Our research interests focus on important questions of reproduction, stem cells and embryology in primate species. It mainly includes somatic cell nuclear transfer and cell reprogramming, embryonic stem cell pluripotency, germ cell differentiation, spermatogonia stem cell and reproductive endocrine. These studies will provide new potential transgenic technologies for non-human primates and new solutions for human reproductive barriers.
1.Cell reprogramming mechanism study and efficiency improvement in monkey somatic cell nuclear transfer.
As a promising method, SCNT could be used for generating identical gene-modified monkeys without mosaicism. We have reported the first clone monkeys by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) in previous study. However, the efficiency of monkey SCNT is still low and the cell reprogramming mechanism need to be further clarified.
2.New transgenic technologies development in monkeys.
Embryonic stem cell blastocyst injection, germ cell differentiation, and spermatogonia stem cell mediated transgene have been proven feasible in mouse. However, no monkey offspring was generated using above methods. We will use monkey model to explore the issues of monkey naïve pluripotent stem cells (ESc), haploid germ cell differentiation, and the in vitro culture of monkey spermatogonia stem cell. Finally we will apply these methods in generating gene-modified monkey models.
3.Neurobiological mechanism of puberty onset in primates.
Puberty is a developmental phase during which reproduction ability obtained gradually and it is initiated by the emergence of pulsatile GnRH secretion. GnRH neurons are active with GnRH pulse generation at birth for a short time, then the GnRH neurons enter a dormant state by upstream inhibitors in the prepubertal period. However, the mechanism of the upstream inhibition is not clear. What’s more, factors determine the timing to remove inhibition and trigger the puberty onset is not clear. Monkeys have similar reproductive physiology with human beings. Recent developed gene-editing and transgenic technologies in monkeys provide a opportunity to explore this important issue.