult male fibroblasts was transfected with hTERT to overcome senescence and allow long term in vitro manipulations. Successful gene targeting of the HPRT locus in rhesus macaques was achieved by electroporating S-phase synchronized cells with a construct containing a SV40 enhancer.
The cell lines reported here could be used for the production of null mutant rhesus macaque models of human genetic disease using SCNT technology. In addition, given the close evolutionary relationship and biological similarity between rhesus macaques and humans, the protocols described here may prove useful in the genetic engineering of human somatic cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of the non-human primate (NHP) oocyte and embryo in translational research is considered here including both in vitro activities directly involving oocytes or embryos as well as animal studies that impact reproductive function. Reasons to consider NHPs as animal research models along with their limitations are summarized. A case is made that in limited instances, such as in the development and application of the assisted reproductive technologies or in the study of embryonic stem cells, the human oocyte and embryo have acted as models for the monkey. The development of strategies for the preservation of fertility is used as an example of ongoing research in the non-human primate that cannot be conducted in women for ethical reasons. In animal studies, monitoring reproductive potential, responses to embryonic stem cell transplantation, along with translational research in the field of contraceptive development for women are considered as subjects that benefit from the availability of a NHP model.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nonhuman primates (NHPs) represent clinically relevant animal models used in studies on the etiology and treatment of human
diseases. In the context of reproduction, NHP models are relevant to research interests as diverse as the etiology and treatment
of infertility and contraceptive development to an evaluation of cell or tissue-based therapies of disease employing embryonic
stem cell-derived phenotypes. The assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) are used in the production of animals carrying
desired MHC alleles for HIV vaccine development and could be used in the production of genetically identical animals by somatic
cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). SCNT in turn is relevant to rescuing the unique genetics of aging or even deceased animals,
to testing the efficacy of therapeutic cloning, and in combination with gene targeting, to creating monkey models of genetically
based, neurodegenerative diseases. Since most NHP experience in applying the ARTs and in deriving embryonic stem cells (ESCs)
involves Old World monkeys, principally rhesus and cynomolgus macaques and baboons, studies with these species will be featured
in this chapter.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Derivation of embryonic stem (ES) cells genetically identical to a patient by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) holds the potential to cure or alleviate the symptoms of many degenerative diseases while circumventing concerns regarding rejection by the host immune system. However, the concept has only been achieved in the mouse, whereas inefficient reprogramming and poor embryonic development characterizes the results obtained in primates. Here, we used a modified SCNT approach to produce rhesus macaque blastocysts from adult skin fibroblasts, and successfully isolated two ES cell lines from these embryos. DNA analysis confirmed that nuclear DNA was identical to donor somatic cells and that mitochondrial DNA originated from oocytes. Both cell lines exhibited normal ES cell morphology, expressed key stem-cell markers, were transcriptionally similar to control ES cells and differentiated into multiple cell types in vitro and in vivo. Our results represent successful nuclear reprogramming of adult somatic cells into pluripotent ES cells and demonstrate proof-of-concept for therapeutic cloning in primates.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The vervet monkey was evaluated as a primate model for use in assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). Eight adult female vervets were hormonally monitored for their potential use as egg donors and those six females displaying regular menstrual cycles were subjected to controlled ovarian stimulation with recombinant human gonadotropins. Three animals failed to respond while laparoscopic follicular aspiration was performed on the other three females at 27-30 h post-human chorionic gonadotropin administration. A total of 62, 40, and 18 oocytes was recovered from these three animals of which 30, 20, and 4, respectively, matured to the metaphase II stage and were subsequently inseminated using intracytoplasmic sperm injection. An average of 40+/-15% (SEM) of the inseminated oocytes were fertilized based on pronucleus formation and timely cleavage. One embryo from each of the two stimulated females developed into expanded blastocysts. Two adult male vervets were assessed as sperm donors. Neither adjusted well to the restraint and collection procedure required for penile electroejaculation. Samples collected via rectal electroejaculation were very low in sperm motility and concentration; however, cauda epididymal aspirations from one male yielded an adequate concentration of motile sperm. These results emphasize the need to establish species-specific ovarian stimulation protocols and semen collection techniques if vervets are to be considered for basic and applied (ARTs) research on primate gametes or embryos.
American Journal of Primatology 09/2007; 69(8):917-29. · 2.46 Impact Factor