Abstract The amnion is the inner of two membranes surrounding the fetus. That it arises from embryonic epiblast cells prior to gastrulation suggests that it may retain a reservoir of stem cells throughout pregnancy. We found that human amniotic epithelial cells (hAECs) harvested from term-delivered fetal membranes express mRNA and proteins present in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), including POU domain, class 5, transcription factor 1; Nanog homeobox; SRY-box 2; and stage-specific embryonic antigen-4. In keeping with possible stem cell-like activity, hAECs were also clonogenic, and primary hAEC cultures could be induced to differentiate into cardiomyocytic, myocytic, osteocytic, adipocytic (mesodermal), pancreatic, hepatic (endodermal), neural, and astrocytic (neuroectodermal) cells in vitro, as defined by phenotypic, mRNA expression, immunocytochemical, and/or ultrastructural characteristics. However, unlike hESCs, hAECs did not form teratomas upon transplantation into severe combined immunodeficienc...
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that posttranscriptionally regulate gene expression. Hundreds of miRNAs are expressed in mammals; however, their functions are just starting to be uncovered. MicroRNAs are processed from a long hairpin mRNA transcript, down to a â¼23-nucleotide duplex. The enzyme Dicer1 is required for miRNA processing, and mouse knockouts of Dicer1 are embryonic lethal before 7.5 days postcoitus. To examine the function of miRNAs specifically in the germline, we used a mouse model that expresses Cre recombinase from the TNAP locus and a floxed Dicer1 conditional allele. Removal of Dicer1 from germ cells resulted in male infertility. Germ cells were present in adult testes, but few tubules contained elongating spermatids. Germ cells that did differentiate to elongating spermatids exhibited abnormal morphology and motility. Rarely, sperm lacking Dicer1 could fertilize wild-type eggs to generate viable offspring. These results show that Dicer1 and miRNAs are essential for proper differentiation of the male germline.
In the present study, it was hypothesized that disruption of imprinting control in the H19 / Igf2 domain may be a mechanism of ethanol-induced growth retardationâa key clinical feature of the fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). To test this prediction, genomic bisulphite sequencing was carried out on 473 bp of the H19 imprinting control region in DNA obtained from midgestation F(1) hybrid mouse embryos (C57BL/6 Ã Mus musculus castaneus ) exposed to ethanol during preimplantation development. Although ethanol-exposed placentae and embryos were severely growth retarded in comparison with saline-treated controls, DNA methylation at paternal and maternal alleles was unaffected in embryos. However, paternal alleles were significantly less methylated in ethanol-treated placentae in comparison with saline-treated controls. Partial correlations suggested that the relationship between ethanol and placental weight partly depended on DNA methylation at a CCCTC-binding factor site on the paternal allele in placentae, suggesting a novel mechanism of ethanol-induced growth retardation. In contrast, partial correlations suggested that embryo growth retardation was independent of placental growth retardation. Relaxation of allele-specific DNA methylation in control placentae in comparison with control embryos was also observed, consistent with a model of imprinting in which 1) regulation of allele-specific DNA methylation in the placenta depends on a stochastic interplay between silencer and enhancer chromatin assembly factors and 2) imprinting control mechanisms in the embryo are more robust to environmental perturbations.
ABSTRACT Uterine glands and their secretions are hypothesized to be essential for blastocyst implantation and decidualization in the uterus of rodents and humans. One factor solely expressed by uterine glands in mice is leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), and Lif null mice are infertile because of defective blastocyst attachment to the uterine luminal epithelium (LE). Progesterone treatment of neonatal mice permanently ablates differentiation of uterine glands, resulting in an aglandular uterus in the adult. Progesterone-induced uterine gland knockout (PUGKO) mice were used to investigate the biological role of uterine glands in blastocyst implantation and stromal cell decidualization. As compared to controls, PUGKO mice cycled normally but were infertile. Histological assessment of PUGKO uteri on Days 5.5 and 8.5 postmating found a hatched blastocyst apposed to an intact LE without evidence of implantation or stromal cell decidualization. Expression of several implantation-related factors, including Lif an...
Developmental exposure to estrogenic chemicals induces morphological, functional, and behavioral anomalies associated with reproduction. Humans are routinely exposed to bisphenol-A (BPA), an estrogenic compound that leaches from dental materials and plastic food and beverage containers. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of in utero exposure to low, environmentally relevant doses of BPA on the development of female reproductive tissues in CD-1 mice. In previous publications, we have shown that this treatment alters the morphology of the mammary gland and affects estrous cyclicity. Here we report that in utero exposure to 25 and 250 ng BPA/ kg of body weight per day via osmotic pumps implanted into pregnant dams at Gestational Day 9 induces alterations in the genital tract of female offspring that are revealed during adulthood. They include decreased wet weight of the vagina, decreased volume of the endometrial lamina propria, increased incorporation of bromodeoxyuridine into the DNA of endometrial gland epithelial cells, and increased expression of estrogen receptor-Î± (ERÎ±) and progesterone receptor in the luminal epithelium of the endometrium and subepithelial stroma. Because ERÎ± is known to be expressed in these estrogen-target organs at the time of BPA exposure, it is plausible that BPA may directly affect the expression of ER-controlled genes involved in the morphogenesis of these organs. In addition, BPA-induced alterations that specifically affect hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis function may further contribute to the anomalies observed at 3 mo of age, long after the cessation of BPA exposure. Abstract Prenatal exposure to BPA induces alterations in the female genital tract revealed during adulthood
ABSTRACT Previous reports have demonstrated that embryonic stem cells were capable of differentiating into primordial germ cells through the formation of embryoid bodies that subsequently generated oocyte-like cells (OLCs). Such a process could facilitate studies of primordial follicle oocyte development in vitro and regenerative medicine. To investigate the pluripotency of human amniotic fluid stem cells (hAFSCs) and their ability to differentiate into germ cells, we isolated a CD117+/CD44+ hAFSC line that showed fibroblastoid morphology and intrinsically expressed both stem cell markers (OCT4, NANOG, SOX2) and germ cell markers (DAZL, STELLA). To encourage differentiation into OLCs, the hAFSCs were first cultured in a medium supplemented with 5% porcine follicular fluid for 10 days. During the induction period, cell aggregates formed and syntheses of steroid hormones were detected; some OLCs and granulosa cell-like cells could be loosened from the surface of the culture dish. Cell aggregates were collec...
Wnt genes are involved in critical developmental and growth processes. The present study comprehensively analyzed temporal and spatial alterations in Wnt and Fzd gene expression in the mouse uterus during peri-implantation of pregnancy. Expression of Wnt4 , Wnt5a , Wnt7a , Wnt7b , Wnt11 , Wnt16 , Fzd2 , Fzd4 , and Fzd6 was detected in the uterus during implantation. Wnt4 mRNA was most abundant in the decidua, whereas Wnt5a mRNA was restricted to the mesometrial decidua during decidualization. Wnt7a , Wnt7b , and Wnt11 mRNAs were abundantly detected in the endometrial epithelia. The expression of Wnt7b was robust in the luminal epithelium (LE) at the implantation site on Gestational Day 5, whereas Wnt11 mRNA disappeared in the LE adjacent to the embryo in the antimesometrial implantation chamber but remained abundant in the LE. Wnt16 mRNA was localized to the stroma surrounding the LE on Day 4 and remained in the stroma adjacent to the LE but not in areas undergoing the decidual reaction. Fzd2 mRNA was detected in the decidua, Fzd4 mRNA was in the vessels and stroma surrounding the embryo, and Fzd6 mRNA was observed in the endometrial epithelia, stroma, and some blood vessels during implantation. Ovarian steroid hormone treatment was found to regulate Wnt genes and Fzd receptors in ovariectomized mice. Especially, single injections of progesterone stimulated Wnt11 mRNA, and estrogen stimulated Wnt4 and Wnt7b . The temporal and spatial alterations in Wnt genes likely play a critical role during implantation and decidualization in mice.
All four CATSPER channel pore-forming subunits (CATSPER1â4) are localized in the sperm principal piece. They form an alkalization-activated Ca 2+ -permeable channel and are required for sperm-hyperactivated motility, egg coat penetration, and male fertility. Unlike many other ion channels, the composition of the CATSPER protein complex is poorly defined. Herein, we describe the novel protein CATSPERG associated with the CATSPER complex. CATSPERG is predicted to be a single transmembrane-spanning protein with a large extracellular domain and a short intracellular tail. Like all the CATSPERs and the previously identified CATSPER-associated protein CATSPERB, CATSPERG is only expressed in testis and is localized in the sperm principal piece. In CATSPER1-deficient sperm, the CATSPERG protein (but not the K + channel protein KCNU1) is also lost. Together with previous findings, our data suggest that the CATSPER protein complex contains pore-forming proteins and two additional proteins (CATSPERB and CATSPERG) and that the trafficking and/or assembly of these proteins depends on CATSPER1.
Cytokinesis is incomplete in spermatogenic cells, and the descendants of each stem cell form a clonal syncytium. As a result, a heterozygous mutation in a gene expressed postmeiotically affects all of the haploid spermatids within a syncytium. Previously, we have found that disruption of one copy of the gene for either protamine 1 (PRM1) or protamine 2 (PRM2) in the mouse results in a reduction in the amount of the respective protein, abnormal processing of PRM2, and inability of male chimeras to transmit either the mutant or wild-type allele derived from the 129-genotype embryonic stem cells to the next generation. Although it is believed that protamines are essential for compaction of the sperm nucleus and to protect the DNA from damage, this has not been proven experimentally. To test the hypothesis that failure of chimeras to transmit the 129 genotype to offspring was due to alterations in the organization and integrity of sperm DNA, we used the single-cell DNA electrophoresis (comet) assay, ultrastructural analysis, and the intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) procedure. Comet assay demonstrated a direct correlation between the fraction of sperm with haploinsufficiency of PRM2 and the frequency of sperm with damaged DNA. Ultrastructural analysis revealed reduced compaction of the chromatin. ICSI with PRM2-deficient sperm resulted in activation of most metaphase II-arrested mouse eggs, but few were able to develop to the blastocyst stage. These findings suggest that development fails because of damage to paternal DNA and that PRM2 is crucial for maintaining the integrity of sperm chromatin.
A search for genes expressed more highly in mouse cumulus cells than mural granulosa cells by subtraction hybridization yielded Slc38a3. SLC38A3 is a sodium-coupled neutral amino acid transporter having substrate preference for l -glutamate, l -histidine, and l -alanine. Detectable levels of Slc38a3 mRNA were found by in situ hybridization in granulosa cells of large preantral follicles, but levels were higher in all granulosa cells of small antral follicles; expression became limited to cumulus cells of large antral follicles. Expression of Slc38a3 mRNA in granulosa cells was promoted by fully grown oocytes from antral follicles but not by growing oocytes from preantral follicles. Fully grown oocytes were dependent on cumulus cells for uptake of l -alanine and l -histidine but not l -leucine. Fully grown but not growing oocytes secreted one or more paracrine factors that promoted cumulus cell uptake of all three amino acids but of l -alanine and l -histidine to a much greater extent than l -leucine. Uptake of l -leucine appeared dependent primarily on contact-mediated signals from fully grown oocytes. Fully grown oocytes also promoted elevated levels of Slc38a3 mRNA and l -alanine transport by preantral granulosa cells, but growing oocytes did not. Therefore, fully grown oocytes secrete one or more paracrine factors that promote cumulus cell uptake of amino acids that oocytes themselves transport poorly. These amino acids are likely transferred to oocytes via gap junctions. Thus, oocytes use paracrine signals to promote their own development via metabolic cooperativity with cumulus cells. The ability of oocytes to mediate this cooperativity is developmentally regulated and acquired only in later stages of oocyte development. Abstract Mouse oocytes regulate the uptake of amino acids by cumulus cells, and oocyte competence to carry out this function is developmentally regulated.