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Pacharawan Deenarn, Punsa Tobwor, Vanicha Vichai, Suwanchai Phomklad, Panomkorn Chaitongsakul, Rungnapa Leelatanawit, and Wananit Wimuttisuk

The polychaete Perinereis nuntia is preferred over commercial feed pellets for boosting ovarian maturation of the female black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon. High levels of prostaglandins in polychaetes are believed to enhance shrimp ovarian development. However, the impact of polychaete feeding on shrimp prostaglandin biosynthesis and fatty acid regulatory pathways have yet to be investigated. As polychaetes contain higher levels of arachidonic acid (ARA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and prostaglandin F (PGF) than feed pellets, we examined the effects of polychaete feeding alone and in combination with eyestalk ablation on shrimp hepatopancreases and ovaries. Shrimp fed with polychaetes contained higher levels of EPA, PGE2 and PGF in hepatopancreases than those of pellet-fed shrimp. Similarly, higher levels of ARA and higher transcription levels of cyclooxygenase (COX) and prostaglandin F synthase (PGFS) were detected in ovaries of polychaete-fed shrimp compared to those of pellet-fed shrimp. The combination of polychaete-feeding and eyestalk ablation, commonly practiced to induce ovarian development, increased levels of ARA and EPA and transcription levels of COX in hepatopancreases and ovaries of polychaete-fed shrimp compared to those of pellet-fed shrimp. In ovaries, prostaglandin biosynthesis gene transcripts were induced by polychaete feeding while transcriptional levels of fatty acid regulatory genes were regulated by shrimp feed and eyestalk ablation. Our findings not only elucidate the effects of polychaete consumption on shrimp prostaglandin biosynthesis and fatty acid regulatory pathways during larvae production, but also suggests that high levels of dietary ARA, EPA and prostaglandins are essential during P. monodon ovarian development.

Open access

Hui Li, Qianhui Huang, Yu Liu, and Lana X Garmire

Human placenta is a complex and heterogeneous organ interfacing between the mother and the fetus that supports fetal development. Alterations to placental structural components are associated with various pregnancy complications. To reveal the heterogeneity among various placenta cell types in normal and diseased placentas, as well as elucidate molecular interactions within a population of placental cells, a new genomics technology called single cell RNA-seq (or scRNA-seq) has been employed in the last couple of years. Here we review the principles of scRNA-seq technology, and summarize the recent human placenta studies at scRNA-seq level across gestational ages as well as in pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth and preeclampsia. We list the computational analysis platforms and resources available for the public use. Lastly, we discuss the future areas of interest for placenta single cell studies, as well as the data analytics needed to accomplish them.

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José Manuel Ortiz-Rodríguez, Francisco Eduardo Martín-Cano, Gemma Gaitskell-Phillips, Antonio Silva, José Antonio Tapia, Maria Cruz Gil, Eloy Redondo, Javier Masot, Cristina Ortega-Ferrusola, and Fernando J Peña

Spermatozoa are redox-regulated cells, and stallion spermatozoa, in particular, present an intense mitochondrial activity in which large amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced. To maintain the redox potential under physiological conditions, sophisticated mechanisms ought to be present, particularly in the mitochondria. In the present study, we investigated the role of the SLC7A11 antiporter. This antiporter exchanges intracellular glutamate for extracellular cystine. In the spermatozoa, cystine is reduced to cysteine and used for GSH synthesis. The importance of the antiporter for mitochondrial functionality was studied using flow cytometry and UHPLC/MS/MS approaches. Intracellular GSH increased in the presence of cystine, but was reduced in the presence of Buthionine sulphoximine (BSO), a γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase inhibitor (P < 0.001). Inhibition of the SLC7A11 antiporter with sulfasalazine caused a dramatic drop in intracellular GSH (P < 0.001) and in the percentage of spermatozoa showing active mitochondria (P < 0.001). These findings suggest that proper functionality of this antiporter is required for the mitochondrial function of spermatozoa. We also describe that under some conditions, glutamate may be metabolized following non-conventional pathways, also contributing to sperm functionality. We provide evidences, that the stallion spermatozoa have important metabolic plasticity, and also of the relation between redox regulation and metabolic regulation. These findings may have important implications for the understanding of sperm biology and the development of new strategies for sperm conservation and treatment of male factor infertility.

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Jin-Young Lee, Whasun Lim, and Gwonhwa Song

Placental choriocarcinoma is a malignant trophoblastic tumor associated with placentation. During placentation, complicated molecular networks are mediated by endocrine and paracrine signals. Serotonin neurotransmitters have been identified in the transmembrane region of human placental choriocarcinoma (HPC) cells as tumor promoters; therefore, their antagonists have anti-cancer properties. Although methiothepin, a serotonin receptor antagonist and FDA-approved psychotropic agent, has shown multi-pharmacological functions in various disease models, its anti-tumorigenic activity and mechanisms underlying its action against HPC are unknown. Therefore, we identified the anti-cancer effects of methiothepin in JEG3 and JAR HPC cells. Methiothepin attenuated mitochondrial function and induced endoplasmic reticular stress, reducing oxidative phosphorylation and causing metabolic shifting in HPC cells. Furthermore, methiothepin showed synergistic pharmacological effects with paclitaxel in HPC cells. Our results highlight the robust tumor-suppressive function of methiothepin in HPC. Our findings provide new insights into the repositioning of methiothepin from a psychotropic agent to novel anti-cancer agents, especially against HPC.

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Minkyeong Lee, Changwon Yang, Gwonhwa Song, and Whasun Lim

The reproductive tract in avian females is sensitive to hormonal regulation. Exogenous estrogen induces immature oviduct development to improve egg production after molting. In this process, regressed female reproductive tract is regenerated in response to the secretion of estrogen. However, there is limited knowledge on the physiological mechanisms underlying the regulation of the avian female reproductive system. In our previous study, results from microarray analysis revealed that the expression of genes encoding egg white proteins is affected during molting. Herein, we artificially induced the molting period in chickens through a zinc-containing diet. Subsequently, changes in the expression of genes encoding egg white proteins were confirmed in the oviduct tissue. The levels of MUC5B, ORM1, RTBDN, and TENP mRNA were significantly high in the oviduct, and the genes were repressed in the regression phase, whereas these were expressed in the recrudescence phase, particularly in the luminal epithelium and glandular epithelium of the oviduct, during molting. Moreover, we observed that gene expression was induced in the magnum, the site for the secretion of egg white components. Next, differences in expression levels of the four genes in normal and cancerous ovaries were compared. Collectively, results suggest that the four selected genes are expressed in the female chicken reproductive tract in response to hormonal regulation, and egg white protein-encoding genes may serve as modulators of the reproductive system in hens.

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Tereza Pauerova, Lenka Radonova, Kristina Kovacovicova, Lucia Novakova, Michal Skultety, and Martin Anger

Aneuploidy is the most frequent single cause leading into the termination of early development in human and animal reproduction. Although the mouse is frequently used as a model organism for studying the aneuploidy, we have only incomplete information about the frequency of numerical chromosomal aberrations throughout development, usually limited to a particular stage or assumed from the occurrence of micronuclei. In our study, we systematically scored aneuploidy in in vivo mouse embryos, from zygotes up to 16-cell stage, using kinetochore counting assay. We show here that the frequency of aneuploidy per blastomere remains relatively similar from zygotes until 8-cell embryos and then increases in 16-cell embryos. Due to the accumulation of blastomeres, aneuploidy per embryo increases gradually during this developmental period. Our data also revealed that the aneuploidy from zygotes and 2-cell embryos does not propagate further into later developmental stages, suggesting that embryos suffering from aneuploidy are eliminated at this stage. Experiments with reconstituted live embryos revealed, that hyperploid blastomeres survive early development, although they exhibit slower cell cycle progression and suffer frequently from DNA fragmentation and cell cycle arrest.

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Maria S Ferrer, Roberto Palomares, David Hurley, Anna-Claire Bullington, Alejandro Hoyos-Jaramillo, and João H Bittar

Bovine antisperm antibodies (ASAs) have been associated with teratospermia and asthenospermia. It was hypothesized here that scrotal insulation induces the formation of ASAs and deterioration of sperm function. Scrotal insulation bags were placed in 10 bulls for 8 days. Semen was collected on days −29, −22 and −2, twice weekly from days 5 to 54, and thereafter weekly until day 96 (day 0 = first day of scrotal insulation). On each collection day, scrotal circumference, sperm motility, morphology, membrane integrity, acrosome integrity, apoptosis, lipid peroxidation, mitochondrial membrane potential, ASA binding and DNA integrity were evaluated. The percentage of IgG- and IgA-bound sperm increased between days 12 and 96 (P < 0.0001), in association with poor motility (days 19–30, P < 0.005) and morphology (days 8–40, P < 0.0001). Mean scrotal circumference decreased between days 15 and 75 (P < 0.0001). There was also a deterioration in sperm membrane integrity (days 19–40, P < 0.0001), acrosome integrity (days 26–89, P < 0.0001), lipid peroxidation (days 5–12, P < 0.0001), and mitochondrial membrane potential (days 12–96, P = 0.001). In contrast, a decrease in apoptotic cells (days 37–83, P = 0.0002) and lipid peroxidation (days 19–96, P < 0.0001) was noticed. Most bulls recovered normospermia by day 96. However, the persistence of ASAs, acrosomal damage and dysfunctional mitochondria suggest a long term effect of scrotal insulation on sperm function and the homeostasis of the reproductive immune system.

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Leyla Sati

The circadian system regulates the daily temporal organization in behavior and physiology, including neuroendocrine rhythms and reproduction. Modern life, however, increasingly impacts this complex biological system. Due to limitations of working with human subjects exposed to shift work schedules, most chronoregulation research has used rodent models. Recent publications in these model systems have emphasized the negative effects of circadian rhythm disruption on both female and male reproductive systems and fertility. Additionally, there is growing concern about the long-term effects of circadian rhythm disruptions during pregnancy on human offspring and their descendants as circadian regulation during pregnancy can also alter epigenetic programing in offspring. However, to truly know if such concerns apply to humans will require retrospective and prospective human studies. Therefore, this review will highlight the latest available evidence regarding potential effects of chronodisruption on both female and male reproductive systems. Additionally, it presents a comprehensive summary of transgenerational and epigenetic effects on adult offspring that result from maternal chronodisruption.

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Marcela Vilarino, Delia Alba Soto, Yanina Soledad Bogliotti, Leqian Yu, Yanli Zhang, Chunsheng Wang, Erika Paulson, Cuiqing Zhong, Miaohan Jin, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, Jun Wu, and Pablo Juan Ross

Until recently, it has been difficult to derive and maintain stable embryonic stem cells lines from livestock species. Sheep ESCs with characteristics similar to those described for rodents and primates have not been produced. We report the derivation of sheep ESCs under a chemically defined culture system containing fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) and a tankyrase/Wnt inhibitor (IWR1). We also show that several culture conditions used for stabilizing naïve and intermediate pluripotency states in humans and mice were unsuitable to maintain ovine pluripotency in vitro. Sheep ESCs display a smooth dome-shaped colony morphology, and maintain an euploid karyotype and stable expression of pluripotency markers after more than 40 passages. We further demonstrate that IWR1 and FGF2 are essential for the maintenance of an undifferentiated state in de novo derived sheep ESCs. The derivation of stable pluripotent cell lines from sheep blastocysts represents a step forward toward understanding pluripotency regulation in livestock species and developing novel biomedical and agricultural applications.

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Alisa Komsky-Elbaz, Dorit Kalo, and Zvi Roth

This study aims to evaluate the deleterious effect of the mycotoxin aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) on bull spermatozoa and the carryver effect on the developing embryo. Proteomic analysis of AFB1-treated spermatozoa revealed differential expression of proteins associated with biological processes and cellular pathways that involved in spermatozoon function, fertilization competence and embryonic development. Therefore, we assume that factors delivered by the spermatozoa, regardless of DNA fragmentation, are also involved. To confirm this hypothesis, we have used the annexin V (AV) kit to separate the spermatozoa into apoptotic (AV+) and non-apoptotic (AV−) subpopulations which were found to correlate with high- and low DNA fragmentation, respectively. Fertilization with AV+ AFB1-treated spermatozoa, resulted in no blastocyst formation, whereas fertilization with AV− spermatozoa resulted in reduced cleavage rate and formation of genetically altered blastocysts (POU5F1 and SOX2). Microarray analysis of blastocysts derived from 10 µM AFB1-treated spermatozoa revealed differential expression of 345 genes that involved in cellular pathways such as embryo and placenta development, cell cycle, DNA repair and histone modification, and in signaling pathways, especially calcium signaling pathway. This is the first report on deleterious carrying over effects of AFB1 from the bovine spermatozoa to the formed embryo. Our findings suggest that aside from the damage caused by AFB1 to spermatozoa’s DNA integrity, additional damage mechanisms are involved.