Journal of Reproduction and Development
Online ISSN : 1348-4400
Print ISSN : 0916-8818
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Opinions and Hypotheses
SRD Innovative Technology Award 2017
  • Takehito KANEKO
    Type: SRD Innovative Technology Award 2017
    Volume 64 (2018) Issue 3 Pages 209-215
    Released: June 22, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: April 14, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Many types of mutant and genetically engineered strains have been produced in various animal species. Their numbers have dramatically increased in recent years, with new strains being rapidly produced using genome editing techniques. In the rat, it has been difficult to produce knockout and knock-in strains because the establishment of stem cells has been insufficient. However, a large number of knockout and knock-in strains can currently be produced using genome editing techniques, including zinc-finger nuclease (ZFN), transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN), and the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) system. Microinjection technique has also contributed widely to the production of various kinds of genome edited animal strains. A novel electroporation method, the “Technique for Animal Knockout system by Electroporation (TAKE)” method, is a simple and highly efficient tool that has accelerated the production of new strains. Gamete preservation is extremely useful for maintaining large numbers of these valuable strains as genetic resources in the long term. These reproductive technologies, including microinjection, TAKE method, and gamete preservation, strongly support biomedical research and the bio-resource banking of animal models. In this review, we introduce the latest reproductive technologies used for the production of genetically engineered animals, especially rats, using genome editing techniques and the efficient maintenance of valuable strains as genetic resources. These technologies can also be applied to other laboratory animals, including mice, and domestic and wild animal species.

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SRD Young Investigator Award 2017
  • Satoshi TSUKAMOTO, Takayuki TATSUMI
    Type: SRD Young Investigator Award 2017
    Volume 64 (2018) Issue 3 Pages 217-222
    Released: June 22, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: April 26, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    During oogenesis, oocytes accumulate a large set of proteins derived from the maternal genome. These proteins, known as maternal proteins, are not only required for oocyte maturation and fertilization, but also implicated in subsequent embryonic development. However, most maternal proteins are degraded and their amino acid components are utilized for newly synthesized proteins from the embryonic genome. This process is known as the oocyte-to-embryo transition; because it occurs over a short period, mechanisms involving massive degradation of maternal proteins have been proposed. Intracellular protein degradation mechanisms can be broadly classified into two types. The first is the ubiquitin–proteasome system, a highly selective pathway in which ubiquitylated proteins are degraded by proteasomes. The second mechanism is autophagy, which involves lysosome-mediated degradation of cytoplasmic components. In this review, we describe recent advances in the understanding of autophagy, focusing on its role in early embryonic development.

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Original Article
  • Dong-Mei SU, Ying FENG, Lin WANG, Yi-Lun WU, Ren-shan GE, Xue MA
    Type: Original Article
    Volume 64 (2018) Issue 3 Pages 223-231
    Released: June 22, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: March 06, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Leydig cells are the main endogenous testosterone synthesis cells in the body. Testosterone is an essential hormone in males that affects metabolism, emotion, and pubertal development. However, little is known about the development of Leydig cells and relationship between fetal Leydig cells (FLCs) and adult Leydig cells (ALCs). The aims of this study were to investigate the effect of (FLCs) on ALC development. Our study showed that FLCs in neonatal rat testis can be eliminated by 100 mg/kg ethane dimethane sulfonate (EDS) treatment without affecting the health of newborn rats. Immunohistological results showed that eliminating FLCs led to early re-generation of the ALC population (progenitor Leydig cells [PLCs] and ALCs) accompanied at first by increased and then by decreased serum testosterone, indicating that ALCs which appeared after neonatal EDS treatment were degenerated or had attenuated functions. Our results showed that FLCs were eliminated 4 days after EDS treatment, the ALC population regenerated by 21 days, and serum testosterone levels dramatically decreased at 56 days. Collectively, our results indicate that the ablation of FLCs in neonatal rat results in abnormal development of ALCs. Our study further indicates that abnormal development of Leydig cells in the fetal stage leads to steroid hormone disorders, such as testosterone deficiency, in the adult stage. Therefore, studies of Leydig cell development are important for understanding the pathogenesis of testosterone deficiency or pubertas praecox.

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  • Satoshi SUGIMURA, Tadayuki YAMANOUCHI, Maria Grazia PALMERINI, Yutaka ...
    Type: Original Article
    Volume 64 (2018) Issue 3 Pages 233-241
    Released: June 22, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: March 02, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The administration of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) prior to oocyte retrieval improves oocyte developmental competence. During bovine embryo production in vitro, however, oocytes are typically derived from FSH-unprimed animals. In the current study, we examined the effect of pre-in vitro maturation (IVM) with cAMP modulators, also known as the second messengers of FSH, on the developmental competence of oocytes derived from small antral follicles (2–4 mm) of FSH-unprimed animals. Pre-IVM with N6,2ʹ-O-dibutyryladenosine 3′,5′-cyclicmonophosphate (dbcAMP) and 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) for 2 h improved the blastocyst formation in oocytes stimulated by FSH or amphiregulin (AREG). Furthermore, pre-IVM enhanced the expression of the FSH- or AREG-stimulated extracellular matrix-related genes HAS2, TNFAIP6, and PTGS2, and epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like peptide-related genes AREG and EREG. Additionally, pre-IVM with dbcAMP and IBMX enhanced the expression of EGFR, and also increased and prolonged cumulus cell-oocyte gap junctional communication. The improved oocyte development observed using the pre-IVM protocol was ablated by an EGF receptor phosphorylation inhibitor. These results indicate that pre-IVM with cAMP modulators could contribute to the acquisition of developmental competence by bovine oocytes from small antral follicles through the modulation of EGF receptor signaling and oocyte-cumulus/cumulus-cumulus gap junctional communication.

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  • Rebecca R. PAYTON, Louisa A. RISPOLI, Kimberly A. NAGLE, Cedric GONDRO ...
    Type: Original Article
    Volume 64 (2018) Issue 3 Pages 243-251
    Released: June 22, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: March 18, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Hyperthermia during estrus has direct consequences on the maturing oocyte that carries over to the resultant embryo to compromise its ability to continue in development. Because early embryonic development is reliant upon maternal transcripts and other ooplasmic components, we examined impact of heat stress on bovine oocyte transcripts using microarray. Oocytes were matured at 38.5ºC for 24 h or 41.0ºC for the first 12 h of in vitro maturation; 38.5ºC thereafter. Transcriptome profile was performed on total (adenylated + deadenylated) RNA and polyadenylated mRNA populations. Heat stress exposure altered the abundance of several transcripts important for mitochondrial function. The extent to which transcript differences are coincident with functional changes was evaluated by examining reactive oxygen species, ATP content, and glutathione levels. Mitochondrial reactive oxygen species levels were increased by 6 h exposure to 41.0ºC while cytoplasmic levels were reduced compared to controls (P < 0.0001). Exposure to 41.0ºC for 12 h increased total and reduced glutathione levels in oocytes at 12 h but reduced them by 24 h (time × temperature P < 0.001). ATP content was higher in heat-stressed oocytes at 24 h (P < 0.0001). Heat-induced increases in ATP content of matured oocytes persisted in early cleavage-stage embryos (8- to 16-cell embryos; P < 0.05) but were no longer apparent in blastocysts (P > 0.05). Collectively, results indicate that direct exposure of maturing oocytes to heat stress may alter oocyte mitochondrial processes/function, which is inherited by the early embryo after fertilization.

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  • Yoshie A. FUJIOKA, Asuka ONUMA, Wataru FUJII, Koji SUGIURA, Kunihiko N ...
    Type: Original Article
    Volume 64 (2018) Issue 3 Pages 253-259
    Released: June 22, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: March 23, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Vertebrate oocytes arrested at the first meiotic prophase must proceed to the second meiotic metaphase (MII) before fertilization. This meiotic process requires the precise control of protein degradation. Part of the protein degradation in oocytes is controlled by members of the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme family, UBE2C and UBE2S, which are known to participate in mono-ubiquitination and poly-ubiquitination, respectively. Although UBE2 enzymes have been well studied in mitosis, their contribution to mammalian oocyte meiosis is relatively unknown and has been studied only in mice. Here, we investigated the contribution of UBE2C and UBE2S to porcine oocyte maturation using an RNA injection method. Overexpression of UBE2S prevented MII arrest of oocytes and led to the formation of a pronucleus (PN) at 48 h of culture. This effect was also observed for prolonged cultures of UBE2C-overexpressing oocytes, suggesting the effectiveness of poly-ubiquitination in the rapid escape from M-phase in porcine oocytes. Although the inhibition of either UBE2C or UBE2S by antisense RNA (asRNA) injection had no effect on oocyte maturation, asRNA-injected oocytes showed inhibited PN formation after parthenogenetic activation. These results indicated that ubiquitination of certain factors by UBE2S and UBE2C plays a role in the escape from MII arrest in porcine oocytes. Further investigations to identify the factors and how mono- and/or poly-ubiquitination contributes to protein degradation could provide a better understanding of UBE2 roles in oocyte maturation.

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  • Kazuki KANSAKU, Yasuhisa MUNAKATA, Nobuhiko ITAMI, Koumei SHIRASUNA, T ...
    Type: Original Article
    Volume 64 (2018) Issue 3 Pages 261-266
    Released: June 22, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: April 03, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    This study examined the concentration of cell-free mitochondrial DNA (cf-mtDNA) in porcine follicular fluid (FF) and explored whether the cfDNA level in the culture medium could reflect mitochondrial dysfunction in cumulus cell-oocyte complexes (COCs). cfDNA concentration was higher in the fluid of small-sized follicles, compared to that in larger follicles. The length of cfDNA ranged from short (152 bp) to long (1,914 bp) mtDNA in FF, detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). cfDNA concentration in FF significantly correlated with the mtDNA copy number in FF but not with the number of one-copy gene (nuclear DNA) in FF. When the COCs were treated with the mitochondrial uncoupler, namely carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone (CCCP), for 2 h and incubated for 42 h, subsequent real-time PCR detected significantly higher amount of cf-mtDNA, compared to nuclear cfDNA, in the spent culture medium. The mtDNA number and viability of cumulus cells and oocytes remained unchanged. When the oocytes were denuded from the cumulus cells following CCCP treatment, PCR detected very low levels of cfDNA in the spent culture medium of the denuded oocytes. In contrast, CCCP treatment of granulosa cells significantly increased the amount of cf-mtDNA in the spent culture medium, without any effect on other markers, including survival rate, apoptosis of cumulus cells, and lactate dehydrogenase levels. Thus, cf-mtDNA was present in FF in a wide range of length, and mitochondrial dysfunction in COCs increased the active secretion of cf-mtDNA in the cultural milieu.

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  • Mizuki SAKAI, Kaito MASAKI, Shota AIBA, Masaaki TONE, Seiji TAKASHIMA
    Type: Original Article
    Volume 64 (2018) Issue 3 Pages 267-275
    Released: June 22, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: April 16, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) are bona fide self-renewal factors for spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). Although GDNF is indispensable for the maintenance of SSCs, the role of FGF2 in the testis remains to be elucidated. To clarify this, the expression dynamics and regulatory mechanisms of Fgf2 and Gdnf in the mouse testes were analyzed. It is well known that Sertoli cells express Gdnf, and its receptor is expressed in a subset of undifferentiated spermatogonia, including SSCs. However, we found that Fgf2 was mainly expressed in the germ cells and its receptors were expressed not only in the cultured spermatogonial cell line, but also in testicular somatic cells. Aging, hypophysectomy, retinoic acid treatment, and testicular injury induced distinct Fgf2 and Gdnf expression dynamics, suggesting a difference in the expression mechanism of Fgf2 and Gdnf in the testis. Such differences might cause a dynamic fluctuation of Gdnf/Fgf2 ratio depending on the intrinsic/extrinsic cues. Considering that FGF2-cultured spermatogonia exhibit more differentiated phenotype than those cultured with GDNF, FGF2 might play a role distinct from that of GDNF in the testis, despite the fact that both factors are self-renewal factor for SSC in vitro.

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  • Min Jung KIM, Hyun Ju OH, Yoo Bin CHOI, Sanghoon LEE, Erif Maha Nugrah ...
    Type: Original Article
    Volume 64 (2018) Issue 3 Pages 277-282
    Released: June 22, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: April 26, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    This study was conducted to investigate whether the treatment of dog to pig interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (iSCNT) embryos with a histone deacetylase inhibitor, to improve nuclear reprogramming, can be applied to dog SCNT embryos. The dog to pig iSCNT embryos were cultured in fresh porcine zygote medium-5 (PZM-5) with 0, 1, or 10 µM suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) for 6 h, then transferred to PZM-5 without SAHA. Although there were no significant differences in cleavage rates, the rates of 5-8-cell stage embryo development were significantly higher in the 10 µM group (19.5 ± 0.8%) compared to the 0 µM groups (13.4 ± 0.8%). Acetylation of H3K9 was also significantly higher in embryos beyond the 4-cell stage in the 10 µM group compared to the 0 or 1 µM groups. Treatment with 10 µM SAHA for 6 h was chosen for application to dog SCNT. Dog cloned embryos with 0 or 10 µM SAHA were transferred to recipients. However, there were no significant differences in pregnancy and delivery rates between the two groups. Therefore, it can be concluded that although porcine oocytes support nuclear reprogramming of dog fibroblasts, treatment with a histone deacetylase inhibitor that supports nuclear reprogramming in dog to pig iSCNT embryos was not sufficient for reprogramming in dog SCNT embryos.

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    Editor’s picks

    Cover Story :
    Based on the results obtained for the studies of in vitro development of cloned embryos, epigenetic modifications have been widely used for cloning farm animals. However, such studies remain few in canids because of the lack of optimal in vitro oocyte maturation, embryo culture, and superovulation system. Kim et al. investigated whether a histone deacetylase inhibitor used in dog to pig interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (iSCNT), which improves nuclear reprogramming, could be used in dog cloning (Kim et al.: Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid during in vitro culture improves development of dog-pig interspecies cloned embryos but not dog cloned embryos. p. 277–282). Porcine oocytes supported reprogramming of nuclei from dog fibroblasts up to early developmental stage of iSCNT embryos, and treating the embryos with suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) increased their developmental competence. However, unfortunately, SAHA treatment for dog to pig iSCNT embryos was not sufficient to improve their in vivo development because three and one clones were successfully produced from the control and SAHA treated groups, respectively.

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Technology Report
  • Kenya IMAIMATSU, Wataru FUJII, Ryuji HIRAMATSU, Kento MIURA, Masamichi ...
    Type: Technology Report
    Volume 64 (2018) Issue 3 Pages 283-287
    Released: June 22, 2018
    [Advance publication] Released: April 14, 2018
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Mammalian zygote-mediated genome editing via the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated endonuclease 9 (CRISPR/Cas9) system is widely used to generate genome-modified animals. This system allows for the production of loss-of-function mutations in various Y chromosome genes, including Sry, in mice. Here, we report the establishment of a CRISPR-Cas9-mediated knock-in line of Flag-tag sequences into the Sry locus at the C-terminal coding end of the Y chromosome (YSry-flag). In the F1 and successive generations, all male pups carrying the YSry-flag chromosome had normal testis differentiation and proper spermatogenesis at maturity, enabling complete fertility and the production of viable offspring. To our knowledge, this study is the first to produce a stable Sry knock-in line at the C-terminal region, highlighting a novel approach for examining the significance of amino acid changes at the naive Sry locus in mammals.

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Erratum
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