• Nuclear Transfer Techniques;
  • Nuclear reprogramming;
  • Alleles;
  • Embryonic stem cells;
  • Tetraploidy;
  • Oct4;
  • Pou5f1


The conversion of the nuclear program of a somatic cell from a differentiated to an undifferentiated state can be accomplished by transplanting its nucleus to an enucleated oocyte (somatic cell nuclear transfer [SCNT]) in a process termed “reprogramming.” This process achieves pluripotency and occasionally also totipotency. Exploiting the obstacle of tetraploidy to full development in mammals, we show that mouse ooplasts transplanted with two somatic nuclei simultaneously (double SCNT) support preimplantation development and derivation of novel tetraploid SCNT embryonic stem cells (tNT-ESCs). Although the double SCNT embryos do not recapitulate the expression pattern of the pluripotency-associated gene Oct4 in fertilized embryos, derivative tNT-ESCs have characteristics of genuine pluripotency: in vitro they differentiate into neurons, cardiomyocytes, and endodermal cells; in vivo, tNT-ESCs form teratomas, albeit at reduced rates compared to diploid counterparts. Global transcriptome analysis revealed only few specific alterations, for example, in the quantitative expression of gastrulation-associated genes. In conclusion, we have shown that the oocyte's reprogramming capacity is in excess of a single nucleus and that double nucleus-transplanted embryos and derivative ESCs are very similar to their diploid counterparts. These results have key implications for reprogramming studies based on pluripotency: while reprogramming in the tetraploid state was known from fusion-mediated reprogramming and from fetal and adult hepatocyte-derived induced pluripotent stem cells, we have now accomplished it with enucleated oocytes. Stem Cells 2013;31:2343–2353