Using reverse transcriptase-amplified fragment length polymorphism (RT-AFLP) analysis of differential mRNA expression and semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, we compared mRNA expression in bovine blastocysts from 4 sources, known to differ in quality in terms of their ability to withstand cryopreservation: 1) in vitro culture in synthetic oviduct fluid of in vitro-matured (IVM)/in vitro fertilized (IVF) zygotes; 2) in vitro culture in TCM-199 supplemented with granulosa cells (coculture) of IVM/IVF zygotes; 3) in vivo culture in the ewe oviduct of IVM/IVF zygotes; or 4) superovulation, artificial insemination, and nonsurgical embryo recovery. Total mRNA was isolated from pools of blastocysts and reverse transcription was performed. Triplicate reactions from each sample were displayed, and only consistent banding variations were recorded. Using AFLP-differential display assay, we found that cDNA banding patterns are highly conserved between the 4 groups of blastocysts studied; however, there was a difference of 7% in bands either missing or expressed across the groups. Fifty bands were reamplified, and a sequence comparison search revealed similarity of 14 isolated fragments to ribosomal and mitochondrial genes, 16 matched to described cDNA, and 20 corresponded to unknown sequences that may represent novel genes. The study of 7 differentially expressed mRNAs known to be involved in developmental process in the embryo suggests roles for apoptosis, oxidative stress, gap junctions, and differentiation in the determination of embryo quality. The aberrant transcription patterns detected in in vitro-produced bovine embryos compared with those produced in vivo may explain their reduced quality in terms of viability after cryopreservation.
One of the postulated main luteolytic actions of prostaglandin (PG) F2(alpha) is to decrease ovarian blood flow. However, before Day 5 of the normal cycle, the corpus luteum (CL) is refractory to the luteolytic action of PGF(2alpha). Therefore, we aimed to determine in detail the real-time changes in intraluteal blood flow after PGF(2alpha) injection at the early and middle stages of the estrous cycle in the cow. Normally cycling cows at Day 4 (early CL, n=5) or Days 10-12 (mid CL, n=5) of the estrous cycle (estrus=Day 0) were examined by transrectal color and pulsed Doppler ultrasonography to determine the blood flow area, the time-averaged maximum velocity (TAMXV), and the volume of the CL after an i.m. injection of a PGF(2alpha) analogue. Ultrasonographic examinations were carried out just before PG injection (0 h) and then at 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, and 48 h after the injection. Blood samples were collected at each of these times for progesterone (P) determination. The ratio of the colored area to a sectional plane at the maximum diameter of the CL was used as a quantitative index of the changes in blood flow within the luteal tissue. Blood flow within the midcycle CL initially increased (P<0.05) at 0.5-2 h, decreased at 4 h to the same levels observed at 0 h, and then further decreased to a lower level from 8 h (P<0.05) to 48 h (P<0.001). Plasma P concentrations decreased (P<0.05) from 4.7+/-0.5 ng/ml (0 h) to 0.6+/-0.2 ng/ml (24 h). The TAMXV and CL volume decreased at 8 h (P<0.05) and further decreased (P<0.001) from 12 to 24 h after PG injection, indicating structural luteolysis. These changes were not detected in the early CL, in which luteolysis did not occur. in the early CL, the blood flow gradually increased in parallel with the CL volume, plasma P concentration, and TAMXV from Day 4 to Day 6. The present results indicate that PGF(2alpha) induces an acute blood flow increase followed by a decrease in the midcycle CL but not in the early CL. This transitory increase may trigger the luteolytic cascade. The lack of intraluteal vascular response to PG injection in the early CL appears to be directly correlated with the ability to be resistant to PG.
To clone a pig from somatic cells, we first validated an electrical activation method for use on ovulated oocytes. We then evaluated delayed versus simultaneous activation (DA vs. SA) strategies, the use of 2 nuclear donor cells, and the use of cytoskeletal inhibitors during nuclear transfer. Using enucleated ovulated oocytes as cytoplasts for fetal fibroblast nuclei and transferring cloned embryos into a recipient within 2 h of activation, a 2-h delay between electrical fusion and activation yielded blastocysts more reliably and with a higher nuclear count than did SA. Comparable rates of development using DA were obtained following culture of embryos cloned from ovulated or in vitro-matured cytoplasts and fibroblast or cumulus nuclei. Treatment of cloned embryos with cytochalasin B (CB) postfusion and for 6 h after DA had no impact on blastocyst development as compared with CB treatment postfusion only. Inclusion of a microtubule inhibitor such as nocodozole with CB before and after DA improved nuclear retention and favored the formation of single pronuclei in experiments using a membrane dye to reliably monitor fusion. However, no improvement in blastocyst development was observed. Using fetal fibroblasts as nuclear donor cells, a live cloned piglet was produced in a pregnancy that was maintained by cotransfer of parthenogenetic embryos.
This study investigated two hypotheses: 1) that consistent between-boar variation in frozen semen quality exists and is genetically determined, and 2) molecular markers linked to genes controlling semen freezability can be identified using amplified restriction fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) technology. Five ejaculates were collected from each of 129 boars. Semen was diluted into a commercial freezing buffer (700 mOsm/kg, 3% glycerol) and five straws (0.5 ml) per ejaculate were cryopreserved (to â5Â°C at 6Â°C/min, then â5Â°C to â80Â°C at 40Â°C/min). Semen was assessed for percentage of motile cells, motility characteristics (computer-aided semen analysis; CASA), plasma membrane integrity (SYBR-14 positive), and acrosome integrity (positive for fluorescein-labeled peanut agglutinin; PNA). Consistent between-boar variability was detected for postthaw sperm motility ( P 0.05) or straws ( P > 0.05) for any viability assessment. Multivariate pattern analysis of the viability data set highlighted three groups of boars producing spermatozoa with poor, average, and good postthaw recovery (42, 63, and 24 boars, respectively). DNA from Large White boars (n = 22) previously classified as good and poor freezers was screened for AFLP markers. Twenty-eight polymerase chain reaction primer combinations generated 2182 restriction fragment bands, of which 421 were polymorphic. Sixteen candidate genetic markers ( P < 0.005) were identified by comparing the AFLP profile with semen freezability using logistic regression analysis. These findings support the hypothesis that there is a genetic basis for variation in postthaw semen quality between individuals, and that AFLP technology may be able to identify molecular markers linked to genes influencing this variation.
Noninvasive, epitheliochorial placentation in the pig follows a prolonged preimplantation period characterized by migration, spacing and elongation of conceptuses, and secretion of estrogen for maternal recognition of pregnancy. Osteopontin (OPN) is an extracellular matrix protein that binds integrins to promote cell-cell attachment and communication. OPN appears to play a key role in conceptus implantation and maintenance of pregnancy in sheep; however, a role for OPN in the porcine uterus has not been established. Therefore, this study examined OPN expression and function in the porcine uterus and conceptus (embryo/fetus and associated extraembryonic membranes). Northern and slot blot hybridization detected an increase in endometrial OPN expression between Days 25 and 30, and levels remained elevated through Day 85 of pregnancy. In situ hybridization localized OPN mRNA to discrete regions of the uterine luminal epithelium (LE) on Day 15 of pregnancy and to the entire LE thereafter. Glandular epithelial (GE) expression of OPN mRNA was first detected on Day 35 of pregnancy and increased through Day 85. Both 70- and 45-kDa forms of OPN protein were detected in cyclic and pregnant endometrium by Western blotting. OPN protein was localized to the LE and GE by immunofluorescence; however, only the 70-kDa OPN was detected in uterine flushings. OPN protein was present along the entire uterine-placental interface after Day 30 of pregnancy. In addition, OPN mRNA and protein were localized to immune-like cells within the stratum compactum of the endometrium in both Day 9 cyclic and pregnant gilts. Incubation of OPN-coated microbeads with porcine trophectoderm and uterine luminal epithelial cells induced Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD)-dependent integrin activation and transmembrane accumulation of cytoskeletal molecules at the apical cell surface as assessed by immunofluorescence detection of talin or Î±-actinin as markers for focal adhesions. These results suggest that OPN, expressed by uterine epithelium and immune cells, may interact with receptors (i.e., integrins) on conceptus and uterus to promote conceptus development and signaling between these tissues as key contributors to attachment and placentation in the pig.
The transient synthesis and accumulation of hyaluronan (HA), an extracellular matrix component of cumulus cells, brings about expansion of cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) in preovulatory mammalian follicles. In this study, we investigated the mRNA expressions of hyaluronan synthase 2 (has2), hyaluronan synthase 3 (has3), and CD44, as well as the responsiveness to eCG and porcine follicular fluid (pFF) of these genes, in porcine COCs, oocytectomized complexes (OXCs), and oocytes during in vitro maturation. Immunolocalization of CD44 was also analyzed in COCs. After 12 h of culture, the area of cumulus expansion in medium 199 supplemented with both 10 IU/ml eCG and 10% (v/v) pFF was significantly greater than that in the medium supplemented with eCG or pFF. Oocytectomy reduced the expansion area in the group supplemented with eCG. In reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis, all transcripts were identified in COCs, but has3 transcript was not found in OXCs. Only has3 mRNA was detectable in oocytes, indicating that cumulus cells express has2 and CD44 mRNAs, and oocytes express has3 mRNA. The expression levels of has2 and CD44 mRNAs in COCs and OXCs increased in the presence of eCG and pFF after 24 h of culture, suggesting that these genes have a positive dependency on eCG and pFF. In contrast, the high level of has3 mRNA was detected in COCs cultured in the medium alone. Oocytectomy slightly reduced the expression level of has2 mRNA. On immunostaining for CD44, CD44 was expressed apparently in COCs cultured with eCG and pFF for 24 h. The positive staining was distributed on cytoplasm along the perimembrane of cumulus cells and at the junctions between cumulus cells and oocytes. CD44 was also localized on cytoplasm of some oocytes. These results indicate that 1) porcine oocytes promote eCG-dependent cumulus expansion and the expression of has2 mRNA in cumulus cells, but these are not essential for expansion of cumulus cells and the expression of has2 mRNA; 2) HAS2 is involved in HA synthesis during cumulus expansion, and eCG and pFF up-regulate its expression; 3) the expression profile of the has3 mRNA that is transcribed in oocytes is different from those of has2 and CD44 mRNA; and 4) CD44 may participate in the interaction between cumulus cells and oocytes.
Fas antigen (Fas) is a cell surface receptor that triggers apoptosis in sensitive cells when bound to the Fas ligand (Fas L). The present study was undertaken to identify the presence of a Fas-Fas L system in bovine corpus luteum (CL) and to evaluate the regulation of Fas-mediated luteal cell death by leukocyte-derived cytokines. The reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction showed higher levels of Fas mRNA expression in CL in the regressed luteal stage (Days 19â21) than in the other stages ( P < 0.05). Bovine luteal cells from midcycle CL (Days 8â12) were exposed for 24 h to interferon Î³ (IFN; 50 ng/ml) and/or tumor necrosis factor Î± (TNF; 50 ng/ml). After 24 h of culture, the expression of Fas mRNA was detected in the cultured cells and was increased by IFN. Moreover, TNF augmented the stimulatory action of IFN, whereas TNF alone did not affect the expression of Fas mRNA. The effects of IFN and TNF on Fas-mediated cell death were also examined. Cells were exposed to IFN and/or TNF for 24 h and were further treated with IFN and/or TNF in the presence or absence of Fas L (100 ng/ml) for 24 h. Treatments of the cells with IFN alone and in combination with TNF resulted in killing of 30% and 50% of the cells ( P < 0.05), respectively, whereas TNF alone did not have a cytotoxic effect on the cells. On the other hand, Fas L killed 60% of the cells treated with IFN ( P < 0.01) and 85% of the cells treated with the combination of TNF and IFN ( P < 0.01), respectively, whereas Fas L showed no effect on the viability of the luteal cells treated with or without TNF. Furthermore, shrunken nuclei and apoptotic bodies were observed in the cells treated with Fas L in the presence of TNF and IFN. The overall results suggest that a Fas-Fas L system is present in bovine CL and that leukocyte-derived TNF and IFN play important roles in Fas-mediated luteal cell death.
To identify novel human sperm membrane antigens, we analyzed two-dimensional gels of sperm extracts containing hydrophobic proteins that partitioned into Triton X-114. Four protein spots with isoelectric points (p I s) ranging from 4.5 to 5.5 and apparent molecular weights from 32 to 34 kDa were sequenced by mass spectrometry and found to contain common peptide sequences. Cloning the corresponding cDNA revealed that these protein spots were products of a single gene ( SAMP32 ), encoding a protein of 32 kDa with a predicted p I of 4.57. SAMP32 has a potential transmembrane domain in the carboxyl terminus and is phosphorylated in vivo on serine 256. Northern blotting of eight human tissues and RNA dot blotting of 76 human tissues showed that SAMP32 expression was testis specific. SAMP32 contained an amino terminal domain homologous to the major malarial circumsporozoite surface protein and a domain similar to that of Krp1 from Schizosaccharomyces pombe in its carboxyl terminus. The SAMP32 locus consists of seven exons on chromosome 6q15-16.2. Antiserum against recombinant SAMP32 recognized protein spots originally cored from a two-dimensional gel. This antiserum strongly stained the equatorial segment and faintly stained the acrosome cap of ejaculated human spermatozoa by immunofluorescence. Immunoelectron microscopy showed that SAMP32 was associated with the inner acrosomal membrane in the principal and the equatorial segments of the sperm acrosome. By immunostaining enzyme-dissociated testicular cells, SAMP32 was localized to Golgi phase round spermatids and subsequent stages of acrosome biogenesis. Recombinant SAMP32 reacted with serum from an infertile man, suggesting that it is isoantigenic. Antibodies against recombinant SAMP32 inhibited both the binding and the fusion of human sperm to zona-free hamster eggs.
Vascular development and its transformation are necessary for successful hemochorial placentation, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), angiopoietins, and their receptors may be involved in the molecular regulation of this process. To determine the potential role of these putative regulators in a widely studied primate, the common marmoset, we investigated their mRNA expression and protein location in the placenta throughout pregnancy using in situ hybridization, Northern blot analysis, and immunocytochemistry. VEGF was localized in decidual and cytotrophoblast cells, and its highest expression was found in the maternal decidua. The Flt receptor was exclusively detected in the syncytial trophoblast with increasing expression in placentae from 10 wk to term. Soluble Flt (sFlt) was also detectable by Northern blot analysis. KDR receptor expression was restricted to mesenchymal cells during early placentation and to the fetoplacental vasculature during later placentation. KDR expression increased throughout pregnancy. Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) was localized in the syncytial trophoblast, being highly expressed in the second half of gestation. Ang-2 mRNA localized exclusively to maternal endothelial cells, and was highly expressed in 10-wk placentae. The Tie-2 receptor was found in cytotrophoblast cells and in fetal and maternal vessels. High Tie-2 levels were detected in the wall of chorion vessels at 14-wk, 17-wk, and term placentae. These results suggest that the processes of trophoblast invasion, maternal vascular transformation, and fetoplacental vascular differentiation and development are regulated by the specific actions of angiogenic ligand-receptor pairs. Specifically, 1) VEGF/Flt and Ang-1/Tie-2 may promote trophoblast growth, 2) VEGF/KDR and Ang-1/Tie-2 may support fetoplacental vascular development and stabilization, 3) sFlt may balance VEGF actions, and 4) Ang-2/Tie-2 may remodel the maternal vasculature.
We used okadaic acid (OA), a potent inhibitor of protein phosphatases 1 and 2A, to study the regulatory effects of protein phosphatases on mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase phosphorylation, morphological changes in the nucleus, and microtubule assembly during pig oocyte maturation and fertilization in vitro. When germinal vesicle (GV) stage oocytes were exposed to OA, MAP kinase phosphorylation was greatly accelerated, being fully activated at 10 min. However, MAP kinase was dephosphorylated by long-term (>20 h) exposure to OA. Correspondingly, premature chromosome condensation and GV breakdown were accelerated, whereas meiotic spindle assembly and meiotic progression beyond metaphase I stage were inhibited. OA also quickly reversed the inhibitory effects of butyrolactone I, a specific inhibitor of maturation-promoting factor (MPF), on MAP kinase phosphorylation and meiosis resumption. Treatment of metaphase II oocytes triggered metaphase II spindle elongation and disassembly as well as chromosome alignment disruption. OA treatment of fertilized eggs resulted in prompt phosphorylation of MAP kinase, disassembly of microtubules around the pronuclear area, chromatin condensation, and pronuclear membrane breakdown, but inhibited further cleavage. Our results suggest that inhibition of protein phosphatases promptly phosphorylates MAP kinase, induces premature chromosome condensation and meiosis resumption as well as pronucleus breakdown, but inhibits spindle organization and suppresses microtubule assembly by sperm centrosomes in pig oocytes and fertilized eggs.
Abstract A morphological classification of the immature cumulus-oocyte complex (COC), which grossly resembled the atresia grade of its follicle source, was used in bovine oocytes to determine 1) the developmental potential by either in vitro fertilization or parthenogenetic activation, 2) the calcium current activity by whole-cell voltage clamp technique, and 3) the intracytoplasmic calcium stores by microfluorimetric evaluation. The COC classification took into account some cumulus and ooplasm features, designated as follows: A) presence of a clear and compact cumulus and translucent ooplasm, B) dark and compact cumulus and dark ooplasm, and C) dark and expanded cumulus and dark ooplasm. We found no difference between in vitro fertilization and parthenogenetically activated oocytes in terms of cleavage rate and blastocyst production. Both protocols indicated a significant variability between the three compared COC categories. The B-COCs showed the highest embryo production efficiency as well as the great...
In cattle, administration of retinol at the time of superovulation has been indirectly associated with enhanced developmental potential of the embryo. Vitamin A and its metabolites influence several developmental processes by interacting with 2 different types of nuclear receptors, retinoic acid receptors and retinoid X receptors (RXRs). Given the limited information available concerning the RXR-mediated retinoid signaling system, particularly in species other than rodents, this study was performed to gain insight into the potential role of retinoid signaling during preattachment embryo development in the cow. Bovine embryos were produced in vitro from oocytes harvested from abattoir ovaries and frozen in liquid nitrogen at the oocyte, 2-, 4-, 8-, and 16- to 20-cell, morula, blastocyst, and hatched blastocyst stages. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and whole mount in situ hybridization were utilized to investigate mRNA expression for RXRÎ±, RXRÎ², RXRÎ³, alcohol dehydrogenase I (ADH-I), retinaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (RALDH2), peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARÎ³), and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. Transcripts for RXRÎ±, RXRÎ², RALDH2, and PPARÎ³ were detected in all stages beginning from the oocyte through to the hatched blastocyst. Whole mount in situ hybridization performed using digoxigenin-labeled antisense probes detected all 4 transcripts in both the inner cell mass and the trophectoderm of hatched blastocysts. PCR products obtained for ADH-I exhibited very low homology to known human and mouse sequences. Immunohistochemistry was performed using polyclonal anti-rabbit antibodies against RXRÎ² and PPARÎ³ to investigate whether these embryonic mRNAs were translated to the mature protein. Strong immunostaining was observed for both RXRÎ² and PPARÎ³ in the trophectoderm and inner cell mass cells of intact and hatched blastocysts. Messenger RNA was not detected at any stage for RXRÎ³. Expression of mRNA for RXRÎ±, RXRÎ², RALDH2, and PPARÎ³ suggests that the early embryo may be competent to synthesize retinoic acid and regulate gene expression during preattachment development in vitro.
Factors influencing pig oocyte activation by electrical stimulation were evaluated by their effect on the development of parthenogenetic embryos to the blastocyst stage to establish an effective activation protocol for pig nuclear transfer. This evaluation included 1) a comparison of the effect of epidermal growth factor and amino acids in maturation medium, 2) an investigation of interactions among oocyte age, applied voltage field strength, electrical pulse number, and pulse duration, and 3) a karyotype analysis of the parthenogenetic blastocysts yielded by an optimized protocol based on an in vitro system of oocyte maturation and embryo culture. In the first study, addition of amino acids in maturation medium was beneficial for the developmental competence of activated oocytes. In the second study, the developmental response of activated oocytes was dependent on interactions between oocyte age at activation and applied voltage field strength, voltage field strength and pulse number, and pulse number and duration. The formation of parthenogenetic blastocysts was optimal when activation was at 44 h of maturation using three 80-Î¼sec consecutive pulses of 1.0 kV/cm DC. Approximately 84% of parthenogenetic blastocysts yielded by this protocol were diploid, implying a potential for further in vivo development.
The effects of beta-mercaptoethanol (beta-ME) on in vitro development under oxidative stress and cystine uptake of bovine embryos were investigated. Bovine 1-cell embryos obtained by in vitro fertilization were cultured in TCM-199 or synthetic oviductal fluid (SOF) in 20% O-2 supplemented with beta-ME. Addition of beta-ME significantly (P<0.01) promoted embryo development when cultured in both TCM-199 and SOF under high levels of O-2, to almost the same rates when they were cultured in 5% O-2. To investigate whether the growth-promoting effect of β-ME was related to cystine uptake, which is an important amino acid for intracellular glutathione (GSH) synthesis, 1-cell, 8-cell, morula, and blastocyst stage embryos were incubated in cystine, cysteine-free TCM-199 containing radioisotope-labeled cystine supplemented with or without β-ME. It was found that cystine uptake was consistently low in each embryo stage incubated without β-ME. In contrast, addition of β-ME significantly (P<0.05 to 0.0001) promoted cystine uptake in each stage of embryo development. This increase of cystine uptake by beta-ME was significantly inhibited by supplementation of buthionine sulfoximine, a specific inhibitor of GSH biosynthesis (P<0.0001). High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis clearly revealed a decrease of cystine in culture medium after supplementation by β-ME, thereby forming another peak. HPLC analysis also showed the incorporated cystine by supplementation of β-ME was possibly metabolized for GSH synthesis in the embryos. These results indicate that β-ME has a protective effect in embryo development against oxidative stress and that the effect of β-ME is associated with the promotion of cystine uptake of low availability in embryos.
Abstract Although the potential use of reproductive biotechnologies for safeguarding endangered wildlife species is undoubted, practical efforts have met with limited success to date. In those instances in which modern technologies have been adapted to rescuing rare or endangered species, procedures have been applied piecemeal, and no consistent breeding program based on reproductive biotechnologies has been undertaken. Here we describe for the first time the rescue of an endangered species, the European mouflon (Ovis orientalis musimon), by the application of an integrated package of reproductive biotechnologies. This genetic management extended from the initial collection of gametes, through the in vitro production of embryos and interspecific transfer, to the birth of healthy mouflon offspring. In addition, a genetic resource bank for the European mouflon was established, with cryopreserved sperm, embryos, and somatic cells.
In the pig, estrogens transiently produced by embryos and progestins of maternal origin target the uterine endometrium, causing alterations in gene expression and secretory activity, both of which are important for the initiation of embryo attachment. The potential direct embryotrophic roles of estrogens and progestins are, however, unknown. Here we report the cloning of porcine embryonic estrogen receptor-beta (ER-beta) mRNA by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using specific primer sets designed initially within conserved regions of human and bovine ER-beta mRNAs, and subsequently within regions of identified porcine ER-beta cDNA sequences. The ER-beta mRNA has an open reading frame of 1578 nucleotides and encodes a 526 amino acid polypeptide that displays greater than 90% identity with other mammalian ER-beta proteins. Northern and Western blot analyses using porcine filamentous embryos from Day 12 of pregnancy demonstrated the presence of multiple ER-beta mRNA transcripts of approximately 9.5, 4.9, and 3.5 kilobases, and a similar to64-kDa protein corresponding in size to human ovarian granulosa cell ER-beta, respectively. In Day 12 filamentous embryos, ER-beta expression was immunolocalized to trophoblastic cell nuclei, coincident with that of proliferative cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). The developmental ontogeny of ER-beta mRNA was evaluated in embryos of different morphologies (spherical, tubular, and filamentous) by semiquantitative RT-PCR, along with those for other steroid hormone receptors (ER-alpha and progesterone receptor) and known embryonic genes associated with cell differentiation (cytochrome P450 aromatase type III) and growth (cyclin D1). ER-beta mRNA levels varied with embryo morphology (filamentous maximum at Day 12), coincident with that of cyclin D1. Progesterone receptor mRNA levels were maximal in tubular embryos, similar to that of P450 aromatase, whereas the expression of the ER-alpha gene was barely detectable and appeared constitutive for all developmental stages examined. Estradiol-17beta treatment of Day 12 filamentous embryos in culture up-regulated ER-beta and P450 aromatase (type III) mRNA levels, respectively, but decreased those of PCNA, and had no effect on cyclin D1 mRNA levels. These studies taken together suggest that embryonic ER-beta likely mediates the autocrine functions of estrogens in the dynamic regulation of embryonic growth and development at periimplantation.
Formation of the tail in developing sperm is a complex process involving the organization of the axoneme, transport of periaxonemal proteins from the cytoplasm to the tail, and assembly of the outer dense fibers and fibrous sheath. Although detailed morphological descriptions of these events are available, the molecular mechanisms remain to be fully elucidated. We have isolated a new gene, named shippo 1 , from a haploid germ cell-specific cDNA library of mouse testis, and also its human orthologue ( h-shippo 1 ). The isolated cDNA is 1.2 kilobases long, carrying a 762-base pair open reading frame that encodes SHIPPO 1, a sperm protein predicted to consist of 254 amino acids. The amino acid sequence includes 6 Pro-Gly-Pro repeats, which are also present in the human orthologue protein (hSHIPPO 1) as well as in 2 other newly reported proteins of Drosophila melanogaster . Transcription of shippo 1 is exclusively observed in haploid germ cells. Antibody raised against SHIPPO 1 identified a testis-specific M r 32 Ã 10 â3 band in Western blot analysis. The protein was further localized in the flagella of the elongated spermatids and along the entire length of the tail in mature sperm. SHIPPO 1 in sperm is resistant to treatment with nonionic detergents and coextracted with the cytoskeletal core proteins of the mouse sperm tail.
Dmrt1 is a recently described gene that is specifically expressed in the gonads and is required for postnatal testis differentiation. Here, we describe the transcriptional mechanisms regulating the Dmrt1 proximal promoter in testicular Sertoli cells. A genomic clone containing exon 1 of the rat Dmrt1 gene and more than 9 kilobases of 5â² flanking sequence was isolated and characterized. Several prominent transcriptional start sites were identified, with the major site located 102 bases from the translational start. The Dmrt1 5â² flanking region from â5000 to +74 was transcriptionally active in primary Sertoli cells, and deletion analysis of this fragment identified 2 major regions needed for full Dmrt1 promoter function. These regions were located between â3200 and â2000 base pairs (bp) and downstream of â150 bp relative to the major transcriptional start site. DNase I footprint analysis of the region downstream of â150 bp revealed 3 regions that are bound by proteins from Sertoli cell nuclear extracts. Site-directed mutagenesis of these regions identified 2 elements that activate the Dmrt1 promoter and 2 that repress it. The positive elements bind the transcription factors Sp1, Sp3, and Egr1, suggesting that these transcription factors play a critical role in Dmrt1 regulation in the testis.
Gastrointestinal motility is reduced and the incidence of functional gastrointestinal disorders is increased in pregnancy, possibly due to hormonal influences. This study aims to clarify whether the hormone relaxin, which attains high circulating levels during pregnancy and has a nitric oxide-mediated relaxant action on vascular and uterine smooth muscle, also reduces bowel motility and, if it does, whether nitric oxide is involved. Female mice in proestrous or estrous were treated for 18 h with relaxin (1 Î¼g s.c.) or vehicle (controls). Isolated ileal preparations from both groups were used to record contractile activity, either basal or after acute administration of relaxin (5 Ã 10 â8 M). Drugs inhibiting nitric oxide biosynthesis or neurotransmission were used in combination with relaxin. Expression of nitric oxide synthase isoforms by the ileum was assessed by immunocytochemistry and Western blot analysis. Relaxin caused a clear-cut decay of muscle tension and a reduction in amplitude of spontaneous contractions upon either chronic administration to mice or acute addition to isolated ileal preparations. These effects were significantly blunted by N G -nitro- l -arginine, but not by the neural blockers we used. Moreover, relaxin increased the expression of nitric oxide synthases II and III, but not synthase I. Relaxin markedly inhibits ileal motility in mice by exerting a direct action on smooth muscle through the activation of intrinsic nitric oxide biosynthesis.