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  • Sucrose pretreatment for enucleation: an efficient and non-damage method for removing the spindle of the mouse MII oocyte.

    24 October 2018

    Oocytes enucleated at metaphase II stage can support reprogramming of transferred nucleus and further developing to term. However, the first polar body in mice sometimes migrates away from the original place of expulsion, so the chromosomes of the oocyte will displace from the first polar body. Thus, it is not always possible to successfully enucleate according to the position of the first polar body. Here we use sucrose treatment to visualize metaphase spindle fibers and chromosomes with standard light microscopy. In the manipulation medium containing 3% sucrose, oocytes of poor quality become shrunken, deformed or fragmented, while oocytes of good quality in the same medium would show a swelling around the metaphase chromosomes and a transparent spindle area, shaped like "infinity" and "0". So it is easy to remove the well-distinguished spindle and chromosomes in oocytes of good quality. Re-examined by Hoechst 33342 stain under the UV light, the enucleation rate was 100%. There was no significant difference in IVF and cleavage rates between the sucrose treatment and the control group. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that 3% sucrose pretreatment can give a method for evaluating embryo quality and more importantly, it can, under a common microscope, allow the visualization of the spindle and chromosomes in oocytes of good quality and hence efficiently improve enucleation rate without any harm.

  • Viable rabbits derived from reconstructed oocytes by germinal vesicle transfer after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

    24 October 2018

    Abnormal oocyte spindle due to the improper function of ooplasm is associated with female infertility of advanced maternal age. A possible way to overcome this problem is to transfer an oocyte germinal vesicle (GV) which contains genetic materials of a patient with a history of poor embryo development to the cytoplast from a donor oocyte. Here we demonstrate that GV transfer is feasible using a rabbit model. When the GVs were transferred to auto- or hetero-cytoplasts of GV stage oocytes, around 80% of the reconstructed oocytes could mature in vitro and 7.1-9.4% of the oocytes developed to blastocyst stage after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Transfer of 93 fertilized eggs reconstructed via GV transfer into six recipients resulted in two live offspring. Results of this experiment indicate that GV transfer can potentially become a new approach in treatment of infertility because of advanced maternal age.

  • A SteMNess perspective of survival motor neuron function: splicing factors in stem cell biology and disease

    24 October 2018

    © 2015, Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Genome-wide analyses of metazoan messenger RNA (mRNA) species are unveiling the extensive transcriptional diversity generated by alternative splicing (AS). Research is also beginning to identify the splicing factors and AS events required to maintain the balance between stem cell renewal (i.e stemness properties) and differentiation. One set of proteins at the center of spliceosome biogenesis are the survival motor neuron (SMN) complex constituents, which have a critical role in the assembly of spliceosomal small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) in all cells. In this review we discuss what is currently known about how AS controls pluripotency and cell fate and consider how an increased requirement for splicing factors, including SMN, helps to maintain an enrichment of stem cell-specific AS events. Furthermore, we highlight studies showing that mutations in specific splicing factors can lead to the aberrant development, and cause targeted degeneration of the nervous system. Using SMN as an example, we discuss the perspective of how stem cell-specific changes in splicing factors can lead to developmental defects and the selective degeneration of particular tissues. Finally we consider the expanding role of SMN, and other splicing factors, in the regulation of gene expression in stem cell biology, thereby providing insight into a number of debilitating diseases.

  • CTP synthase forms the cytoophidium in human hepatocellular carcinoma.

    24 October 2018

    CTP synthase (CTPS) can aggregate into an intracellular macrostructure, the cytoophidium, in various organisms including human cells. Previous studies have shown that assembly of human CTPS cytoophidia may be correlated with the cellular metabolic status, and is able to promote the activity of CTPS. A correlation between the cytoophidium and cancer metabolism has been proposed but not yet been revealed. In the current study we provide clear evidence of the presence of CTPS cytoophidia in various human cancers and some non-cancerous tissues. Moreover, among 203 tissue samples of hepatocellular carcinoma, 56 (28%) samples exhibited many cytoophidia, whereas no cytoophidia were detected in adjacent non-cancerous hepatocytes for all samples. Our findings suggest that the CTPS cytoophidium may participate in the adaptive metabolism of human hepatocellular carcinoma.

  • Pitx2: A left-right asymmetric signalling molecule

    24 October 2018

    Pitx2 is asymmetrically expressed in the left lateral plate mesoderm and derived organs such as heart and gut during chick, mouse and Xenopus development. Pitx2 appears to be downstream effector of Shh and Nodal. Misexpression of Pitx2 is sufficient to produce reversed organs of body rotation. Defect of Pitx2 in human may cause Rieger syndrome. Pitx2 seems to be a key conserved signalling molecules that mediates left-right asymmetry in vertebrate.

  • Effect of telophase enucleation on bovine somatic nuclear transfer.

    24 October 2018

    Telophase enucleation has been proven to be an efficient method for preparing recipient cytoplasts in bovine embryonic nuclear transfer (2, 11). This research was designed to study in vitro development of bovine oocytes containing transferred somatic cell nuclei, reconstructed by using enucleated in vitro-matured oocytes 32 h of age at telophase II stage as recipient cytoplasts, compared with those 24 h of age at metaphase II stage. Two protocols for donor cell injection were adopted, i.e., subzonal injection (SUZI) and intracytoplasmic injection (ICI). Bovine oviduct epithelial cells (BOECs) and bovine cumulus cells (BCCs) from an adult cow were used as nuclear donors for these experiments. In SUZI groups, the fusion rate of donor cells, both BOECs and BCCs, with MII enucleated oocytes were higher than those with TII enucleated oocytes (54% vs. 41% and 53% vs. 39%, respectively; P<0.05), but the development rates to morula plus blastocyst stage in MII groups were lower than those in TII groups (22% vs. 39% and 21% vs. 41%, respectively; P<0.05). In ICI groups, about 26% of enucleated MII oocytes injected with BOECs or BCCs cleaved and only small parts of them developed to blastocyst stage (4% and 3%, respectively; P>0.05). When BOECs or BCCs were intracytoplasmically injected into oocytes enucleated at TII stage, no blastocyst was formed in either donor cell group and no cleavage occurred in BOEC group. Our data demonstrated that telophase enucleation is beneficial to early embryo development when bovine somatic nuclei are transferred by subzonal injection. However, it is harmful when donor cells are directly injected into the cytoplast of the enucleated oocytes.

  • The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) somatic nucleus can dedifferentiate in rabbit ooplasm and support early development of the reconstructed egg

    24 October 2018

    The giant panda skeletal muscle cells, uterus epithelial cells and mammary gland cells from an adult individual were cultured and used as nucleus donor for the construction of interspecies embryos by transferring them into enucleated rabbit eggs. All the three kinds of somatic cells were able to reprogram in rabbit coplasm and support early embryo development, of which mammary gland cells were proven to be the best, followed by uterus epithelial cells and skeletal muscle cells. The experiments showed that direct injection of mammary gland cell into enucleated rabbit ooplasm, combined with in vivo development in ligated rabbit oviduct, achieved higher blastocyst development than in vitro culture after the somatic cell was injected into the perivitelline space and fused with the enucleated egg by electrical stimulation. The chromosome analysis demonstrated that the genetic materials in reconstructed blastocyst cells were the same as that in panda somatic cells. In addition, giant panda mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was shown to exist in the interspecies reconstructed blastocyst. The data suggest that (i) the ability of ooplasm to dedifferentiate somatic cells is not species-specific; (ii) there is compatibility between interspecies somatic nucleus and ooplasm during early development of the reconstructed egg.