The extremely low efficiency of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) derivation using somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) limits its potential application. Blastocyst formation from human SCNT embryos occurs at a low rate and with only some oocyte donors. We previously showed in mice that reduction of histone H3 lysine 9 trimethylation (H3K9me3) through ectopic expression of the H3K9me3 demethylase Kdm4d greatly improves SCNT embryo development. Here we show that overexpression of a related H3K9me3 demethylase KDM4A improves human SCNT, and that, as in mice, H3K9me3 in the human somatic cell genome is an SCNT reprogramming barrier. Overexpression of KDM4A significantly improves the blastocyst formation rate in human SCNT embryos by facilitating transcriptional reprogramming, allowing efficient derivation of SCNT-derived ESCs using adult Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) patient somatic nuclei donors. This conserved mechanistic insight has potential applications for improving SCNT in a variety of contexts, including regenerative medicine.
Keywords: ESC derivation; H3K9me3; KDM4A; human; reprogramming barrier; somatic cell nuclear transfer.
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