Mechanisms for the reprogramming of somatic cell nuclei by eggs and oocytes


  • Prof Sir John Gurdon

    University of Cambridge

Project summary

Eggs have a remarkable ability to rejuvenate the nucleus of a differentiated (or adult) cell to provide a source of normal embryonic stem cells. Such cells have enormous potential for making disease-specific cultured cells for drug testing and possibly for cell replacement therapy. Nuclear transfer to eggs and transcription-factor-induced pluripotency are routes by which this rejuvenation of differentiated cells, and hence somatic cell reprogramming, can be achieved. Professor Gurdon will investigate which natural components of eggs and oocytes can achieve nuclear reprogramming and how differentiated cells resist reprogramming. It is hoped that examining the mechanisms by which differentiated cells are stable and resist reprogramming will help to explain the processes that, when defective, can lead to disease or cancer.