Before fertilization, chromatins of both mouse oocytes and spermatozoa contain very few acetylated histones. Soon after fertilization, chromatins of both gametes become highly acetylated. The same deacetylation-reacetylation changes occur with histones of somatic nuclei transferred into enucleated oocytes. The significance of these events in somatic chromatin reprogramming to the totipotent state is not known. To investigate their importance in reprogramming, we injected cumulus cell nuclei into enucleated mouse oocytes and estimated the histone deacetylation dynamics with immunocytochemistry. Other reconstructed oocytes were cultured before and/or after activation in the presence of the highly potent histone deacetylase inhibitor trychostatin A (TSA) for up to 9 h postactivation. The potential of TSA-treated and untreated oocytes to develop to the blastocyst stage and to full term was compared. Global deacetylation of histones in the cumulus nuclei occurred between 1 and 3 h after injection. TSA inhibition of histone deacetylation did not affect the blastocyst rate (37% with and 34% without TSA treatment), whereas extension of the TSA treatment beyond the activation point significantly increased the blastocyst rate (up to 81% versus 40% without TSA treatment) and quality (on average, 59 versus 45 cells in day 4 blastocysts with and without TSA treatment, respectively). TSA treatment also slightly increased full-term development (from 0.8% to 2.8%). Thus, deacetylation of somatic histones is not important for reprogramming, and hyperacetylation might actually improve reprogramming. Abstract Deacetylation of transferred somatic chromatin in oocyte cytoplasm is not important for reprogramming, whereas inhibition of histone deacetylation following oocyte activation improves development of clones
Germ cell fate in mice is induced in proximal epiblast cells at Embryonic Day (E) 6.5 by signaling molecules. Prdm1 (also known as Blimp1 )-positive lineage-restricted precursors of primordial germ cells (PGCs) initiate the formation of a cluster that differentiates into Dppa3 (also known as stella )-positive PGCs from around E7.0 onwards in the extra-embryonic mesoderm. Around E7.5, these PGCs begin migrating towards the definitive endoderm, with concomitant extensive epigenetic reprogramming. To gain a more precise insight into the mechanism of PGC specification and its subsequent development, we exploited quantitative, single-cell, gene expression profiling to explore gene expression dynamics during the 36 h of PGC differentiation from E6.75 to E8.25, in comparison with the corresponding profiles of somatic neighbors. This analysis revealed that the transitions from Prdm1 -positive PGC precursors to Dppa3 -positive PGCs and to more advanced migrating PGCs involve a highly dynamic, stage-dependent transcriptional orchestration that begins with the regaining of the pluripotency-associated gene network, followed by stepwise activation of PGC-specific genes, differential repression of the somatic mesodermal program, as well as potential modulations of signal transduction capacities and unique control of epigenetic regulators. The information presented here regarding the cascade of events involved in PGC development should serve as a basis for detailed functional analyses of the gene products associated with this process, as well as for appropriate reconstitution of PGCs and their descendant cells in culture. Abstract Quantitative single-cell gene expression profiling during the 36-hour period from Embryonic Day 6.75 to 8.25 of germ cell development identifies temporal coordination of critical events associated with germ cell specification in mice.
Normal spermatogenesis is essential for reproduction and depends on proper spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) function . Genes and signaling pathways that regulate SSC function have not been well defined. We report that glial cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) signaling through the RET tyrosine kinase/GFRA1 receptor complex is required for spermatogonial self-renewal in mice. GFRA1 and RET expression was identified in a subset of gonocytes at birth, was restricted to SSCs during normal spermatogenesis, and RET expressing cells were abundant in a cryptorchid model of SSC self-renewal. We used the whole-testis transplantation technique to overcome the limitation of neonatal lethality of Gdnf -, Gfra1 -, and Ret -deficient mice and found that each of these genes is required for postnatal spermatogenesis and not for embryological testes development. Each mutant testis shows severe SSC depletion by Postnatal Day 7 during the first wave of spermatogenesis. These defects were due to lack of SSC proliferation and an inability of SSCs to maintain an undifferentiated state. Our results demonstrate that GDNF-mediated RET signaling is critical for the fate of undifferentiated spermatogonia and that abnormalities in this pathway may contribute to male infertility and testicular germ cell tumors. Abstract RET signaling is required for testicular stem cell function.
In the presence of the Y-chromosomal gene Sry, the bipotential mouse gonads develop as testes rather than as ovaries. The autosomal gene Sox9, a likely and possibly direct Sry target, can induce testis development in the absence of Sry. Sox9 is thus sufficient but not necessarily essential for testis induction. Mutational inactivation of one allele of SOX9 / Sox9 causes sex reversal in humans but not in mice. Because Sox9 â/â embryos die around Embryonic Day 11.5 (E11.5) at the onset of testicular morphogenesis, differentiation of the mutant XY gonad can be analyzed only ex vivo in organ culture. We have therefore conditionally inactivated both Sox9 alleles in the gonadal anlagen using the CRE/ loxP recombination system, whereby CRE recombinase is under control of the cytokeratin 19 promoter. Analysis of resulting Sox9 â/â XY gonads up to E15.5 reveals immediate, complete sex reversal, as shown by expression of the early ovary-specific markers Wnt4 and Foxl2 and by lack of testis cord and Leydig cell formation. Sry expression in mutant XY gonads indicates that downregulation of Wnt4 and Foxl2 is dependent on Sox9 rather than on Sry. Our results provide in vivo proof that, in contrast to the situation in humans, complete XY sex reversal in mice requires inactivation of both Sox9 alleles and that Sox9 is essential for testogenesis in mice. Abstract Ck19:Cre -mediated inactivation of Sox9 in the gonadal anlagen causes complete XY sex reversal, as shown by expression of the early ovary-specific markers Wnt4 and Foxl2, providing in vivo proof that Sox9 is essential for testogenesis in mice.
Recent evidence has shown that amniotic fluid may be a novel source of fetal stem cells for therapeutic transplantation. We previously developed a two-stage culture protocol to isolate a population of amniotic fluid-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AFMSCs) from second-trimester amniocentesis. AFMSCs maintain the capacity to differentiate into multiple mesenchymal lineages and neuron-like cells. It is unclear whether amniotic fluid contains heterogeneous populations of stem cells or a subpopulation of primitive stem cells that are similar to marrow stromal cells showing the behavior of neural progenitors. In this study, we showed a subpopulation of amniotic fluid-derived stem cells (AF-SCs) at the single-cell level by limiting dilution. We found that NANOG - and POU5F1 (also known as OCT4 )-expressing cells still existed in the expanded single cell-derived AF-SCs. Aside from the common mesenchymal characteristics, these clonal AF-SCs also exhibit multiple phenotypes of neural-derived cells such as NES, TUBB3, NEFH, NEUNA60, GALC, and GFAP expressions both before and after neural induction. Most importantly, HPLC analysis showed the evidence of dopamine release in the extract of dopaminergic-induced clonal AF-SCs. The results of this study suggest that besides being an easily accessible and expandable source of fetal stem cells, amniotic fluid will provide a promising source of neural progenitor cells that may be used in future cellular therapies for neurodegenerative diseases and nervous system injuries. Abstract Amniotic fluid will provide a promising source of neural progenitor cells that may be used in future cellular therapies for neurodegenerative diseases and nervous system injuries
During early pregnancy in ruminants, progesterone (P4) from the corpus luteum and interferon tau (IFNT) from the conceptus act on the endometrium to regulate genes important for uterine receptivity and conceptus growth. The use of the uterine gland knockout (UGKO) ewe has demonstrated the critical role of epithelial secretions in regulation of conceptus survival and growth. A custom ovine cDNA array was used to identify alterations in gene expression of endometria from Day 14 cyclic, pregnant, and UGKO ewes (study 1) and from cyclic ewes treated with P4 or P4 with ZK 136,317 antiprogestin and control proteins or IFNT (study 2). In study 1, expression of 47 genes was more than 2-fold different between Day 14 pregnant and cyclic endometria, whereas 23 genes was different between Day 14 cyclic and UGKO endometria. In study 2, 70 genes were different due to P4 alone, 74 genes were affected by IFNT in a P4-dependent manner, and 180 genes were regulated by IFNT in a P4-independent manner. In each study, an approximately equal number of genes were found to be activated or repressed in each group. Endometrial genes increased by pregnancy and P4 and/or IFNT include B2M, CTSL, CXCL10, G1P3, GRP, IFI27, IFIT1, IFITM3, LGALS15, MX1, POSTN, RSAD2, and STAT5A. Transcripts decreased by pregnancy and P4 and/or IFNT include COL3A1, LUM, PTMA, PUM1, RPL9, SPARC, and VIM. Identification and analysis of these hormonally responsive genes will help define endometrial pathways critical for uterine support of peri-implantation conceptus survival, growth, and implantation. Abstract Microarray analysis identified genes and gene networks involved in novel endometrial pathways regulated by progesterone, IFNT, and pregnancy that are critical for conceptus survival, growth, and implantation.
The active form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin ID, (1,25[OH](2)D-3) is a potent immunomodulatory seco-steroid. We have demonstrated that several components of vitamin D metabolism and signaling are strongly expressed in human uterine decidua from first trimester pregnancies, suggesting that locally produced 1,25(OH)(2)D-3 may exert immunosuppressive effects during early stages of gestation. To investigate this further, we used primary cultures of human decidual cells from first and third trimester pregnancies to demonstrate expression and activity of the enzyme that catalyzes synthesis of 1,25(OH)(2)D-3, 1alpha-hydroxylase (CYP27B1). Synthesis of 1,25(OH)(2)D-3 was higher in first trimester decidual cells (41 +/- 11.8 fmoles/h/mg protein) than in third trimester cells (8 +/- 4.4 fmoles/h/mg protein; P < 0.05). Purification of decidual cells followed by quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that CYP27B1 was expressed by both CD10(+VE) stromal-enriched and CD10(-VE) stromal-depleted cells, with higher levels of mRNA in first trimester pregnancies. Expression of CYP27B1 correlated with TLR4 and IDO. Functional responses to 1,25(OH)(2)D-3 were studied using CD56(+ve) natural killer (NK) cells isolated from first trimester decidua. Decidual NK cells treated with 1,25(OH)(2)D-3 or precursor 25-hydroxyvitamin D-3 (25OHD(3)) for 28 h showed decreased synthesis of cytokines, such as granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor 2 (CSF2), tumor necrosis factor, and interleukin 6, but increased expression of mRNA for the antimicrobial peptide cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide. These data indicate that human decidual cells are able to synthesize active 1,25(OH)(2)D-3 particularly in early gestation, and this may act in an autocrine/paracrine fashion to regulate both acquired and innate immune responses at the fetal-maternal interface.
The availability of viable oocytes is the limiting factor in the development of new reproductive techniques. Many attempts have been made to grow immature oocytes in vitro during recent decades. Recently, a modified alginate-based three-dimensional culture system was designed to support the growth and maturation of multilayered secondary follicles. This system was able to produce oocytes that successfully completed meiosis, fertilization, and development to the blastocyst stage. Subsequent attempts to culture two-layered secondary follicles were unsuccessful under the original conditions. Herein, we investigated the effect of alginate consistency on two-layered follicle growth and oocyte developmental competence by encapsulating follicles into alginate scaffolds of various concentrations. Although there were no significant differences in survival rates, 0.25% and 0.5% alginate supported more rapid growth of follicles and antrum formation compared with 1.5% and 1.0% alginate after 8 days of culture. Alginate scaffold concentration also affected the proliferation and differentiation of somatic cells (theca and granulosa cells), measured in terms of morphological changes, steroid profiles (androstenedione, estradiol, and progesterone), and specific molecular markers ( Fshr , Lhcgr , and Gja1 ). Theca cell proliferation and steroid production were hindered in follicles cultured in 1.5% alginate. In vitro fertilization and embryo culture revealed that oocytes obtained from 0.25% alginate retained the highest developmental competence. Overall, the present study showed that the alginate scaffold consistency affects folliculogenesis and oocyte development in vitro and that the alginate culture system can and should be tailored to maximally support follicle growth depending on the size and stage of the follicles selected for culture.
On ejaculation, sperm become coated with proteins secreted by the male accessory sex glands. In the bull, these proteins consist predominantly of the bovine seminal plasma family of proteins (BSPs): PDC-109 (BSP-A1/-A2), BSP-A3, and BSP-30-kDa. PDC-109 plays a role in forming an oviductal sperm reservoir by enabling sperm to bind to oviductal epithelium. Because PDC-109 has high sequence identity with the other BSPs, we tested BSP-A3 and BSP-30-kDa for the capacity to bind sperm to oviductal epithelium. BSP-A3 and BSP-30-kDa each increased binding of epididymal sperm to epithelium and were as effective as PDC-109 in competitively inhibiting binding of ejaculated sperm. Because binding extends the motile life of sperm, BSPs were tested for the ability to maintain sperm motility. BSP-treated epididymal sperm incubated with plasma membrane vesicles from bovine oviductal epithelium maintained progressive motility longer than untreated sperm. To our knowledge, this is the first report of this protective effect of BSPs. Similarities in function among the BSPs were reflected in their three-dimensional structure, whereas surface maps of electrostatic potential indicated differences in binding affinities and kinetics. Such differences may provide sperm with greater adaptability to variations among females. Altogether, these results indicate that BSPs play a crucial role in fertilization by maintaining sperm motility during storage. Abstract Bovine seminal plasma proteins PDC-109, BSP-A3, and BSP-30-kDa enable bull sperm to bind to oviductal epithelium and prolong the motile lives of sperm in vitro
Peri-implantation conceptus (embryo/fetus and associated extraembryonic membranes) growth and development are primarily regulated by secretions from the uterus. This study investigated the effects of progesterone on preimplantation conceptus development and endometrial galectin 15 (LGALS15). Ewes received daily injections of either corn oil (CO) vehicle or 25 mg progesterone (P4) from 36 h postmating to hysterectomy. Treatment with P4 increased blastocyst diameter by 220% on Day 9 and advanced time of elongation of blastocysts to a filamentous conceptus on Day 12. Effects of P4 treatment on blastocyst development were blocked by administration of RU486, a progesterone receptor antagonist. Consistent with early elongation of blastocysts, interferon tau (IFNT) protein was about 50-fold greater in uterine flushes from Day 12 in ewes receiving P4 compared with those receiving CO. Expression of cathepsin L (CTSL) and radical S-adenosyl methionine domain containing 2 (RSAD2), both IFNT-stimulated genes, was increased in endometria of Day 12 P4-treated ewes. LGALS15 mRNA, expressed only in the endometrial luminal epithelium and superficial glands, was detected between Days 9 and 12 and was more abundant in ewes receiving P4 than in those receiving CO on both Days 9 and 12. RU486 treatment ablated P4 induction of LGALS15 mRNA in the endometrial epithelia. LGALS15 protein in uterine flushings was not different on Day 9 but tended to be greater in P4-treated ewes than in those receiving CO on Day 12. The advanced development of blastocysts in P4-treated ewes is hypothesized to involve early induction of specific genes in the endometrial epithelia, such as LGALS15 , and undoubtedly components of uterine histotroph. Abstract Exogenous progesterone stimulates preimplantation ovine blastocyst growth and development in association with endometrial LGALS15.
Abstract Somatic nuclear transfer (NT) in cattle is often complicated by fetal oversize (i.e., large offspring syndrome), hydrallantois, and placentomegaly in late gestation. The aims of this work were to obtain data on the placentome structure in NT-recipient cows with hydrallantois (NTH) and to relate these with fetal and placental weights to better understand the abnormalities observed in NTH pregnancies during the third trimester. Pregnant cows were slaughtered between Gestation Days 180 and 280. The fetuses were weighed, and the placentomes were numbered and weighed. Placentomes were examined by histologic and stereological techniques. Macroscopic data showed that placental overgrowth preceded fetal overgrowth, and the ratio of the fetal to the total placentome weight in the NTH group was lower than that in controls after Gestation Day 220. This suggests that placental overgrowth is due to placental default rather than due to fetal overgrowth, as shown also by stereological analysis showing primary d...
Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are adult pluripotent cells that are considered to be an important resource for human cell-based therapies. Understanding the clinical potential of MSCs may require their use in preclinical large-animal models, such as pigs. The objectives of the present study were 1) to establish porcine MSC (pMSC) cultures; 2) to optimize in vitro pMSC culture conditions, 3) to investigate whether pMSCs are amenable to genetic manipulation, and 4) to determine pMSC reprogramming potential using somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). The pMSCs isolated from bone marrow grew, attached to plastic with a fibroblast-like morphology, and expressed the mesenchymal surface marker THY1 but not the hematopoietic marker ITGAM. Furthermore, pMSCs underwent lipogenic, chondrogenic, and osteogenic differentiation when exposed to specific inducing conditions. The pMSCs grew well in a variety of media, and proliferative capacity was enhanced by culture under low oxygen atmosphere. Transient transduction of pMSCs and isogenic skin fibroblasts (SFs) with a human adenovirus carrying the gene for green fluorescent protein (GFP; Ad5-F35eGFP) resulted in more pMSCs expressing GFP compared with SFs. Cell lines with stable genetic modifications and extended expression of transgene were obtained when pMSCs were transfected with a plasmid containing the GFP gene. Infection of pMSC and SF cell lines by an adeno-associated virus resulted in approximately 12% transgenic cells, which formed transgenic clonal lines after propagation as single cells. The pMSCs can be expanded in vitro and used as nuclear donors to produce SCNT embryos. Thus, pMSCs are an attractive cell type for large-animal autologous and allogenic cell therapy models and for SCNT transgenesis. Abstract Marrow-derived porcine mesenchymal stem cells can be expanded in vitro, genetically modified, and used as nuclear donors to produce somatic cell nuclear transfer embryos and, in the future, to serve as a large animal model for gene and cell therapies.
The fibrous sheath is a cytoskeletal structure located in the principal piece of mammalian sperm flagella. Previous studies showed that glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase, spermatogenic (GAPDHS), a germ cell-specific glycolytic isozyme that is required for sperm motility, is tightly bound to the fibrous sheath. To determine if other glycolytic enzymes are also bound to this cytoskeletal structure, we isolated highly purified fibrous sheath preparations from mouse epididymal sperm using a sequential extraction procedure. The isolated fibrous sheaths retain typical ultrastructural features and exhibit little contamination by axonemal or outer dense fiber proteins in Western blot analyses. Proteomic analysis using peptide-mass fingerprinting and MS/MS peptide fragment ion matching identified GAPDHS and two additional glycolytic enzyme subunits, the A isoform of aldolase 1 (ALDOA) and lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA), in isolated fibrous sheaths. The presence of glycolytic enzymes in the fibrous sheath was also examined by Western blotting. In addition to GAPDHS, ALDOA, and LDHA, this method determined that pyruvate kinase is also tightly bound to the fibrous sheath. These data support a role for the fibrous sheath as a scaffold for anchoring multiple glycolytic enzymes along the length of the flagellum to provide a localized source of ATP that is essential for sperm motility. Abstract Multiple glycolytic enzymes are present in highly purified fibrous sheath preparations, suggesting that localization of this central metabolic pathway is essential for regulating sperm motility.
Body growth during critical periods is known to be an important factor in determining the age of maturity and fecundity in fish. However, the endocrine mechanisms controlling oogenesis in fish and the effects of growth on this process are poorly understood. In this study interactions between the growth and reproductive systems were examined by monitoring changes in various components of the FSH-ovary axis, plasma insulin-like growth factor 1 (Igf1), and ovarian gene expression in relation to body and previtellogenic oocyte growth in coho salmon. Samples were collected from females during two hypothesized critical periods when growth influences maturation in this species. Body growth during the fall-spring months was strongly related to the degree of oocyte development, with larger fish possessing more advanced oocytes than smaller, slower growing fish. The accumulation of cortical alveoli in the oocytes was associated with increases in plasma and pituitary FSH, plasma estradiol-17beta, and ovarian steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (star) gene expression, whereas ovarian transcripts for growth hormone receptor and somatolactin receptor decreased. As oocytes accumulated lipid droplets, a general increase occurred in plasma Igf1 and components of the FSH-ovary axis, including plasma FSH, estradiol-17beta, and ovarian mRNAs for gonadotropin receptors, star , igf1, and igf2 . A consistent positive relationship between plasma Igf1, estradiol-17beta, and pituitary FSH during growth in the spring suggests that these factors are important links in the mechanism by which body growth influences the rate of oocyte development. Abstract Previtellogenic oocyte growth in the coho salmon is accompanied by significant changes in systemic and intraovarian factors of both the somatotropic and reproductive axes.
Early in ovarian differentiation, female mouse germ cells develop in clusters called oocyte nests or germline cysts. After birth, mouse germ cell nests break down into individual oocytes that are surrounded by somatic pregranulosa cells to form primordial follicles. Previously, we have shown that mice treated neonatally with genistein, the primary soy phytoestrogen, have multi-oocyte follicles (MOFs), an effect apparently mediated by estrogen receptor 2 (ESR2, more commonly known as ERbeta). To determine if genistein treatment leads to MOFs by inhibiting breakdown of oocyte nests, mice were treated neonatally with genistein (50 mg/kg per day) on Days 1â5, and the differentiation of the ovary was compared with untreated controls. Mice treated with genistein had fewer single oocytes and a higher percentage of oocytes not enclosed in follicles. Oocytes from genistein-treated mice exhibited intercellular bridges at 4 days of age, long after disappearing in controls by 2 days of age. There was also an increase in the number of oocytes that survived during the nest breakdown period and fewer oocytes undergoing apoptosis on Neonatal Day 3 in genistein-treated mice as determined by poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP1) and deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end-labeling (TUNEL). These data taken together suggest that genistein exposure during development alters ovarian differentiation by inhibiting oocyte nest breakdown and attenuating oocyte cell death. Abstract Neonatal exposure to the soy phytoestrogen genistein causes disruption of ovarian differentiation, including inhibition of oocyte nest breakdown, retention of oocyte intercellular bridges, attenuation of oocyte cell death, and increased oocyte numbers.
Prototypical microRNAs (miRNAs) are 21~25-base-pair RNAs that regulate differentiation, carcinogenesis, and pluripotency by eliminating mRNAs or blocking their translation, in a process that is collectively termed RNA interference (RNAi). In zebrafish, RNAi mediated by miRNAs regulates early development, and in mice embryos that lack the miRNA precursor processor Dicer are nonviable. However, the roles of miRNAs in mammalian fertilization are unknown. In this report, we show using microarrays that miRNAs are present in mouse sperm structures that enter the oocyte at fertilization. The sperm contained a broad profile of miRNAs and a subset of potential mRNA targets, which were expressed in fertilizable metaphase II (mII) oocytes. Oocytes contained transcripts for the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) catalytic subunit, EIF2C3 (formerly AGO3). However, the levels of sperm-borne miRNA (measured by quantitative PCR) were low relative to those of unfertilized mII oocytes, and fertilization did not alter the mII oocyte miRNA repertoire that included the most abundant sperm-borne miRNAs. Coinjection of mII oocytes with sperm heads plus anti-miRNAs to suppress miRNA function did not perturb pronuclear activation or preimplantation development. In contrast, nuclear transfer by microinjection altered the miRNA profile of enucleated oocytes. These data suggest that sperm-borne prototypical miRNAs play a limited role, if any, in mammalian fertilization or early preimplantation development.
Abstract Somatic cell nuclear transfer was used to produce live piglets from cultured fetal fibroblast cells. This was achieved by exposing donor cell nuclei to oocyte cytoplasm for approximately 3 h before activation by chemical means. Initially, an experiment was performed to optimize a cell fusion system that prevented concurrent activation in the majority of recipient cytoplasts. Cultured fibroblast cells were fused in medium with or without calcium into enucleated oocytes flushed from superovulated gilts. Cybrids fused in the presence of calcium cleaved at a significantly (P < 0.05) greater rate (69%, 37 out of 54) after 2 days of culture compared with those fused without calcium (10%, 7 out of 73), suggesting that calcium-free conditions are needed to avoid activation in the majority of recipient cytoplasts during fusion. In the second experiment, cybrids fused in calcium-free medium were activated approximately 3 h later with ionomycin, followed by incubation in 6-dimethylaminopurine to determine d...
Initiation and maintenance of pregnancy are critically dependent on an intact embryo-maternal communication in the preimplantation period. To get new insights into molecular mechanisms underlying this complex dialog, a holistic transcriptome study of endometrium samples from Day 18 pregnant vs. nonpregnant twin cows was performed. This genetically defined model system facilitated the identification of specific conceptus-induced changes of the endometrium transcriptome. Using a combination of subtracted cDNA libraries and cDNA array hybridization, 87 different genes were identified as upregulated in pregnant animals. Almost one half of these genes are known to be stimulated by type I interferons. For the ISG15ylation system, which is assumed to play an important role in interferon tau (IFNT) signaling, mRNAs of four potential components ( IFITM1 , IFITM3 , HSXIAPAF1 , and DTX3L ) were found at increased levels in addition to ISG15 and UBE1L . These results were further substantiated by colocalization of these mRNAs in the endometrium of pregnant animals shown by in situ hybridization. A functional classification of the identified genes revealed several different biological processes involved in the preparation of the endometrium for the attachment and implantation of the embryo. Specifically, elevated transcript levels were found for genes involved in modulation of the maternal immune system, genes relevant for cell adhesion, and for remodeling of the endometrium. This first systematic study of maternal transcriptome changes in response to the presence of an embryo on Day 18 of pregnancy in cattle is an important step toward deciphering the embryo-maternal dialog using a systems biology approach. Abstract Identification of genes induced in bovine endometrium by the presence of a conceptus at Day 18 of gestation, the preimplantation period, revealed biological processes important for preparation of the endometrium for attachment of the embryo.
Oxygen concentrations used during in vitro embryo culture can influence embryo development, cell numbers, and gene expression. Here we propose that the preimplantation bovine embryo possesses a molecular mechanism for the detection of, and response to, oxygen, mediated by a family of basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, the hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). Day 5 compacting bovine embryos were cultured under different oxygen tensions (2%, 7%, 20%) and the effect on the expression of oxygen-regulated genes, development, and cell number allocation and HIFÎ± protein localization were examined. Bovine in vitro-produced embryos responded to variations in oxygen concentration by altering gene expression. GLUT1 expression was higher following 2% oxygen culture compared with 7% and 20% cultured blastocysts. HIF mRNA expression (HIF1Î±, HIF2Î±) was unaltered by oxygen concentration. HIF2Î± protein was predominantly localized to the nucleus of blastocysts. In contrast, HIF1Î± protein was undetectable at any oxygen concentration or in the presence of the HIF protein stabilizer desferrioxamine (DFO), despite being detectable in cumulus cells following normal maturation conditions, acute anoxic culture, or in the presence of DFO. Oxygen concentration also significantly altered inner cell mass cell proportions at the blastocyst stage. These results suggest that oxygen can influence gene expression in the bovine embryo during postcompaction development and that these effects may be mediated by HIF2Î±.