Somatic cell nuclear transfer offers the possibility of preserving endangered species including the black-footed cat, which is threatened with extinction. The effectiveness and efficiency of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) depends on a variety of factors, but 'inappropriate epigenetic reprogramming of the transplanted nucleus is the primary cause of the developmental failure of cloned embryos. Abnormal epigenetic events such as DNA methylation and histone modifications during SCNT perturb the expression of imprinted and pluripotent-related genes that, consequently, may result in foetal and neonatal abnormalities. We have demonstrated that pregnancies can be established after transfer of black-footed cat cloned embryos into domestic cat recipients, but none of the implanted embryos developed to term and the foetal failure has been associated to aberrant reprogramming in cloned embryos. There is growing evidence that modifying the epigenetic pattern of the chromatin template of both donor cells and reconstructed embryos with a combination of inhibitors of histone deacetylases and DNA methyltransferases results in enhanced gene reactivation and improved in vitro and in vivo developmental competence. Epigenetic modifications of the chromatin template of black-footed cat donor cells and reconstructed embryos with epigenetic-modifying compounds enhanced in vitro development, and regulated the expression of pluripotent genes, but these epigenetic modifications did not improve in vivo developmental competence.
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Scriptaid and 5-aza-2'deoxycytidine enhanced expression of pluripotent genes and in vitro developmental competence in interspecies Black-footed cat cloned embryos