Developmental reprogramming after chromosome transfer into mitotic mouse zygotes


Until now, animal cloning and the production of embryonic stem cell lines by somatic cell nuclear transfer have relied on introducing nuclei into meiotic oocytes. In contrast, attempts at somatic cell nuclear transfer into fertilized interphase zygotes have failed. As a result, it has generally been assumed that unfertilized human oocytes will be required for the generation of tailored human embryonic stem cell lines from patients by somatic cell nuclear transfer. Here we report, however, that, unlike interphase zygotes, mouse zygotes temporarily arrested in mitosis can support somatic cell reprogramming, the production of embryonic stem cell lines and the full-term development of cloned animals. Thus, human zygotes and perhaps human embryonic blastomeres may be useful supplements to human oocytes for the creation of patient-derived human embryonic stem cells.

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Figure 1: The first embryonic cell cycle.
Figure 2: Chromosome transfer into zygotes arrested in mitosis.
Figure 3: Developmental potential in vitro and in vivo after chromosome transfer from ES cells into mitotic zygotes.
Figure 4: Derivation of ES cell lines from somatic-cell chromosome transfer blastocysts.
Figure 5: Aneuploid zygotes with more than two pronuclei can be used as recipients for chromosome transfer.


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We thank A. Murray for insight into the regulation of the cell cycle; K. Hochedlinger and C. Beard for KH2 ES cells and plasmids; A. Greenwood for H2B and cherry plasmids; C. Cowan, K. Niakan, J. Dimos, I. Tabansky, W. Strausack, A. Schier, A. McMahon, R. Jaenisch and D. Melton for advice and discussions; and D. Melton, A. Schier, D. Lopez, R. Jaenisch, A. Meissner, A. McMahon, A. Murray and A. Chen for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by funds from the Stowers Medical Institute, The Harvard Stem Cell Institute and the National Institutes of Health to K.E. and by a fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation to D.E. K.E. is a fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Author Contributions K.E. and D.E. designed the experiments. D.E. constructed the H2B-cherry mouse ES cell line and mouse. D.E., J.R. and K.E. performed chromosome transfer experiments and stem cell derivation. G.B. assisted D.E. with blastocyst injections and embryo transfer and prepared the figures. K.E. and D.E. wrote the paper. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Kevin Eggan.

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Egli, D., Rosains, J., Birkhoff, G. et al. Developmental reprogramming after chromosome transfer into mitotic mouse zygotes. Nature 447, 679–685 (2007).

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