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Reprod Fertil Dev. 2010;22(4):613-24. doi: 10.1071/RD09108.

Abnormalities in the transcription of reprogramming genes related to global epigenetic events of cloned endangered felid embryos.

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  • 1Embryo Technology and Stem Cell Research Center, School of Biotechnology, Institute of Agricultural Technology, Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhon Ratchasima 30000, Thailand.


The present study examined transcription levels of the Oct4, DNMT1, DNMT3a, DNMT3b, HAT1 and HDAC1 genes in cloned felid embryos developing from single one-cell to blastocyst stages. IVF, cloned domestic and leopard cat embryos had low Oct4 and HAT1 levels during the early stages, but transcript expression increased at the eight-cell and blastocyst stages. In contrast, expression in the cloned marble cat embryos was low at all stages. Transcription patterns of HDAC1 were altered in cloned embryos compared with IVF embryos. Transcription levels of DNMT1 decreased markedly throughout development of both IVF and cloned embryos. In IVF embryos, DNMT3a transcripts rarely appeared in the four- to eight-cell stages, but levels increased in the morula to blastocyst stages. In contrast, in cloned embryos, DNMT3a transcript levels were high at the one- to two-cell stages, decreased during subsequent cell division and then increased again at the blastocyst stage. The IVF and cloned embryos showed similar DNMT3b transcription patterns, starting with low levels at the two-cell to morula stages and reaching a maximum at the blastocyst stage. These results suggest that the low level of Oct4 transcripts may be responsible, in part, for the failure of blastocyst production in the cloned marbled cat. However, higher transcription of the DNA methylation genes and lower transcription of the histone acetylation genes were observed in cloned compared with IVF embryos, suggesting that the felids' donor nucleus could not completely reprogramme the nuclear genome and so the re-establishment of embryonic totipotency was not achieved.

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