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PLoS One. 2015 Mar 6;10(3):e0120033. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120033. eCollection 2015.

Improved development of somatic cell cloned mouse embryos by vitamin C and latrunculin A.

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Departament de Biologia Cellular, Fisiologia i Immunologia, Facultat de Biociències, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.


Impaired development of embryos produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is mostly associated with faulty reprogramming of the somatic nucleus to a totipotent state and can be improved by treatment with epigenetic modifiers. Here we report that addition of 100 μM vitamin C (VitC) to embryo culture medium for at least 16 h post-activation significantly increases mouse blastocyst formation and, when combined with the use of latrunculin A (LatA) during micromanipulation and activation procedures, also development to term. In spite of this, no significant effects on pluripotency (OCT4 and NANOG) or nuclear reprogramming markers (H3K14 acetylation, H3K9 methylation and DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation) could be detected. The use of LatA alone significantly improved in vitro development, but not full-term development. On the other hand, the simultaneous treatment of cloned embryos with VitC and the histone deacetylase inhibitor psammaplin A (PsA), in combination with the use of LatA, resulted in cloning efficiencies equivalent to those of VitC or PsA treatments alone, and the effects on pluripotency and nuclear reprogramming markers were less evident than when only the PsA treatment was applied. These results suggest that although both epigenetic modifiers improve cloning efficiencies, possibly through different mechanisms, they do not show an additive effect when combined. Improvement of SCNT efficiency is essential for its applications in reproductive and therapeutic cloning, and identification of molecules which increase this efficiency should facilitate studies on the mechanism of nuclear reprogramming and acquisition of totipotency.

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