The golden Syrian hamster is the model of choice or the only rodent model for studying many human diseases. However, the lack of gene targeting tools in hamsters severely limits their use in biomedical research. Here, we report the first successful application of the CRISPR/Cas9 system to efficiently conduct gene targeting in hamsters. We designed five synthetic single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs)-three for targeting the coding sequences for different functional domains of the hamster STAT2 protein, one for KCNQ1, and one for PPP1R12C-and demonstrated that the CRISPR/Cas9 system is highly efficient in introducing site-specific mutations in hamster somatic cells. We then developed unique pronuclear (PN) and cytoplasmic injection protocols in hamsters and produced STAT2 knockout (KO) hamsters by injecting the sgRNA/Cas9, either in the form of plasmid or mRNA, targeting exon 4 of hamster STAT2. Among the produced hamsters, 14.3% and 88.9% harbored germline-transmitted STAT2 mutations from plasmid and mRNA injection, respectively. Notably, 10.4% of the animals produced from mRNA injection were biallelically targeted. This is the first success in conducting site-specific gene targeting in hamsters and can serve as the foundation for developing other genetically engineered hamster models for human disease.
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of vitrification of bovine metaphase-II (MII) oocytes on CD9 expression and fertilization capacity. Surviving vitrified/warmed oocytes were used to detect CD9 distribution (fluorescence microscopy), CD9 mRNA (qRT-PCR), and CD9 protein expression (Western blot), and to analyze in vitro fertilization rates (number of sperm bound to or that penetrated the oocytes) after removing the zona pellucida. Fresh oocytes acted as control. The experimental results showed that the vitrification/warming procedures significantly decreased CD9 expression at the mRNA and protein levels, and changed the CD9 distribution pattern in bovine oocytes. After fertilization in vitro, the average number of sperm binding and penetration of vitrified oocytes were significantly lower than those of the non-vitrified oocytes. In conclusion, vitrification of bovine oocytes caused a decrease in CD9 expression at the mRNA and protein levels, and an alteration of CD9 distribution pattern, which may have resulted in lowered fertilization capacity.
Shugoshin (SGO) is a critical factor that enforces cohesion from segregation of paired sister chromatids during mitosis and meiosis. It has been studied mainly in invertebrates. Knowledge of SGO(s) in a mammalian system has only been reported in the mouse and Hela cells. In this study, the functions of SGO1 in bovine oocytes during meiotic maturation, early embryonic development and somatic cell mitosis were investigated. The results showed that SGO1 was expressed from germinal vesicle (GV) to the metaphase II stage. SGO1 accumulated on condensed and scattered chromosomes from pre-metaphase I to metaphase II. The over-expression of SGO1 did not interfere with the process of homologous chromosome separation, although once separated they were unable to move to the opposing spindle poles. This often resulted in the formation of oocytes with 60 replicated chromosomes. Depletion of SGO1 in GV oocytes affected chromosomal separation resulting in abnormal chromosome alignment at a significantly higher proportion than in control oocytes. Knockdown of SGO1 expression significantly decreased the embryonic developmental rate and quality. To further confirm the function(s) of SGO1 during mitosis, bovine embryonic fibroblast cells were transfected with SGO1 siRNAs. SGO1 depletion induced the premature dissociation of chromosomal cohesion at the centromere and along the chromosome arm giving rise to abnormal appearing mitotic patterns. The results of this study infer that SGO1 is involved in the centromeric cohesion of sister chromatids and chromosomal movement towards the spindle poles. Depletion of SGO1 causes arrestment of cell division in meiosis and mitosis.
We examined over 50 mutations in the Drosophila ?PS integrin subunit that alter integrin function in situ for their ability to bind a soluble monovalent ligand, TWOW-1. Surprisingly, very few of the mutations, which were selected for conditional lethality in the fly, reduce the ligand binding ability of the integrin. The most prevalent class of mutations activates the integrin heterodimer. These findings emphasize the importance of integrin affinity regulation and point out how molecular interactions throughout the integrin molecule are important in keeping the integrin in a low affinity state. Mutations strongly support the controversial deadbolt hypothesis, where the CD loop in the ? tail domain acts to restrain the I domain in the inactive, bent conformation. Site-directed mutations in the cytoplasmic domains of ?PS and ?PS2C reveal different effects on ligand binding from those observed for ?IIb?3 integrins and identify for the first time a cytoplasmic cysteine residue, conserved in three human integrins, as being important in affinity regulation. In the fly, we find that genetic interactions of the ?PS mutations with reduction in talin function are consistent with the integrin affinity differences measured in cells. Additionally, these genetic interactions report on increased and decreased integrin functions that do not result in affinity changes in the PS2C integrin measured in cultured cells.
Demecolcine-assisted/induced enucleation has been used in nuclear transfer cloning procedures for many species, yet its mechanism of action remains unclear. Primarily because oocytoplasm protrusion induced by demecolcine is inhibited by the presence of cytochalasin, its use has had limited application. In this experiment, we investigated the microtubule and microfilament alterations in bovine oocytes after demecolcine and/or cytochalasin B (CB) treatments by immunocytochemical staining. We also examined mechanical enucleation of demecolcine-treated oocytes in cytochalasin-free medium. The results showed that demecolcine-treatment disrupts the balance between microtubule/microfilament interactions primarily by deleting microtubules and with little effect on the microfilaments that we believe accounts for the membrane protrusion. The CB treatment reduced the amount of microfilaments but had little effect on the microtubules. Most demecolcine-induced membrane protrusions disappeared when exposed to CB. Western blotting showed that CB treatment increases G-actin, which indicates a decrease in the microfilaments. High oocyte enucleation, survival, and developmental rates occurred when demecolcine-assisted enucleation was carried out in a CB-free solution. Higher blastocyst development rates and blastocyst cell numbers were achieved compared to control, indicating that CB is not necessary in the enucleation procedure of bovine oocytes. This study provides a clearer understanding of the mechanism for the demecolcine-induced oocyte membrane protrusion, and substantiates the practical use of demecolcine-assisted enucleation in a CB-free environment.
This study was designed to examine the effects of the presence of oocyte nuclei on the donor cell nuclear remodeling, including premature chromosome condensation (PCC) and DNA configuration, and subsequent embryo development. The results showed that: (1) the presence of oocyte MII spindles was more likely to induce donor cell PCC. (2) The positional relationship between the fused donor cell and the oocyte metaphase spindle had an effect on oocyte PB2 extrusion. When the fused donor cell was widely separated from the MII spindle, 94.4% of the reconstructed oocytes expelled a PB2. When the donor cell was fused adjacently to the MII spindle, almost all of the reconstructed oocytes did not expel the PB2; the majority (67.9%) formed a very large M-phase spindle in which the oocyte and the donor cell chromosomes merged. (3) After activation, the oocyte and donor nuclei exhibited a variety of pronuclear patterns and asynchronous development. (4) The embryos reconstituted with nonenucleated oocytes resulted in a similar cleavage rate as observed in the control embryos reconstituted with enucleated oocytes. Blastocyst developmental rates were no different between nonenucleated and enucleated cloned embryos; however, the development rates from early to hatching blastocysts significantly decreased in the nonenucleation group compared to enucleation controls (0 vs. 23.1%; 27.5 vs. 67.8%), regardless with either cumulus cells or fibroblasts as donor cells. (5) All nonenucleated oocyte-derived blastocysts contained mixed polyploidy with a variety of compositions that included 2n/4n, 2n/6n, 2n/8n, and 2n/4n/8n. (6) Nuclear transfer preceding the oocyte enucleation experiment indicated that prolonged presence of oocyte nuclei induced abnormal DNA configuration and reduced in vitro development of transferred somatic nuclei, but short time presence of oocyte nuclei did not affect the in vitro development of cloned embryos. We conclude that oocyte MII spindles induce donor cell PCC, the developmental capacity of cloned embryos reconstituted with nonenucleated oocytes is inferior to those with enucleated oocytes, and that all such derived blastocysts are polyploidy.
Morphogenesis of the adult structures of holometabolous insects is regulated by ecdysteroids and juvenile hormones and involves cell-cell interactions mediated in part by the cell surface integrin receptors and their extracellular matrix (ECM) ligands. These adhesion molecules and their regulation by hormones are not well characterized. We describe the gene structure of a newly described ECM molecule, tenectin, and demonstrate that it is a hormonally regulated ECM protein required for proper morphogenesis of the adult wing and male genitalia. Tenectins function as a new ligand of the PS2 integrins is demonstrated by both genetic interactions in the fly and by cell spreading and cell adhesion assays in cultured cells. Its interaction with the PS2 integrins is dependent on RGD and RGD-like motifs. Tenectins function in looping morphogenesis in the development of the male genitalia led to experiments that demonstrate a role for PS integrins in the execution of left-right asymmetry.
Integrin alphaIIbbeta3 affinity regulation by talin binding to the cytoplasmic tail of beta3 is a generally accepted model for explaining activation of this integrin in Chinese hamster ovary cells and human platelets. Most of the evidence for this model comes from the use of multivalent ligands. This raises the possibility that the activation being measured is that of increased clustering of the integrin rather than affinity. Using a newly developed assay that probes integrins on the surface of cells with only monovalent ligands prior to fixation, I do not find increases in affinity of alphaIIbbeta3 integrins by talin head fragments in Chinese hamster ovary cells, nor do I observe affinity increases in human platelets stimulated with thrombin. Binding to a multivalent ligand does increase in both of these cases. This assay does report affinity increases induced by either Mn(2+), a cytoplasmic domain mutant (D723R) in the cytoplasmic domain of beta3, or preincubation with a peptide ligand. These results reconcile the previously observed differences between talin effects on integrin activation in Drosophila and vertebrate systems and suggest new models for talin regulation of integrin activity in human platelets.
Four experiments were designed to examine the effects of colcemid, a microtubule assembly inhibitor, on the development of bovine nuclear transfer (NT) embryos in vitro and in vivo. Recipient oocytes matured at different times were exposed to colcemid. Approximately 80-93% of the exposed oocytes, with or without the first polar body (PB1), developed obvious membrane projections. In Experiment 1, oocytes matured for either 14-15 or 16-17 hr, treated with colcemid and used as recipient cytoplasm for NT resulted in over 40% blastocyst development. In Experiment 2, oocytes matured for 16-17 hr were treated with either 0.2 or 0.4 microg/ml colcemid for 2-3 or 5-6 hr, respectively. The percentages of blastocyst development (39-42%) were not statistically different among the different colcemid treatment groups, but were both higher (P < 0.05) than the control group (30%). Colcemid concentrations and length of colcemid treatment of oocytes did not affect their ability to support NT embryo development to the blastocyst and hatched blastocyst stages. Results from Experiment 3 indicate that semi-defined medium increases morula and blastocyst development of NT embryos derived from colcemid-treated oocytes under 5% CO2 in air atmosphere. In addition, cell numbers of blastocysts in colcemid-treated groups were numerically higher than the control groups. After embryo transfer, higher (P < 0.05) pregnant rates were obtained from the colcemid-treated group than the nontreated group. Five of 40 recipients (12.5%) which received embryos from colcemid-treated oocytes delivered healthy calves, significantly higher than those recipients (3.3%) that received embryos derived from nontreated oocytes.
Abnormal Hedgehog (Hh) pathway activity has been reported in many cancers, including basal cell carcinomas, medulloblastomas, rhabdomyosarcomas, glioblastomas, and breast and prostate cancers. For this reason, the Hh pathway is a flourishing area for development of anticancer drugs such as Hh ligand antagonists (e.g., 5E1 and robotnikinin), Smo inhibitors (e.g., GDC-0449 and IPI-926), and Gli transcriptional activity inhibitors (e.g., GANT58 and GANT61). It is now clear that primary cilia are required for activation of the Hh pathway in normal vertebrate cells. It is in the primary cilium that both positive and negative effectors of the Hh pathway are processed by posttranslational modifications. In many cancers, preliminary results suggest that primary cilia are lost. As drugs that inhibit different steps of the Hh pathway are developed, it will be important to consider how these drugs will function in the context of primary cilia in the tumor environment. Here, we discuss why some of the Hh inhibitors may be ineffective if primary cilia are lost on cancer cells. Understanding the relationships between clinical inhibitors of the Hh pathway and the presence or absence of primary cilia may turn out to be critical for targeting these therapeutics to the correct population of patients and improving their efficacy. Further work is needed in this area to maximize the potential of these exciting therapeutic targets.
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