© 2015 Pan et al. Undifferentiated stem cells are better donor cells for somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), resulting in more offspring than more differentiated cells. While various stem cell populations have been confirmed to exist in the skin, progress has been restricted due to the lack of a suitable marker for their prospective isolation. To address this fundamental issue, a marker is required that could unambiguously prove the differentiation state of the donor cells. We therefore utilized magnetic activated cell sorting (MACS) to separate a homogeneous population of small SSEA-4 < sup > + < /sup > cells from a heterogeneous population of bovine embryonic skin fibroblasts (BEF). SSEA-4 < sup > + < /sup > cells were 8-10 μm in diameter and positive for alkaline phosphatase (AP). The percentage of SSEA-4 < sup > + < /sup > cells within the cultured BEF population was low (2-3%). Immunocytochemistry and PCR analyses revealed that SSEA-4 < sup > + < /sup > cells expressed pluripotency-related markers, and could differentiate into cells comprising all three germ layers in vitro. They remained undifferentiated over 20 passages in suspension culture. In addition, cloned embryos derived from SSEA-4 cells showed significant differences in cleavage rate and blastocyst development when compared with those from BEF and SSEA-4 < sup > - < /sup > cells. Moreover, blastocysts derived from SSEA-4 < sup > + < /sup > cells showed a higher total cell number and lower apoptotic index as compared to BEF and SSEA-4 < sup > - < /sup > derived cells. It is well known that nuclei from pluripotent stem cells yield a higher cloning efficiency than those from adult somatic cells, however, pluripotent stem cells are relatively difficult to obtain from bovine. The SSEA-4 < sup > + < /sup > cells described in the current study provide an attractive candidate for SCNT and a promising platform for the generation of transgenic cattle.
Pan, S., Chen, W., Liu, X., Xiao, J., Wang, Y., Liu, J., … Zhang, Y. (2015). Application of a novel population of multipotent stem cells derived from skin fibroblasts as donor cells in bovine SCNT. PLoS ONE, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0114423