Impeding Xist Expression from the Active X Chromosome Improves Mouse Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer

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Science  16 Sep 2010:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1194174


Cloning mammals by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is highly inefficient because of erroneous reprogramming of the donor genome. Reprogramming errors appear to arise randomly, but the nature of nonrandom, SCNT-specific errors remains elusive. We found that Xist, a noncoding RNA that inactivates one of the two X chromosomes in females, was ectopically expressed from the active X (Xa) chromosome in cloned mouse embryos of both sexes. Deletion of Xist on Xa showed in normal global gene expression and resulted in about an 8- to 9-fold increase in cloning efficiency. We also identified an Xist-independent mechanism that specifically downregulated a subset of X-linked genes through somatic-type repressive histone blocks. Thus, we have identified nonrandom reprogramming errors in mouse cloning that can be altered to improve the efficiency of SCNT methods.