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John Gurdon

2017 GurdonJohn Gurdon Kt DPhil DSc FRS, Distinguished Group Leader, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2012, member of the Department of Zoology.

Europe PMC | Pubmed




Nuclear reprogramming by oocytes and eggs

Can we make cell reprogramming more efficient? Our group focuses on somatic cell nuclear transfer to amphibian eggs and oocytes from two complementary points of view.

One aims to identify the molecules and mechanisms by which the cytoplasm of an egg or oocyte can reprogramme the nucleus of a differentiated somatic cell to behave like that of an embryo. From this state, many different kinds of cells for replacement can be generated.

The other aim is to identify the molecules and mechanisms that stabilise the differentiated state of somatic cells, as a result of which they resist reprogramming procedures. For these purposes we use single nuclear transfer to unfertilised eggs or multiple nuclear transfer to ovarian oocytes. We monitor changes in gene expression induced in nuclei transplanted from cells that have been modified to overexpress chromatin-changing enzymes. This involves the transplantation of single somatic nuclei to enucleated, unfertilised eggs or of multiple mammalian nuclei to the nucleus of a mature oocyte.

By this means we identify mechanisms that can convert a specialised somatic cell nucleus to an embryonic state, or that can stabilise the differentiation of normal somatic cells.

Selected publications:

• Gurdon JB (2006) From nuclear transfer to nuclear reprogramming: the reversal of cell differentiation. Ann Rev Cell Dev Biol 22, 1-22. PMID: 16704337

• Jullien J et al. (2014) Hierarchical molecular events driven by oocyte-specific factors lead to rapid and extensive reprogramming. Molecular Cell 55: 1–13.

• Miyamoto K et al.(2013) Nuclear WAVE1 is required for reprogramming transcription in oocytes and for normal development. Science 341: 1002– 1005.

 • Pasque V, Jullien J, Miyamoto K, Halley-Stott RP and Gurdon JB (2011) Genetic and epigenetic factors affecting nuclear reprogramming efficiency. Trends in Genetics, 27(12)516-525

• Narbonne P, Miyamoto K and Gurdon JB (2012) Reprogramming and development in nuclear transfer embryos and in interspecific systems. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development, 22:450-458

• Jullien J, Astrand C, Szenker E, Garrett N, Almouzni G and Gurdon JB (2012) HIRA dependent H3.3 deposition is required for transcriptional reprogramming following nuclear transfer to Xenopus oocytes. Epigenetics and Chromatin, 5:17

• Koziol MJ, Bradshaw CR, Allen GE, Costa AS, Frezza C, Gurdon JB. (2016) Identification of methylated deoxyadenosines in vertebrates reveals diversity in DNA modifications. Nat Struct Mol Biol 23(1):24-30.

Gurdon group (Nov18 to Feb19)

Video: Meet John Gurdon


Can Aztekin • Dilly Bradford • Nigel Garrett • Eva Hoermanseder • Khayam Javed • Jerome Jullien • Magda Koziol • Mami Oikawa • Chris Penfold • Manuel Trauner • Ming-Hsuan Wen