Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas-based genome editing technology has enabled manipulation of the embryonic genome. Unbiased whole genome sequencing comparing parents to progeny has revealed that the rate of Cas9-induced mutagenesis in mouse embryos is indistinguishable from the background rate of de novo mutation. However, establishing the best practice to confirm on-target alleles of interest remains a challenge. We believe that improvement in editing strategies and screening methods for founder mice will contribute to the generation of quality-controlled animals, thereby ensuring reproducibility of results in animal studies and advancing the 3Rs (replacement, reduction, and refinement).
Sequencing of 16 deletion bands following PCR from 14 founder mice for Tfr2 gene knockout
A major role of the corpus luteum (CL) is to produce progesterone (P4). The CL has immature vasculature shortly after ovulation, suggesting it exists under hypoxic conditions. To elucidate the mechanism involved in regulation of luteal cell function during CL development, we compared the effect of hypoxia on P4 production by cultured bovine early and mid luteal cells. Luteal cells obtained from early and mid CL were incubated under different O2 concentrations (20% and 3%) with or without hCG (1 U/ml) for 6 h and 24 h. After 6 h of culture in the presence of hCG, P4 production was not affected by hypoxia whereas decrease in its production by mid luteal cells was observed. After 24 h of culture, P4 production was significantly decreased by hypoxia in both stages of luteal cells regardless of the use of hCG. At 6 h of culture, hypoxia increased mRNA expression of hydroxyl-Δ-5-steroid dehydrogenase, 3β- and steroid Δ-isomerase 1 (HSD3B1) in early luteal cells, and decreased mRNA expression of cytochrome P450 cholesterol side chain cleavage (CYP11A1) enzyme in mid luteal cells. At 24 h of culture, mRNA expressions of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (STAR), CYP11A1, and HSD3B1 were not affected by hypoxia in both stages of luteal cells. The overall results suggest that early luteal cells maintain P4 production under hypoxic conditions, and hypoxia-induced HSD3B1 may support this P4 production in the bovine early CL.
Effects of hypoxia on P4 production by bovine early and mid luteal cells
Mammalian oocyte quality degrades over time after ovulation in vitro, which can cause fatal defects such as chromosomal aneuploidy. As various oocyte manipulations employed in assisted reproductive technology are time consuming, post-ovulatory aging is a serious problem to overcome in reproductive medicine or ova research. In this study, we investigated the effects of postovulatory aging on the incidence of chromosome aneuploidy during meiosis II, with a focus on the expression of functional proteins from the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC). Chromosome analysis was used to assess the rate of aneuploidy in in vitro aged oocytes, or in early embryos derived from aged oocytes. Immunofluorescent staining was used to detect the localization of MAD2, which is a SAC signal that monitors the correct segregation of sister chromatids. Immunoblotting was used to quantify cohesin subunits, which are adhesion factors connecting sister chromatids at the metaphase II (MII) centromere. It was shown that post-ovulatory oocyte aging inhibits MAD2 localization to the sister kinetochore. Furthermore, oocyte aging prevented cohesin subunits from being maintained or degraded at the appropriate time. These data suggest that the destabilization of SAC signaling causes sister chromatid segregation errors in MII oocytes, and consequently increases the incidence of aneuploidy in early embryos. Our findings have provided distinct evidence that the post-ovulatory aging of oocytes might also be a risk factor for aneuploidy, irrespective of maternal age.
Comparison of expression levels of cohesin subunits, securin and CDC20 in mouse oocytes
FXR (farnesoid X receptor) is mainly present in enterohepatic tissues and regulates cholesterol, lipid, and glucose homeostasis in coordination with target genes such as SHP and FABP6. Although FXR has been revealed to be expressed in reproductive tissues, FXR function and expression levels in the ovary remain unknown. In this study, we investigated FXR expression in mouse ovaries and its target genes in ovarian granulosa cells. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical staining showed that FXR was mainly distributed in secondary and tertiary follicles. The agonist-induced activation of FXR in cultured granulosa cells induced the expression of SHP and FABP6, while siRNA targeting of FXR decreased CYP19a1 and HSD17b1 expression. Upon examination of the roles of SHP and FABP6 in granulosa cells, we found that SHP overexpression significantly decreased StAR, CYP11a1, and HSD3b gene expression. In addition, siRNA targeting of FABP6 decreased CYP19a1 and HSD17b1 expression, while FABP6 overexpression increased CYP19a1 expression. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates the presence of FXR signaling in the ovary and reveals that FXR signaling may have a role in function of granulosa cells.
Distribution of FXR in mouse ovaries, detected by in situ hybridization (A, B, and C) and immunohistochemical staining (D, E, and F)
Pterostilbene (PTS) in blueberries is a phytoalexin with antioxidant properties. PTS exerts strong cytoprotective effects on various cells via Nuclear Factor Erythroid 2 like 2 (NFE2L2) pathway. We evaluated the antioxidant PTS treatment in mouse preimplantation embryos. In vitro culture media were supplemented with different concentrations of PTS. Treatment of zygotes with 0.25 μM PTS improved the development of day 4 blastocysts (P < 0.05). Moreover, H2O2 treatment significantly increased the reactive oxygen species level and reduced the glutathione level in mouse blastocyst, whereas PTS treatment counteracted these effects. The fluorescence intensity of apoptotic positive cell was higher in the H2O2 group than in the PTS group. Furthermore, PTS-treated embryos significantly increased the protein expression of NFE2L2 in the nucleus and decreased Kelch-like ECH-associated protein1 (KEAP1). PTS treatment significantly increased the expression of downstream target genes involved in the NFE2L2 pathway, such as catalase (CAT), heme oxygenase1 (HMOX1), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), and superoxide dismutase (SOD); these genes confer cellular protection. In addition, PTS treatment significantly increased the expression of anti-apoptotic B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2), with a concomitant reduction in the apoptotic Bcl-2-associated X protein (BAX) and Caspase-3 genes in the embryo. PTS treatment also increased the protein expression of BCL2 and reduced the protein expression of BAX in the mouse embryo. In conclusion, PTS activated NFE2L2 signaling pathway in the development of mouse embryos by altering downstream expression of genes involved in the antioxidant mechanisms and apoptosis.
Effect of PTS treatment on expressions of NFE2L2 downstream genes in mouse embryo cultured in the different treated group
Polypyrimidine tract-binding protein 1 (PTBP1) is a highly conserved RNA-binding protein that is a well-known regulator of alternative splicing. Testicular tissue is one of the richest tissues with respect to the number of alternative splicing mRNA isoforms, but the molecular role(s) of PTBP1 in the regulation of these isoforms during spermatogenesis is still unclear. Here, we developed a germ cell–specific Ptbp1 conditional knockout (cKO) mouse model by using the Cre-loxP system to investigate the role of PTBP1 in spermatogenesis. Testis weight in Ptbp1 cKO mice was comparable to that in age-matched controls until 3 weeks of age; at ≥ 2 months old, testis weight was significantly lighter in cKO mice than in age-matched controls. Sperm count in Ptbp1 cKO mice at 2 months old was comparable to that in controls, whereas sperm count significantly decreased at 6 months old. Seminiferous tubules that exhibited degeneration in spermatogenic function were more evident in the 2-month-old Ptbp1 cKO mice than in controls. In addition, the early neonatal proliferation of spermatogonia, during postnatal days 1–5, was significantly retarded in Ptbp1 cKO mice compared with that in controls. An in vitro spermatogonia culture model (germline stem cells) revealed that hydroxytamoxifen-induced deletion of PTBP1 from germline stem cells caused severe proliferation arrest accompanied by an increase of apoptotic cell death. These data suggest that PTBP1 contributes to spermatogenesis through regulation of spermatogonia proliferation.
Loss of Ptbp1 reduces proliferation of spermatogonia during neonatal period
(Upper Immunohistochemical analysis of germ cell distribution in control (top) and a Ptbp1 conditional knockout (cKO) (bottom) mouse during the neonatal period. (Lower) Ratio of tubules without germ cells.
The objective of this study was to determine if there are differences in luteal size (LS), progesterone (P4), and luteal blood flow (LBF) between pregnant and non-pregnant Bos indicus dairy cows during the first three weeks after insemination, and whether these parameters are related to each other. Lactating cows (n = 13) of mixed parity with a body weight of 430 ± 18 kg (mean ± SD), showing regular estrous cycle were used in the study. All cows were artificially inseminated and were classified as pregnant (embryonic heartbeat on day 30; n = 8) or non-pregnant (inter-estrus interval 17 to 21 days, n = 5). In order to compare the LS and LBF after artificial insemination, B-mode and color Doppler ultrasonography of ovaries were performed on days 4, 5, 6, 7 (first week), 8, 10, 12, 14, (second week), and 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 (third week) in pregnant and non-pregnant cows. Results revealed that the mean LBF was consistently higher (P < 0.05) during days 7 through 21 in pregnant cows than in non-pregnant cows. The mean LS was higher (P < 0.05) on days 6 and 7, and from day 17 onwards, and the mean concentration of P4 was higher (P < 0.05) on days 19, 20, and 21 in pregnant cows. In conclusion, LBF is a more sensitive parameter than LS and P4 for detection of differences in luteal function between pregnant and non-pregnant Bos indicus dairy cows during the first three weeks after AI.
(A) Represents the absolute changes in luteal size (LS), concentration of progesterone (P4), and luteal blood flow (LBF) of non-pregnant Bos indicus dairy cows (n = 5) and (B) signifies the relationships of LS, P4, and LBF in pregnant cows (n = 8). Different letters indicate significant differences between the respective days.
Tie-stall housing inhibits movement in cows, thereby restricting the behavioral indicators used by farmers for detecting estrous. In this study, we investigated the changes in patterns of lying and standing times at estrous, and evaluated the potential for automated detection of estrous within tie-stalls using a barometer and accelerometer. On estrous days, total daily standing time was significantly longer than that during non-estrous days (P < 0.05). A practical method was developed for detecting slight altitude changes using a novel device, which consisted of a barometer and accelerometer, and was attached to the neckband. Total daily standing time predicted using this new device was found to be highly correlative with the observed measured data (r = 0.95, P < 0.01), indicating the accuracy of the device in measuring daily standing time in tie-stall housed cows. In addition, the device detected an overall increase in total daily standing time during estrous days.
Soy-based formula contains high concentrations of the isoflavone genistein. Genistein possesses estrogenic and tyrosine kinase inhibitory activity and interferes with cellular proliferation and development. To date, the acute and chronic effects of genistein on ovarian and uterine development have not been fully elucidated. In this study, mice at postnatal day 1 were subcutaneously injected with 100 mg/kg genistein for 10 consecutive days, and then their ovaries and uteri were collected on days 10, 21, and 90. Histological evaluation was performed after hematoxylin and eosin staining. The proliferating activity was indicated by the proliferating indicator protein Ki67. Results showed that the subcutaneous injection of genistein to neonatal mice induced the formation of multi-oocyte follicles and delayed the primordial follicle assembly in the ovaries. Genistein significantly enlarged the cross-sectional area of the uterine cavity and wall and disrupted the regularity between the uterine stroma and myometrium. Genistein exposure inhibited proliferative activity because fewer Ki67-positive nuclei were detected in ovarian and uterine cell populations than in the control. Furthermore, most ovaries from adult mice given neonatal genistein were without corpora lutea, and there appeared to be cystic follicles and hypertrophy of the theca, and cortical and medullary layers. Considering the high concentration of isoflavone in soy-based infant formulas and livestock feed, we suggest that the use of isoflavone-rich diets in humans and livestock receive closer examination.
Mouse trophoblast stem cells (TSCs) have been established and maintained using hyperglycemic conditions (11 mM glucose) for no apparent good reason. Because glucose metabolites are used as resources for cellular energy production, biosynthesis, and epigenetic modifications, differences in extracellular glucose levels may widely affect cellular function. Since the hyperglycemic culture conditions used for TSC culture have not been fully validated, the effect of extracellular glucose levels on the properties of TSCs remains unclear. To address this issue, we investigated the gene expression of stemness-related transcription factors in TSCs cultured in the undifferentiated state under various glucose concentrations. We also examined the expression of trophoblast subtype markers during differentiation, after returning the glucose concentration to the conventional culture concentration (11 mM). As a result, it appeared that the extracellular glucose conditions in the stem state not only affected the gene expression of stemness-related transcription factors before differentiation but also affected the expression of marker genes after differentiation, with some line-to-line variation. In the TS4 cell line, which showed the largest glucose concentration-dependent fluctuations in gene expression among all the lines examined, low glucose (1 mM glucose, LG) augmented H3K27me3 levels. An Ezh2 inhibitor prevented these LG-induced changes in gene expression, suggesting the possible involvement of H3K27me3 in the changes in gene expression seen in LG. These results collectively indicate that the response of the TSCs to the change in the extracellular glucose concentration is cell line-dependent and a part of which may be epigenetically memorized.