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Liu C.,Xinjiang University | Liu C.,Xinjiang Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology | Li W.,Xinjiang Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology | Li W.,Laboratory of Grass Federal Animal Genetics | And 17 more authors.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications | Year: 2012

Myostatin [MSTN, also known as growth differentiation factor 8 (GDF8)], is an inhibitor of skeletal muscle growth. Blockade of MSTN function has been reported to result in increased muscle mass in mice. However, its role in myoblast differentiation in farm animals has not been determined. In the present study, we sought to determine the role of MSTN in the differentiation of primary sheep myoblasts. We found that ectopic overexpression of MSTN resulted in lower fusion index in sheep myoblasts, which indicated the repression of myoblast differentiation. This phenotypic change was reversed by shRNA knockdown of the ectopically expressed MSTN in the cells. In contrast, shRNA knockdown of the endogenous MSTN resulted in induction of myogenic differentiation. Additional studies revealed that the induction of differentiation by knocking down the ectopically or endogenously expressed MSTN was accompanied by up-regulation of MyoD and myogenin, and down-regulation of Smad3. Our results demonstrate that MSTN plays critical role in myoblast differentiation in sheep, analogous to that in mice. This study also suggests that shRNA knockdown of MSTN could be a potentially promising approach to improve sheep muscle growth, so as to increase meat productivity. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Liu C.,Xinjiang Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology | Liu C.,Key Laboratory of Genetics | Liu C.,Xinjiang University | Wang L.,Xinjiang Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology | And 26 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background: Low efficiency of gene transfer and silence of transgene expression are the critical factors hampering the development of transgenic livestock. Recently, transfer of recombinant lentivirus has been demonstrated to be an efficient transgene delivery method in various animals. However, the lentiviral transgenesis and the methylation status of transgene in sheep have not been well addressed. Methodology/Principle Findings: EGFP transgenic sheep were generated by injecting recombinant lentivirus into zygotes. Of the 13 lambs born, 8 carried the EGFP transgene, and its chromosomal integration was identified in all tested tissues. Western blotting showed that GFP was expressed in all transgenic founders and their various tissues. Analysis of CpG methylation status of CMV promoter by bisulfate sequencing unraveled remarkable variation of methylation levels in transgenic sheep. The average methylation levels ranged from 37.6% to 79.1% in the transgenic individuals and 34.7% to 83% in the tested tissues. Correlative analysis of methylation status with GFP expression revealed that the GFP expression level was inversely correlated with methylation density. The similar phenomenon was also observed in tested tissues. Transgene integration determined by Southern blotting presented multiple integrants ranging from 2 to 6 copies in the genome of transgenic sheep. Conclusions/Significance: Injection of lentiviral transgene into zygotes could be a promising efficient gene delivery system to generate transgenic sheep and achieved widespread transgene expression. The promoter of integrants transferred by lentiviral vector was subjected to dramatic alteration of methylation status and the transgene expression level was inversely correlative with promoter methylation density. Our work illustrated for the first time that generation of transgenic sheep by injecting recombinant lentivirus into zygote could be an efficient tool to improve sheep performance by genetic modification. © 2013 Liu et al.

Tian Y.,Shihezi University | Tian Y.,Xinjiang Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology | Li W.,Xinjiang Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology | Li W.,Key Laboratory of Genetics | And 26 more authors.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications | Year: 2013

A number of gene therapy applications and basic research would benefit from vectors expressing multiple genes. In this study, we constructed 2A peptide based tricistronic lentiviral vector and generated transgenic lambs by injecting lentivirus carrying the tricistronic vector into perivitelline space of zygotes. Of 7 lambs born, 2 lambs (#6 and #7) carried the transgene. However, no fluorescent proteins were identified in transgenic sheep. To investigate why the transgene was silenced in transgenic sheep, we analyzed the methylation status of transgene. The methylation level of CMV promoter was 76.25% in #6, and 64.7% in #7. In the coding region of three fluorescent protein genes, methylation levels were extremely high, with the average level of 98.3% in #6 and 98.4% in #7 respectively. Furthermore, the ratio of GFP+ cells were increased significantly when the fibroblasts derived from the transgenic sheep were treated with 5-azaC and/ or TSA. Our results showed that 2A peptide based tricistronic construct was subjected to hypermethylation in transgenic sheep. Moreover, the silencing could be relieved by treating with methytransferase inhibitor and/or deacetylase inhibitor. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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