Research Papers:

Coexpression analysis identifies nuclear reprogramming barriers of somatic cell nuclear transfer embryos

Yongchun Zuo _, Guanghua Su, Lei Cheng, Kun Liu, Yu Feng, Zhuying Wei, Chunling Bai, Guifang Cao and Guangpeng Li

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:65847-65859. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19504

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Yongchun Zuo1,2,*, Guanghua Su1,*, Lei Cheng1, Kun Liu1, Yu Feng1, Zhuying Wei1, Chunling Bai1, Guifang Cao2 and Guangpeng Li1

1The Research Center for Laboratory Animal Science, College of Life Sciences, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021, China

2College of Veterinary Medicine, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University, Hohhot 010018, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Yongchun Zuo, email: [email protected]

Guangpeng Li, email: [email protected]

Keywords: somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), gene co-expression analysis, enrichment of GO category, pathway aberrant activation, reprogramming barriers

Received: April 23, 2017     Accepted: June 30, 2017     Published: July 22, 2017


The success of cloned animal “Dolly Sheep” demonstrated the somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technique holds huge potentials for mammalian asexual reproduction. However, the extremely poor development of SCNT embryos indicates their molecular mechanism remain largely unexplored. Deciphering the spatiotemporal patterns of gene expression in SCNT embryos is a crucial step toward understanding the mechanisms associated with nuclear reprogramming. In this study, a valuable transcriptome recourse of SCNT embryos was firstly established, which derived from different inter-/intra donor cells. The gene co-expression analysis identified 26 cell-specific modules, and a series of regulatory pathways related to reprogramming barriers were further enriched. Compared to the intra-SCNT embryos, the inter-SCNT embryos underwent only complete partially reprogramming. As master genome trigger genes, the transcripts related to TFIID subunit, RNA polymerase and mediators were incomplete activated in inter-SCNT embryos. The inter-SCNT embryos only wasted the stored maternal mRNA of master regulators, but failed to activate their self-sustained pathway of RNA polymerases. The KDM family of epigenetic regulator also seriously delayed in inter-SCNT embryo reprogramming process. Our study provided new insight into understanding of the mechanisms of nuclear reprogramming.

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