Active DNA repair pathways are crucial for preserving genomic integrity and are likely among the complex mechanisms involved in the normal development of preimplantation embryos. MicroRNAs (miRNA), short non-coding RNAs, are key regulators of gene expression through the post-transcriptional and post-translational modification of mRNA. The association of miRNA expression with infertility or polycystic ovarian syndrome has been widely investigated; however, there are limited data regarding the importance of miRNA regulation in DNA repair during preimplantation embryo development. In this article, we review normal miRNA biogenesis and consequences of aberrant miRNA expression in the regulation of DNA repair in gametes and preimplantation embryos.
The aim of the present study was to examine the fertilization ability and mitochondrial function of oocytes derived from cows with or without liver damage. Oocytes were collected from the ovaries of cows with damaged livers (DL) and those of cows with healthy livers (HL), subjected to in vitro maturation, and fertilized in vitro. A significantly high abnormal fertilization rate was observed for oocytes from DL cows compared to oocytes from HL cows. The time to dissolve the zona pellucida by protease before fertilization was similar between the two liver conditions, whereas after fertilization treatment this time was shorter for DL cows than for HL cows. The percentage of oocytes with equivalent cortical granule distributions underneath the membrane was greater for in vitro matured oocytes from HL cows, whereas an immature distribution pattern was observed for oocytes from DL cows. In addition, a greater percentage of oocytes derived from HL cows released cortical granules following fertilization compared with oocytes from DL cows. Mitochondrial function determined by ATP content and membrane potential were similar at the germinal vesicle stage, but post-in vitro maturation, the oocytes derived from HL cows showed higher values than DL cows. The mitochondrial DNA copy number in oocytes was similar between the two liver conditions for both the germinal vesicle and post-in vitro maturation oocytes. In conclusion, liver damage induces low fertilization, likely because of incomplete cortical granule distribution and release, and the maturation of oocytes from DL cows contain low-functioning mitochondria compared to their HL counterparts.
The LIM-homeobox transcription factors LHX2 and LHX3s (LHX3a and LHX3b) are thought to be involved in regulating the pituitary glycoprotein hormone subunit genes Cga and Fshβ. These two factors show considerable differences in their amino acid sequences for DNA binding and protein-protein interactions and in their vital function in pituitary development. Hence, we compared the DNA binding properties and transcriptional activities of Cga and Fshβ between LHX2 and LHX3s. A gel mobility shift assay for approximately 1.1 kb upstream of Cga and 2.0 kb upstream of Fshβ varied in binding profiles between LHX2 and LHX3s. DNase I footprinting revealed DNA binding sites in 8 regions of the Cga promoter for LHX2 and LHX3s with small differences in the binding range and strength. In the Fshβ promoter, 14 binding sites were identified for LHX2 and LHX3, respectively. There were alternative binding sites to either gene in addition to similar differences observed in the Cga promoter. The transcriptional activities of LHX2 and LHX3s according to a reporter assay showed cell-type dependent activity with repression in the pituitary gonadotrope lineage LβT2 cells and stimulation in Chinese hamster ovary lineage CHO cells. Reactivity of LHX2 and LHX3s was observed in all regions, and differences were observed in the 5'-upstream region of Fshβ. However, immunohistochemistry showed that LHX2 resides in a small number of gonadotropes in contrast to LHX3. Thus, LHX3 mainly controls Cga and Fshβ expression.
Gangliosides are key lipid molecules required for the regulation of cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, and cell signaling, including signaling of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Epidermal growth factor (EGF) has long been considered a potential regulator of meiotic and cytoplasmic maturation in mammalian oocytes. However, there is no report on the direct effect of ganglioside GD1a in porcine oocyte maturation. In this study, we first investigated a functional link between GD1a and meiotic maturation during in vitro maturation (IVM) of porcine embryos. Moreover, we confirmed the effect of exogenous GD1a treatment on blastocyst development, quality, and fertilization rate in early embryonic development. First, we observed that the protein level of ST3GAL2, a GD1a synthesizing enzyme, significantly increased (P < 0.01) in cumulus-oocyte-complexes (COCs) during IVM progress. The proportion of arrested germinal vesicles (GV) increased in oocytes treated with EGF+GD1a (41.6 ± 1.5%) at the IVM I stage. Upon completion of meiotic maturation, the proportion of metaphase II (M II) was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in the EGF+GD1a (89.9 ± 3.6%) treated group. After IVF, the percentage of penetrated oocytes was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in the EGF+GD1a (89.1 ± 2.3%) treated group than in the control group. Furthermore, exogenous GD1a treatment improved the developmental competence and quality of blastocysts during preimplantation embryo development stage. These results suggest that ganglioside GD1a may play an important role in IVM mechanisms of porcine maturation capacity. Furthermore, our findings will be helpful for better promoting the embryo development and blastocyst quality in pigs.
Plasma Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) concentration correlates positively with age, and negatively with self-rated health in women, and optimal MIF concentration may promote proper reproductive function. This study was conducted to evaluate the hypotheses that plasma MIF concentration changes with parturition or postpartum first ovulation, and that age in months and parity correlate with plasma MIF concentration in Japanese black cows. Western blotting utilizing an anti-MIF mouse monoclonal antibody of various tissues and plasma from females indicated that MIF expression was stronger in the anterior pituitary than in other tissues. We developed a competitive EIA utilizing the same anti-MIF mouse monoclonal antibody with sufficient sensitivity and reliable performance for measuring bovine plasma samples. We then measured MIF concentrations in bovine plasma collected from 4 weeks before parturition to 4 weeks after postpartum first ovulation. There was no significant difference in plasma MIF concentration pre- and post-parturition, or before and after the postpartum first ovulation. Plasma MIF concentrations were positively correlated (P < 0.01) with parity (r = 0.703), age in months on the day of parturition (r = 0.647), and age in months on the day of the postpartum first ovulation (r = 0.553) when we used almost all data, except for that from a third-parity cow with an abnormally high plasma MIF concentration. We therefore concluded that plasma MIF concentrations may increase with age in months and parity, but do not change either before and after parturition or before and after postpartum first ovulation in Japanese black cows.
DNA uptake in the post-acrosomal region of the spermatozoa takes place exclusively in immotile spermatozoa that are naturally unable to fertilize eggs. The present study aimed to assess whether passive transmission of non-viral vectors to the surrounding areas of chicken embryos could be an alternate mechanism in chicken sperm-mediated gene transfer. First, the presence of nucleases in rooster seminal plasma was evaluated. Semen ejaculates from five roosters were centrifuged and the supernatant was incubated with pBL2 for 1 h. A robust nuclease cocktail was detected in the rooster semen. To overcome these nucleases, plasmid-TransIT combinations were incubated with semen for 1 h. Incubation of exogenous DNA in the lipoplex structure could considerably bypass the semen nuclease effect. Then, intravaginal insemination of 1 × 109 sperm mixed with lipoplexes (40 µg pBL2:40 µl TransIT) was carried out in 15 virgin hens. Neither the epithelial tissue from the inseminated female reproductive tracts nor the produced embryos following artificial insemination showed the transgene. To remove any bias in the transgene transmission possibility, the plasmid-TransIT admixture was directly injected in close vicinity of the embryos in newly laid eggs. Nonetheless, none of the produced fetuses or chicks carried the transgene. In conclusion, the results of the present study revealed a nuclease admixture in rooster seminal plasma, and passive/active transmission of the non-viral vector into close vicinity of the chicken embryo was inefficient for producing transgenic chicks.
Endometrial modulation is essential for the preservation of normal uterine physiology, and this modulation is driven by a number of growth factors. The present study investigated the mitogenic, motogenic, and morphogenic effects of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) on rat endometrial epithelial (REE) cells. The REE cells were isolated and cultured and then characterized based on their morphology and their expression of epithelial cell markers. The MTT assay revealed that EGF and HGF induce proliferation of REE cells. Consistent with increased proliferation, we found that the cell cycle regulatory factor Cyclin D1 was also upregulated upon EGF and HGF addition. REE cell migration was prompted by EGF, as observed with the Oris Cell Migration Assay. The morphogenic impact of growth factors on REE cells was studied in a three-dimensional BD Matrigel cell culture system, wherein these growth factors also increased the frequency of lumen formation. In summary, we show that EGF and HGF have a stimulatory effect on REE cells, promoting proliferation, cell migration, and lumen formation. Our findings provide important insights that further the understanding of endometrial regeneration and its regulation.
An increasing number of reports indicate that in vitro fertilization (IVF) is highly associated with long‑term side effects on embryonic and postnatal development, and can sometimes result in embryonic implant failure. While high‑throughput gene expression analysis has been used to explore the mechanisms underlying IVF-induced side effects on embryonic development, little is known about the effects of IVF on conceptus–endometrial interactions during the peri-implantation period. Using sheep as a model, we performed a comparative transcriptome analysis between in vivo (IVO; in vivo fertilized followed by further development in the uterus) and in vitro produced (IVP; IVF with further culture in the incubator) conceptuses, and the caruncular and intercaruncular areas of the ovine endometrium. We identified several genes that were differentially expressed between the IVO and IVP groups on day 17, when adhesion between the trophoblast and the uterine luminal epithelium begins in sheep. By performing Gene Ontology enrichment analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis, we found that, in the conceptus, differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were associated mainly with functions relating to cell binding and the cell cycle. In the endometrial caruncular area, DEGs were involved in cell adhesion/migration and apoptosis, and in the intercaruncular area, they were significantly enriched in pathways of signal transduction and transport. Thus, these DEGs are potential candidates for further exploring the mechanism underlying IVF/IVP-induced embryonic implant failure that occurs due to a loss of interaction between the conceptus and endometrium during the peri-implantation period.
The aim of the present study was to investigate nutritional and metabolic parameters during the dry and early postpartum periods of ovulatory and anovulatory cows, as well as their postpartum reproductive performance. Blood samples from 20 multiparous Holstein cows were collected once a week from the far-off dry period to 3 weeks postpartum. Early postpartum (0–3 weeks) ovulation was confirmed using plasma progesterone concentration profiles, and cows were considered ovulatory if they had resumed luteal activity by this point (n = 9), whereas cows that had not were considered anovulatory (n = 11). Data from the ovulatory and anovulatory cows were analyzed separately for the far-off dry period (7–4 weeks prepartum), the close-up dry period (3–1 weeks prepartum), and the early postpartum period (0–3 weeks). Serum gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase activity (far-off, P = 0.065; close-up, P = 0.051; and early postpartum, P = 0.030) and aspartate aminotransferase (close-up, P = 0.050 and early postpartum, P = 0.087) activities were higher in anovulatory than in ovulatory cows. The days open period was longer (P = 0.019) in anovulatory than in ovulatory cows, and the number of artificial inseminations per conception (P = 0.025) was greater. In conclusion, we found that continuously high gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase activities in serum, which may be induced by liver disorders, prevent subsequent ovulation and affect subsequent fertility, even if cows obtain sufficient ovulation-related energy and β-carotene.
Liver receptor homolog 1 (Lrh1, also known as Nr5a2) belongs to the orphan nuclear receptor superfamily and has diverse functions in development, metabolism, and cell differentiation and death. Lrh1 regulates the expression of Oct4, which is a key factor of early embryonic differentiation. However, the role of Lrh1 in early development of mammalian embryo is unknown. In the present study, the localization, Lrh1 mRNA expression, and LRH1 protein levels in porcine early parthenotes were examined by immunofluorescence and real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. To determine the role of Lrh1 in porcine early embryo development, the parthenotes were treated with the specific LRH1 antagonist 505601. The immunofluorescence signal for LRH1 was only observed in the nucleus of blastocysts. The blastocyst developmental rate in the presence of 50 and 100 μM 505601 was significantly lower than that in the control group. The blastocyst hatching rate was also reduced in the presence of 50 and 100 μM 505601 than that under control conditions. The latter effect was possibly due to the decreased expression of hatching-related genes such as Fn1, Itgα5, and Cox2 upon the inhibition of Lrh1. Incubation with the LRH1 antagonist also increased the number of apoptotic cells among the blastocysts. Moreover, LRH1 inhibition enhanced the expression of the pro-apoptotic genes Bax and Casp3, and reduced the expression of the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl2. Lrh1 inhibition also led to significant decrease in the expression levels of Oct4 mRNA and octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (OCT4) protein in the blastocysts. In conclusion, Lrh1 affects blastocyst formation and hatching in porcine embryonic development through the regulation of OCT4 expression and cell apoptosis.
Mouse testes contain several isoforms of cytoplasmic poly(A)-binding proteins (PABPCs), including ubiquitous PABPC1 and testis-specific PABPC2/PABPt. PABPC2 is characterized by its absence from translationally active polyribosomes and elongating spermatids. To elucidate the function of PABPC2 in spermatogenesis, we produced mutant mice lacking PABPC2. The PABPC2-null mice showed normal fertility. The processes of spermatogenesis and sperm migration in the testes and epididymides, respectively, were normal in the mutant mice. When the involvement of PABPC2 in translational regulation of haploid-specific mRNAs was examined, these mRNAs were correctly transcribed in round spermatids and translated in elongating spermatids. Moreover, immunoblot analysis revealed low abundance of PABPC2 relative to PABPC1 in spermatogenic cells. These results suggest that PABPC2 may be either functionally redundant with other PABPCs (including PABPC1) or largely dispensable for translational regulation during spermiogenesis.
Mouse trophoblast stem cells (TSCs) form colonies of different sizes and morphologies, which might reflect their degrees of differentiation. Therefore, each colony type can have a characteristic gene expression profile; however, the expression levels of internal reference genes may also change, causing fluctuations in their estimated gene expression levels. In this study, we validated seven housekeeping genes by using a geometric averaging method and identified Gapdh as the most stable gene across different colony types. Indeed, when Gapdh was used as the reference, expression levels of Elf5, a TSC marker gene, stringently classified TSC colonies into two groups: a high expression groups consisting of type 1 and 2 colonies, and a lower expression group consisting of type 3 and 4 colonies. This clustering was consistent with our putative classification of undifferentiated/differentiated colonies based on their time-dependent colony transitions. By contrast, use of an unstable reference gene (Rn18s) allowed no such clear classification. Cdx2, another TSC marker, did not show any significant colony type-specific expression pattern irrespective of the reference gene. Selection of stable reference genes for quantitative gene expression analysis might be critical, especially when cell lines consisting of heterogeneous cell populations are used.