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Park K.-E.,Purdue University | Johnson C.M.,Purdue University | Magnani L.,Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center | Wang X.,Purdue University | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Reproduction and Development | Year: 2010

Methylation of the lysine 9 residue of histone H3 (H3K9) is linked to transcriptional repression. The observed structure of chromatin in porcine and murine embryos is different with regard to H3K9 dimethylation status, leading to our hypothesis that the intracellular mechanisms responsible for H3K9 methylation would also differ between these two species. The objectives of this study were: (1) to determine the extent that DNA, mRNA, and protein synthesis serve in maintaining the asymmetrical distribution of dimethylated H3K9 in porcine zygotes, (2) determine the extent to which the intracellular localization of individual pronuclei correlated with H3K9 dimethylation status, and (3) to determine the abundance of transcripts encoding the histone methyltransferases, with H3K9 methylation activity, in porcine oocytes and embryos. Our findings are that (1) H3K9 dimethylation status is not affected by DNA replication, transcription, or protein synthesis, (2) the location of a pronucleus does not significantly affect the H3K9 dimethylation status of the chromatin within that pronucleus, and (3) the histone methyltransferases with activity for H3K9 differ in transcript abundance in porcine oocytes and cleavage stage embyros. These results support our hypothesis that there is a difference in intracellular mechanisms affecting dimethylation status of H3K9 between porcine and murine embryos. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Source


Filliers M.,Ghent University | Goossens K.,Ghent University | Van Soom A.,Ghent University | Merlo B.,University of Bologna | And 5 more authors.
Reproduction, Fertility and Development | Year: 2012

During mammalian preimplantation development, two successive differentiation events lead to the establishment of three committed lineages with separate fates: the trophectoderm, the primitive endoderm and the pluripotent epiblast. In the mouse embryo, the molecular mechanisms underlying these two cell fate decisions have been studied extensively, leading to the identification of lineage-specific transcription factors. Species-specific differences in expression patterns of key regulatory genes have been reported, raising questions regarding their role in different species. The aim of the present study was to characterise the gene expression patterns of pluripotency (OCT4, SOX2, NANOG) and differentiation (CDX2, GATA6)-related markers during feline early development using reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction. In addition, we assessed the impact of in vitro development on gene expression by comparing transcript levels of the genes investigated between in vitro and in vivo blastocysts. To normalise quantitative data within different preimplantation embryo stages, we first validated a set of stable reference genes. Transcript levels of all genes investigated were present and changed over the course of preimplantation development; a highly significant embryo-stage effect on gene expression was observed. Transcript levels of OCT4 were significantly reduced in in vitro blastocysts compared with their in vivo counterparts. None of the other genes investigated showed altered expression under in vitro conditions. The different gene expression patterns of OCT4, SOX2, CDX2 and GATA6 in cat embryos resembled those described in mouse embryos, indicative of a preserved role for these genes during early segregation. However, because of the absence of any upregulation of NANOG transcription levels after embryonic genome activation, it is unlikely that NANOG is a key regular of lineage segregation. Such results support the hypothesis that the behaviour of early lineage markers can be species specific. The present study also revealed a pool of maternal NANOG mRNA transcripts, the role of which remains to be elucidated. Comparing transcription levels of these genes between in vivo and in vitro blastocysts revealed low levels of OCT4 mRNA in the latter, which may contribute to the reduced developmental competence of embryos under suboptimal conditions. © 2012 CSIRO. Source


Pope C.E.,Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species
Theriogenology | Year: 2014

A brief overview of the progress made during the past approximately 40 years on the development of methods for invitro production of cat embryos and intra- and interspecies embryo transfer is described. The presentation is focused primarily on research done over the past 30 years at the Cincinnati Zoo (1980-1995) and at the Audubon Nature Institute, New Orleans (1996-present) beginning with original studies on determining optimal doses of porcine FSH for ovarian stimulation and uterine embryo recovery, cryopreservation, and transfer. A key early finding was the ability of cats to respond to multiple gonadotropin (porcine FSH) treatments by repeated stimulation of follicular development. With a ≥6-month interval between FSH treatments, over the past 15 years (1998-2013), we have done 1603 laparoscopic oocyte retrievals on 337 cats and recovered >38,000 mature oocytes (mean = 24.1 per laparoscopic oocyte retrieval). The limited information available on invivo blastocyst development in the cat during the latter portion of the preimplantation period (approximately Days 8 to 12 after coitum or approximately Days 7 to 11 after ovulation) was assembled for the purpose of comparing and contrasting it with the growth, expansion, and zona functioning of invitro-derived blastocysts. Also, results of transferring morulae and/or blastocysts into synchronous recipients are described to emphasize evidence that appears to allude to an essential role for an intact zona pellucida in successful implantation and subsequent development in the cat. Until 2003, our invitro-derived embryos were transferred into the uterine horns of recipients to determine the feasibility of producing offspring from such primary methods as IVF, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, SCNT, and embryo cryopreservation. With the exception of SCNT embryos, pregnancy rates were satisfactory, but embryo survival rates were not. Subsequently, after finding that SCNT embryo survival rate could be improved using laparoscopic transfer of early cleavage stage embryos into the oviduct, we applied the technique to embryos derived using IVF with sex-sorted sperm, oocyte vitrification, and embryo cryopreservation. Overall, a pregnancy rate of 67% (14/21) has resulted. Most recently, with the oviductal embryo transfer technique, two litters of Black-Footed cat kittens have been born from intra- and interspecies transfer of cryopreserved embryos. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source


Gomez M.C.,Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species | Pope C.E.,Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species | Biancardi M.N.,Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species | Dumas C.,Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species | And 5 more authors.
Cellular Reprogramming | Year: 2011

The black-footed cat (BFC; Felis nigripes), one of the smallest wild cats, is listed as threatened. Interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (Is-SCNT) offers the possibility of preserving endangered species. Development to term of interspecies BFC (Is-BFC) cloned embryos has not been obtained, possibly due to abnormal epigenetic reprogramming. Treatment of intraspecies cloned embryos with TSA improves nuclear reprogramming and in vitro and in vivo viability. In this study, we evaluated (1) whether covalent histone modifications differ between Is-BFC cloned embryos and their IVF counterparts, (2) the optimal TSA concentration and exposure times to modify the covalent histone patterns, (3) if TSA enhances in vitro and in vivo developmental competence of cloned embryos, and (4) expression of pluripotent genes. Results indicated that the covalent histone modifications of Is-BFC cloned embryos aberrantly differ from their DSH-IVF counterpart embryos. Aberrant epigenetic events may be due partially to the inability of the DSH cytoplasm to modify the restrictive epigenetic marks of the BFC nuclei after somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Incomplete remodeling of the histone H3K9me2 in Is-BFC cloned embryos possibly contributes to abnormal expression of pluripotent genes and low embryonic development. Treatment of Is-BFC cloned embryos with TSA remodeled the covalent pattern in H3K9ac and H3K9me2, resembling epigenetic patterns in IVF counterpart embryos, and resulted in activation of some pluripotent genes. However, genomic reprogramming of Is-BFC cloned blastocysts did not follow the same reprogramming pattern observed in DSH-IVF embryos, and in vitro and in vivo developmental competence was not enhanced. © 2011 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Source


Mercado J.A.,Audubon Nature Institute | Wirtu G.,Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species | Beaufrre H.,Louisiana State University | Lydick D.,Audubon Nature Institute
Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery | Year: 2010

Intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement is a common procedure during eye examinations in birds. Differences in the IOP between avian species have been reported, which suggests the need to establish species-specific reference ranges. To determine IOP values of captive black-footed penguins (Spheniscus demersus), we obtained IOP readings with the use of a rebound tonometer by using two established calibration settings (dog and horse). No difference was seen in the IOP between the left and right eye when the horse setting was used; however, a difference was present when using the dog setting. No significant difference between the IOP of male and female penguins was seen in both eyes when the dog or horse setting was used. Rebound tonometry appears to be a safe and repeatable method to obtain IOP values in black-footed penguins. © 2010 by the Association of Avian Veterinarians. Source

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