Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences (Mar 2017)

Alpha-1,3-galactosyltransferase-deficient miniature pigs produced by serial cloning using neonatal skin fibroblasts with loss of heterozygosity

  • Young June Kim,
  • Kwang Sung Ahn,
  • Minjeong Kim,
  • Min Ju Kim,
  • Jin Seop Ahn,
  • Junghyun Ryu,
  • Soon Young Heo,
  • Sang-Min Park,
  • Jee Hyun Kang,
  • You Jung Choi,
  • Hosup Shim

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 30, no. 3
pp. 439 – 445


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Objective Production of alpha-1,3-galactosyltransferase (αGT)-deficient pigs is essential to overcome xenograft rejection in pig-to-human xenotransplantation. However, the production of such pigs requires a great deal of cost, time, and labor. Heterozygous αGT knockout pigs should be bred at least for two generations to ultimately obtain homozygote progenies. The present study was conducted to produce αGT-deficient miniature pigs in much reduced time using mitotic recombination in neonatal ear skin fibroblasts. Methods Miniature pig fibroblasts were transfected with αGT gene-targeting vector. Resulting gene-targeted fibroblasts were used for nuclear transfer (NT) to produce heterozygous αGT gene-targeted piglets. Fibroblasts isolated from ear skin biopsies of these piglets were cultured for 6 to 8 passages to induce loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and treated with biotin-conjugated IB4 that binds to galactose-α-1,3-galactose, an epitope produced by αGT. Using magnetic activated cell sorting, cells with monoallelic disruption of αGT were removed. Remaining cells with LOH carrying biallelic disruption of αGT were used for the second round NT to produce homozygous αGT gene-targeted piglets. Results Monoallelic mutation of αGT gene was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction in fibroblasts. Using these cells as nuclear donors, three heterozygous αGT gene-targeted piglets were produced by NT. Fibroblasts were collected from ear skin biopsies of these piglets, and homozygosity was induced by LOH. The second round NT using these fibroblasts resulted in production of three homozygous αGT knockout piglets. Conclusion The present study demonstrates that the time required for the production of αGT-deficient miniature pigs could be reduced significantly by postnatal skin biopsies and subsequent selection of mitotic recombinants. Such procedure may be beneficial for the production of homozygote knockout animals, especially in species, such as pigs, that require a substantial length of time for breeding.