The efficiency of nuclear transfer (NT) using two primary cultures of fetal fibroblasts (FF1 and FF2) was compared vs. the same cultures transfected with an expression vector in which the bovine prochymosin coding sequence is placed under the control of the bovine alpha(S1)-casein promoter (TFF1 and TFF2). In addition, fibroblasts of a cloned transgenic fetus (TRFF1) derived from TFF1 and ear skin fibroblasts of a 1-month-old cloned transgenic calf (TRCF1) derived from TRFF1 were used as nuclear donors. Embryos reconstructed from FF1 (44%) and FF2 (52%) developed to the blastocyst stage at a significantly (P < 0.05) higher rate than those derived from TFF1 (24%) and TFF2 (27%). The proportions of cleaved embryos and blastocysts were significantly (P < 0.05) higher with TRFF1 than with TRCF1 used as nuclear donors (75 vs. 66% and 33 vs. 16%, respectively). Transfer of NT embryos derived from FF2 and TFF2 to recipients resulted in similar pregnancy rates on day 30 (52 and 48%, respectively). However, with TFF2 embryos, the majority of pregnancies (8/11; 73%) was lost in the first and second trimesters of gestation, whereas 4/11 (36%) pregnancies with FF2 embryos were lost during the full period of in vivo development. Of 11 FF2 and 6 TFF2 born calves (25 and 13% of transferred embryos, respectively), 6 and 3 survived including one oversized FF2 calf. After transfer of TRFF1 and TRCF1 NT embryos to recipients, initial pregnancy rate was as a tendency higher in the TRFF1 (49%) than in the TRCF1 group (30%). The majority (14/17) of TRFF1 pregnancies and all TRCF1 pregnancies were lost in the first and second trimester. A high proportion of TRFF1 calves (5/8) showed increased body weights, and only two calves which were also large survived. These findings demonstrate that (i) extended culture associated with transfection and selection procedures may induce changes of donor cells which markedly decrease the efficiency of nuclear transfer and (ii) these changes are not reversed by recloning.
Animals Animals, Genetically Modified Cattle Clone Cells Cloning, Organism/methods* Embryo Transfer Embryonic and Fetal Development Female Fetus/cytology Fibroblasts/cytology Nuclear Transfer Techniques* Pregnancy Transfection