During pregnancy, human placenta-associated microRNAs (miRNAs) derived from the miRNA cluster in human chromosome 19 are expressed in villous trophoblasts and secreted into maternal circulation via exosomes; however, little is known about whether circulating placenta-associated miRNAs are transferred into maternal immune cells via exosomes, and modulate expression of target genes in the recipient cells. We employed an in vitro model of trophoblast-immune cell communication using BeWo cells (a human trophoblast cell line) and Jurkat cells (a human leukemic T-cell line) and investigated whether BeWo exosomal placenta-associated miRNAs can suppress expression of target genes in the recipient Jurkat cells. Using this system, we identified PRKG1 as a target gene of placenta-associated miRNA miR-517a-3p. Moreover, we demonstrated that BeWo exosomal miR-517a-3p was internalized into Jurkat cells and subsequently suppressed the expression of PRKG1 in recipient Jurkat cells. Furthermore, using peripheral blood natural killer (NK) cells in vivo, we confirmed that circulating miR-517a-3p was delivered into maternal NK cells as it was into Jurkat cells in vitro. Placenta-associated miR-517a-3p was incorporated into maternal NK cells in the third trimester, and it was rapidly cleared after delivery. Expression levels of miR-517a-3p and its target mRNA PRKG1 were inversely correlated in NK cells before and after delivery. These in vitro and in vivo results suggest that exosome-mediated transfer of placenta-associated miRNAs and subsequent modulation of their target genes occur in maternal NK cells. The present study provides novel insight into our understanding of placentamaternal communication.
Progesterone receptor membrane component 1 (PGRMC1) and PGRMC2 are expressed in rat granulosa cells and spontaneously immortalized granulosa cells (SIGCs) but their biological roles are not well defined. The present studies demonstrate that depleting either Pgrmc1 or Pgrmc2 in SIGCs increases entry into the cell cycle but does not increase cell proliferation. Rather, PGRMC1 and/or PGRMC2-deplete cells accumulate in metaphase and undergo apoptosis. Because both PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 localize to the mitotic spindle, their absence likely accounts for cells arresting in metaphase. Moreover, pull-down assays, colocalization studies and in situ proximity ligation assays (PLA) indicate that PGRMC1 binds PGRMC2. Disrupting the PGRMC1: PGRMC2 complex through the use of siRNA or the cytoplasmic delivery of a PGRMC2 antibody increases entry into the cell cycle. Conversely, overexpressing either PGRMC1-GFP or GFP-PGRMC2 fusion protein inhibits entry into the cell cycle. Subsequent studies reveal that depleting PGRMC1 and/or PGRMC2 reduces the percentage of cells in G(0) and increases the percentage of cells in G(1). These observations indicate that in addition to their role at metaphase, PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 are involved in regulating entry into the G(1) stage of the cell cycle. Interestingly, both PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 bind GTPase-activating protein-binding protein 2 (G3BP2) as demonstrated by pull-down assays, colocalization assays, and PLAs. G3bp2 siRNA treatment also promotes entry into the G(1) stage. This implies that dynamic changes in the interaction among PGRMC1, PGRMC2, and G3BP2 play an important protein regulating the rate at which SIGCs enter into the cell cycle.
Preimplantation factor (PIF) is a peptide secreted by viable mammalian embryos. Moreover, it can be detected in the circulation of pregnant women. Recently, it was shown that PIF promotes invasion in trophoblast cell lines in vitro. Successful human embryo implantation depends on a deep and highly controlled invasion of extravillous trophoblast (EVT) in the maternal endometrium. Trophoblast invasion is regulated in part by matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity and integrin expression. The present study demonstrates the presence of PIF in early pregnancy and characterizes its effects on primary human trophoblast invasion. At the fetomaternal interface, intense PIF labeling by immunohistochemistry was present during early gestation in villous trophoblasts and EVTs. A decrease of labeling was observed at term. Furthermore, PIF significantly promoted invasion of human EVT isolated from first-trimester placenta. The proinvasive regulatory effect of PIF in EVT was associated with 1) increased MMP9 activity and 2) reduced tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP1) mRNA expression. PIF also regulated alpha v and alpha 1 integrin mRNA expressions. Last, the proinvasive effect of PIF appeared to be mediated by the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K), and Janus-kinase signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling pathways. In summary, this work describes the direct, positive effect of PIF on the control of human trophoblastic cell invasion by modulation of MMP/TIMP balance and integrin expression. Moreover, these results suggest that PIF is involved in pathological pregnancies characterized by insufficient or excessive trophoblast invasion.
In mammals, most neonatal male germ cells (prospermatogonia) are quiescent and located in the center of the testis cords. In response to an unknown signal, prospermatogonia transition into spermatogonia, reenter the cell cycle, divide, and move to the periphery of the testis cords. In mice, these events occur by 3-4 days postpartum (dpp), which temporally coincides with the onset of retinoic acid (RA) signaling in the neonatal testis. RA has a pivotal role in initiating germ cell entry into meiosis in both sexes, yet little is known about the mechanisms and about cellular changes downstream of RA signaling. We examined the role of RA in mediating the prospermatogonia-to-spermatogonia transition in vivo and found 24 h of precocious RA exposure-induced germ cell changes mimicking those that occur during the endogenous transition at 3-4 dpp. These changes included: 1) spermatogonia proliferation; 2) maturation of cellular organelles; and 3), expression of markers characteristic of differentiating spermatogonia. We found that germ cell exposure to RA did not lead to cellular loss from apoptosis but rather resulted in a delay of; 2 days in their entry into meiosis. Taken together, our results indicate that exogenous RA induces multiple hallmarks of the transition of prospermatogonia to spermatogonia prior to their entry into meiosis.
Mammalian spermatogenesis is a complex and highly orchestrated combination of processes in which male germline proliferation and differentiation result in the production of mature spermatozoa. If recent genome-wide studies have contributed to the in-depth analysis of the male germline protein-encoding transcriptome, little effort has yet been devoted to the systematic identification of novel unannotated transcribed regions expressed during mammalian spermatogenesis. We report high-resolution expression profiling of male germ cells in rat, using next-generation sequencing technology and highly enriched testicular cell populations. Among 20 424 high-confidence transcripts reconstructed, we defined a stringent set of 1419 long multi-exonic unannotated transcripts expressed in the testis (testis-expressed unannotated transcripts [TUTs]). TUTs were divided into 7 groups with different expression patterns. Most TUTs share many of the characteristics of vertebrate long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). We also markedly reinforced the finding that TUTs and known lncRNAs accumulate during the meiotic and postmeiotic stages of spermatogenesis in mammals and that X-linked meiotic TUTs do not escape the silencing effects of meiotic sex chromosome inactivation. Importantly, we discovered that TUTs and known lncRNAs with a peak expression during meiosis define a distinct class of noncoding transcripts that exhibit exons twice as long as those of other transcripts. Our study provides new insights in transcriptional profiling of the male germline and represents a highquality resource for novel loci expressed during spermatogenesis that significantly contributes to rat genome annotation.
Continual sperm production relies on germ cells undergoing spermatogenesis asynchronously. As a result, the testis always contains a mixed population of germ cells at different stages of their differentiation process. The heterogeneous nature of the testis makes profiling gene expression within Sertoli cells or specific populations of germ cells impossible when a wild-type testis is assessed. We recently reported a unique method for synchronizing spermatogenesis without affecting fertility by manipulating RA levels within the neonatal testis. Using this protocol, combined with the RiboTag transgenic mouse line, we have mapped the Sertoli and germ cell translatome during the initial synchronized wave of spermatogenesis. Using microarray analysis, we identified 392 and 194 germ cell and Sertoli cells transcripts, respectively, that dynamically change during spermatogonial differentiation, division, and the onset of meiosis. Functional annotation clustering revealed that transcripts enriched in germ cells were mostly associated with meiosis (21 transcripts), chromatin organization (12 transcripts), and cell cycle (3 transcripts). In addition, glycoproteins (65 transcripts), cell adhesion (15 transcripts), and cell junction (13 transcripts) transcripts were overrepresented in the Sertoli cell-enriched list. These datasets represent the first transcriptional analysis of spermatogonial differentiation, division, and meiotic onset. These data suggest that several of the genes encoding meiotic proteins are expressed and are actively being translated well before germ cells enter meiosis. In addition, this study provides novel candidate genes, Asf1b and Esyt3, that may be involved in the regulation of spermatogonial chromatin reorganization, germ-Sertoli cell interactions, and/or blood-testis barrier formation.
The epithelium that lines the epididymal duct establishes the optimal milieu in which spermatozoa mature, acquire motility, and are stored. This finely tuned environment also protects antigenic sperm against pathogens and autoimmunity, which are potential causes of transient or permanent infertility. The epididymal epithelium is pseudostratified and contains basal cells (BCs) that are located beneath other epithelial cells. Previous studies showed that in the mouse epididymis, BCs possess macrophage-like characteristics. However, we previously identified a dense population of cells belonging to the mononuclear phagocyte (MP) system (comprised of macrophages and dendritic cells) in the basal compartment of the mouse epididymis and showed that a subset of MPs express the macrophage marker F4/80. In the present study, we evaluate the distribution of BCs and MPs in the epididymis of transgenic CD11c-EYFP mice, in which EYFP is expressed exclusively in MPs, using antibodies against the BC marker keratin 5 (KRT5) and the macrophage marker F4/80. Immunofluorescence labeling for laminin, a basement membrane marker, showed that BCs and most MPs are located in the basal region of the epithelium. Confocal microscopy showed that in the initial segment, both BCs and MPs project intraepithelial extensions and establish a very intricate network. Flow cytometry experiments demonstrated that epididymal MPs and BCs are phenotypically distinct. BCs do not express F4/80, and MPs do not express KRT5. Therefore, despite their proximity and some morphological similarities with peritubular macrophages and dendritic cells, BCs do not belong to the MP system.
To study the diversity of mRNAs in murine spermatozoa and their potential function during zygotic development, total RNAs in murine spermatozoa were sequenced via RNA-Seq and analyzed through bioinformatics techniques. The delivery and translation of sperm-borne mRNA in fertilized oocyte were detected using RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction), Western blot, and immunofluorescence. A total of 35 288 825 reads matching 33 039 transcripts, including 27 310 coding transcripts, were obtained. Based on our analyses, we hypothesized that the transcripts with RPKM (reads per kilobase of exon model per million mapped reads) higher than six may exist in each sperm cell as consistently retained transcripts. There were 4885 consistent transcripts in each sperm, and the remainder were randomly retained. If the baseline RPKM increased, the remaining coding transcripts were more likely related to reproduction and development. The sperm-borne transcripts Wnt4 and Foxg1 were delivered into fertilized oocytes on fertilization. Furthermore, Wnt4 was translated into protein in zygotes, whereas Foxg1 was not translated. In conclusion, approximately 4885 mRNAs were present in each murine spermatozoon, and the spermatozoal mRNAs related to reproduction and development were more likely retained. The sperm-borne mRNA Wnt4 was delivered into the fertilized oocyte and translated, evidence of a paternal effect on zygotic development.
Primordial follicle assembly is essential for reproduction in mammalian females. Oocytes develop in germ cell cysts that in late fetal development begin break down into individual oocytes and become surrounded by pregranulosa cells, forming primordial follicles. As they separate, many oocytes are lost by apoptosis. Exposure to steroid hormones delays cyst breakdown, follicle formation, and associated oocyte loss in some species. One model for regulation of follicle formation is that steroid hormones in the maternal circulation keep cells in cysts and prevent oocyte death during fetal development but that late in pregnancy hormone levels drop, triggering cyst breakdown and associated oocyte loss. However, herein we found that, while maternal circulating levels of progesterone drop during late fetal development, maternal estradiol levels remain high. We hypothesized that fetal ovaries were the source of hormones and that late in fetal development their production stops. To test this, mRNA and protein levels of steroidogenic enzymes required for estradiol and progesterone synthesis were measured. We found that aromatase and 3-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase mRNA levels drop before cyst breakdown. The 3-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase protein levels also dropped, but we did not detect a change in aromatase protein levels. The steroid content of perinatal ovaries was assayed, and both estradiol and progesterone were detected in fetal ovaries before cyst breakdown. To determine the role of steroid hormones in oocyte development, we examined the effects of blocking steroid hormone production in organ culture and found that the number of oocytes was reduced, supporting our model that steroid hormones are important for fetal oocyte survival.
Menstruation is a complex process dependent on premenstrual release of inflammatory mediators and proteolytic enzymes from endometrial cells. Endometrial leukocytes are traditionally considered to be the major source of the inflammatory factors. However, evidence is emerging to suggest a role for decidualized endometrial stromal cells in the premenstrual inflammatory cascade. We sought to determine if withdrawal of hormone support (estrogen and progesterone) from decidualized endometrial stromal cells, in a model mimicking the precise timing leading to menstruation, activated inflammatory signaling pathways and downstream release of inflammatory mediators. Human endometrial stromal cells decidualized gradually over 12 days of estradiol and progestin treatment as evidenced by an increase in prolactin secretion. Withdrawal of hormone support from decidualized stromal cells resulted in a decrease in cytoplasmic IkappaB and a progressive increase in nuclear accumulation of NF-kappaB, as demonstrated by Western immunoblot and immunocytochemical analyses. Concomitant with nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB, hormone withdrawal led to production of a host of inflammatory mediators by the decidualized stromal cells, including IFN-alpha, IL-6, CCL11, GM-CSF, CCL2, IL1-RA, CXCL10, CXCL8, IL-12, IL-15, VEGF, and CCL5. Elevation of inflammatory mediators was not observed, however, upon hormone withdrawal in cells treated with the NF-kappaB inhibitor BAY 11-7085. Decidualized stromal cells are likely highly sensitive sensors of changing hormone levels. This provides a mechanism by which decidualized stromal cells may recruit inflammatory leukocytes into the premenstrual endometrium and contribute to the intense inflammation underlying this unique physiological process.
Avian cell lines derived from germinal crescent primordial germ cells and gonadal gonocytes with long-term proliferative capacity in vitro and their subsequent rates of colonization and germline transmission are described. In general, male cultures proliferate more rapidly than female cultures although both can be developed into cell lines of >2 x 10(6) cells, at which time, they can be grown indefinitely and a cell bank can be established. All the cell lines injected into embryos transmitted through the germline with the percentage of germline transmission of both male and female cell lines varying from single digits to the high 90s. The derivation of these primordial germ cell and gonadal cell lines and the subsequent robustness of germline transmission validates these cells as suitable for establishment of lines of chickens bearing novel genetic modifications.
We reported previously that stem cells associated with adult rat testis seminiferous tubules are able to give rise to differentiated Leydig cells in vitro. The regulatory mechanisms by which they do so, however, are uncertain. Herein, we hypothesized that the proliferation and differentiation of Leydig cell stem cells (stem Leydig cells, SLCs) depend upon locally produced factors from the seminiferous tubules. Microarray analysis revealed that platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRalpha) is up-regulated and PDGFRbeta is down-regulated with postnatal differentiation of SLCs. This suggested that their ligands, PDGF-AA and PDGF-BB, respectively, might have important roles in SLC proliferation and differentiation. To test this, we developed a unique in vitro culture system in which SLCs proliferate on the surfaces of cultured seminiferous tubules largely during Week 1 of culture and their progeny subsequently differentiate to testosterone-forming Leydig cells during Weeks 2 through 4. Using this system, seminiferous tubules from adult rat testes were cultured with PDGF-AA or PDGF-BB for up to 4 wk. Both ligands stimulated SLC proliferation during the first week of culture, with PDGF-BB significantly more potent than PDGF-AA. Furthermore, PDGF-AA had a stimulatory effect on SLC differentiation from Weeks 2 through 4 of culture. In contrast, PDGF-BB, which stimulated cell proliferation during Week 1, had a significant inhibitory effect on differentiation during Weeks 2 through 4. These findings, made possible by the development of the seminiferous tubule culture system, reveal distinct roles by locally produced PDGFs in SLC regulation.
ABSTRACT A disintegrin and metallopeptidase domain 3 (ADAM3) is a sperm membrane protein reported to be critical for both sperm migration from the uterus into the oviduct in vivo and sperm binding to the zona pellucida in vitro. In order for ADAM3 to be expressed on the sperm surface, the interaction with testis-expressed gene 101 (TEX101), a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored protein, is essential. Without TEX101, ADAM3 is degraded during sperm transition through the epididymis. However, it is also known that TEX101 has to be shed and to disappear from testicular germ cells (TGCs) by the GPI-anchored protein-releasing activity of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) for the correct localization of ADAM3 on the mature sperm surface to take place. Here, we found that in a mouse line with a disruption for another testis-specific GPI-anchored protein, lymphocyte antigen 6 complex, locus K (LY6K), the male mice became infertile and demonstrated a phenotype similar to that found in Adam3–/–, Tex101–/–,...
The spermatozoa acrosome reaction (AR) is essential for mammalian fertilization. Few methods allow visualization of AR in real time together with Ca2+ imaging. Here, we show that FM4-64, a fluorescent dye used to follow exocytosis, reliably reports AR progression induced by ionomycin and progesterone in human spermatozoa. FM4-64 clearly delimits the spermatozoa contour and reports morphological cell changes before, during, and after AR. This strategy unveiled the formation of moving tubular appendages, emerging from acrosome-reacted spermatozoa, which was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy. Alternate wavelength illumination allowed concomitant imaging of FM4-64 and Fluo-4, a Ca2+ indicator. These AR and intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) recordings revealed that the presence of [Ca2+]i oscillations, both spontaneous and progesterone induced, prevents AR in human spermatozoa. Notably, the progesterone-induced AR is preceded by a second [Ca2+]i peak and; similar to 40% of reacting spermatozoa also manifest a slow [Ca2+]i rise; similar to 2 min before AR. Our findings uncover new AR features related to [Ca2+]i.
Progesterone receptor membrane component 1 (PGRMC1) and PGRMC2 are expressed in rat granulosa cells and spontaneously immortalized granulosa cells (SIGCs) but their biological roles are not well defined. The present studies demonstrate that depleting either Pgrmc1 or Pgrmc2 in SIGCs increases entry into the cell cycle but does not increase cell proliferation. Rather, PGRMC1 and/or PGRMC2-deplete cells accumulate in metaphase and undergo apoptosis. Because both PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 localize to the mitotic spindle, their absence likely accounts for cells arresting in metaphase. Moreover, pull-down assays, colocalization studies and in situ proximity ligation assays (PLA) indicate that PGRMC1 binds PGRMC2. Disrupting the PGRMC1:PGRMC2 complex through the use of siRNA or the cytoplasmic delivery of a PGRMC2 antibody increases entry into the cell cycle. Conversely, overexpressing either PGRMC1-GFP or GFP-PGRMC2 fusion protein inhibits entry into the cell cycle. Subsequent studies reveal that depleting PGRMC1 and/or PGRMC2 reduces the percentage of cells in G0 and increases the percentage of cells in G1. These observations indicate that in addition to their role at metaphase, PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 are involved in regulating entry into the G1 stage of the cell cycle. Interestingly, both PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 bind GTPase-activating protein-binding protein 2 (G3BP2) as demonstrated by pull-down assays, colocalization assays, and PLAs. G3bp2 siRNA treatment also promotes entry into the G1 stage. This implies that dynamic changes in the interaction among PGRMC1, PGRMC2, and G3BP2 play an important protein regulating the rate at which SIGCs enter into the cell cycle.
Zinc is an essential nutrient for optimal fertility, but the effects of preconception zinc deficiency on postimplantation development are not known. Female mice were fed a control or a zinc-deficient diet (ZDD) for 4-5 days before ovulation (preconception). Embryonic and/or placental development were evaluated on Days 3.5, 6.5, 10.5, 12.5, and 16.5 of pregnancy. The findings show a decrease in embryo length (31%, Day 10.5; 13%, Day 12.5; 10%, Day 16.5) and weight (23%, Day 16.5) in embryos from mothers fed a ZDD preconception. Zinc deficiency also caused a high incidence of pregnancy loss (46%, Day 10.5; 34%, Day 12.5; 51%, Day 16.5) compared to control (2%, Day 10.5; 7%, Day 12.5; 9%, Day 16.5). ZDD embryos transferred to normal recipients were 38% smaller and implantation rate was only 10% compared to 40% for controls. Trophoblast cell differentiation and implantation on Day 6.5 of pregnancy were compromised by preconception zinc deficiency. On Day 12.5 of pregnancy, placenta weight and area of fetal placenta were decreased 37% and 31%, respectively, by preconception zinc deficiency. Consistent with a smaller fetal placenta, expression of key placental transcripts, including Ar, Esx1, Syna, Tfeb, Dlx3, and Gcm1 mRNA, but not Ctsq mRNA, were decreased 30%-70% in the ZDD group. Preconception zinc deficiency caused 41%-57% of embryos to exhibit delayed or aberrant neural tube development, as examined by light microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging. Collectively, the findings provide evidence for the importance of preconception zinc in promoting optimal fertility and oocyte developmental potential.
The dmrt6 gene has been isolated from tetrapods and recently from a coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae. Its evolutionary history and exact function remain unclear. In the present study, dmrt6 was isolated from Perciformes (five cichlids and stickleback), Siluriformes (southern catfish), and Lepisosteiformes (spotted gar). Syntenic and phylogenetic analyses indicated that dmrt6 experienced gene transposition after the divergence of teleosts from other bony fish as gene loci surrounding dmrt6 were conserved among teleosts (but was completely different from gene loci surrounding dmrt6 in tetrapods and spotted gar), while these gene loci were conserved among nonteleost species. Real-time PCR and in situ hybridization revealed that dmrt6 was highly expressed in the XY gonads from 90 days after hatching (dah) onward and was observed exclusively in spermatocytes of the testes in tilapia. Dmrt6 knockout by CRISPR/Cas9 resulted in fewer spermatocytes, down-regulated Cyp11b2 in testes, and consequently produced a lower level of serum 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT) in Dmrt6-deficient XY fish compared with the XY control at 120 dah. From 150 to 180 dah, spermatogenesis gradually recovered, and cyp11b2 expression and serum 11-KT level were restored to the same levels as those of the XY control fish. In addition, a Dmrt6 mutation was observed in genomic DNA of sperm of G0 mutant fish and F1 fish. Taken together, our data suggest that dmrt6 also exists in bony fish. Its absence in most fish genomes was probably due to incomplete sequencing and/or secondary loss. The dmrt6 gene is highly expressed in spermatocytes and is involved in spermatogenesis in tilapia.
The establishment of the tetraploid organism is difficult but useful in genetics and breeding. In the present study, we have artificially established an autotetraploid fish line (F-2-F-8) derived from the distant hybridization of Carassius auratus red var. (RR, 2n = 100) (female) x Megalobrama amblycephala (BB, 2n = 48) (male). The autotetraploid line (F-2 F-8) possess four sets of chromosomes from red crucian carp (RRRR, 4n = 200) and produce diploid ova and diploid sperm, which maintains the formation of the autotetraploid line. The F-2 of the autotetraploid fish result from the fertilization of the autodiploidy diploid eggs and diploid sperm from the females and males of F-1 hybrids (RRBB, 4n = 148), which exhibit abnormal chromosome behavior during meiosis as revealed by gynogenesis and backcrossing. This is the first report concerning the establishment of an autotetraploid fish line derived from distant hybridization. The autotetraploid fish line provides an important gamete source for the production of triploids and tetraploids. The autotetraploid fish line also provides an ideal system to investigate the poorly understood mechanisms that drive diploidization in autotetraploids and to study the hybrid progenies' characteristics, including the appearance of new traits that promote a diversity of traits and facilitate adaptation.
CHEMERIN, or RARRES2, is a new adipokine that is involved in the regulation of adipogenesis, energy metabolism, and inflammation. Recent data suggest that it also plays a role in reproductive function in rats and humans. Here we studied the expression of CHEMERIN and its three receptors (CMKLR1, GPR1, and CCRL2) in the bovine ovary and investigated the in vitro effects of this hormone on granulosa cell steroidogenesis and oocyte maturation. By RT-PCR, immunoblotting, and immunohistochemistry, we found CHEMERIN, CMKLR1, GPR1, and CCRL2 in various ovarian cells, including granulosa and theca cells, corpus luteum, and oocytes. In cultured bovine granulosa cells, INSULIN, IGF1, and two insulin sensitizersmetformin and rosiglitazone-increased rarres2 mRNA expression whereas they decreased cmklr1, gpr1, and cclr2 mRNA expression. Furthermore, TNF alpha and ADIPONECTIN significantly increased rarres2 and cmklr1 expression, respectively. In cultured bovine granulosa cells, human recombinant CHEMERIN (hRec, 200 ng/ml) reduced production of both progesterone and estradiol, cholesterol content, STAR abundance, CYP19A1 and HMGCR proteins, and the phosphorylation levels of MAPK3/MAPK1 in the presence or absence of FSH (10(-8) M) and IGF1 (10(-8) M). All of these effects were abolished by using an anti-CMKLR1 antibody. In bovine cumulus-oocyte complexes, the addition of hRec (200 ng/ml) in the maturation medium arrested most oocytes at the germinal vesicle stage, and this was associated with a decrease in MAPK3/1 phosphorylation in both oocytes and cumulus cells. Thus, in cultured bovine granulosa cells, hRec decreases steroidogenesis, cholesterol synthesis, and MAPK3/1 phosphorylation, probably through CMKLR1. Moreover, in cumulus-oocyte complexes, it blocked meiotic progression at the germinal vesicle stage and inhibited MAPK3/1 phosphorylation in both the oocytes and cumulus cells during in vitro maturation.
Embryonic mortality during the implantation period strongly affects litter size in pigs. To analyze the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the endometrium during implantation and further to identify candidate genes for litter size, tissues of endometrial attachment sites and intersites were collected from nine pregnant sows on Days 13, 18, and 24 of pregnancy. Endometrium tissue was also collected from another three nonpregnant sows. Samples were hybridized to the porcine Agilent GeneChip microarray. The analysis of gene expression patterns over the implantation period revealed 858 DEGs at endometrial attachment sites. Comparisons of the gene files of attachment sites and intersites revealed 12, 51, and 89 DEGs on Days 13, 18, and 24 of pregnancy, respectively. Annotated function was used to identify overrepresented genetic processes, and several biological processes were considered as the most enriched. Genes related to vascular development, proteolysis, RNA metabolism and translation, protein modification, immune response, and hormone-related are discussed in detail. Then we combined microarray technology and linkage analysis to select powerful candidate genes for quantitative trait loci affecting pig litter size. Eighty-seven DEGs were located in quantitative trait loci related to litter size, that is, total number born and number born alive. Those candidate genes were thought to affect litter size by influencing embryonic implantation. Furthermore, single nucleotide polymorphism of VEGFA was shown to be associated with litter size in pigs. This study identified candidate genes for litter size that were related to embryonic implantation and could be a resource for target studies of genetic markers for litter size in pigs.