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Deterministic nuclear reprogramming of mammalian nuclei to a totipotency-like state by Amphibian meiotic oocytes for stem cell therapy in humans.

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Barbosa Triana, Hector 
Butler, Richard 
Hu, Hsiang-Wei 


The ultimate aim of nuclear reprogramming is to provide stem cells or differentiated cells from unrelated cell types as a cell source for regenerative medicine. A popular route towards this is transcription factor induction, and an alternative way is an original procedure of transplanting a single somatic cell nucleus to an unfertilized egg. A third route is to transplant hundreds of cell nuclei into the germinal vesicle (GV) of a non-dividing Amphibian meiotic oocyte, which leads to the activation of silent genes in 24 h and robustly induces a totipotency-like state in almost all transplanted cells. We apply this third route for potential therapeutic use and describe a procedure by which the differentiated states of cells can be reversed so that totipotency and pluripotency gene expression are regained. Differentiated cells are exposed to GV extracts and are reprogrammed to form embryoid bodies, which shows the maintenance of stemness and could be induced to follow new directions of differentiation. We conclude that much of the reprogramming effect of eggs is already present in meiotic oocytes and does not require cell division or selection of dividing cells. Reprogrammed cells by oocytes could serve as replacements for defective adult cells in humans.


Peer reviewed: True

Acknowledgements: We thank Charles Bradshaw and Kay Harnish of Gurdon Institute for their help with sequencing services. We thank Alex Sossick of Gurdon Institute for his support of microscopy imaging.

Publication status: Published

Funder: University of Cambridge; doi:

Funder: Wellcome Trust; doi:; Grant(s): 101050/Z/13/Z, 993173-2-UK-001, 101800 X5ID:35597, 092096/Z/10/Z

Funder: Ministry of Education; doi:


Germinal vesicle, Oocyte, Reprogramming resistant gene, Somatic cell nuclear reprogramming, Stem cell therapy, Totipotency-like stem cell, Adult, Animals, Humans, Oocytes, Stem Cell Transplantation, Cell Nucleus, Amphibians, Cellular Reprogramming, Mammals

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Biol Open

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The Company of Biologists
Cancer Research Uk (None)
Wellcome Trust (092096/Z/10/Z)
Wellcome Trust (101050/Z/13/Z)