Qi ZhouKey Laboratory of Organ Regeneration and Transplantation of the Ministry of Education, First Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun, China State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chaoyang, Beijing, China
Trichostatin A (TSA), a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, can significantly improve the reprogramming efficiency of somatic cells. However, whether TSA has a detrimental effect on other kinds of embryos is largely unknown because of the lack of integrated analysis of the TSA effect on natural fertilized embryos. To investigate the effect of TSA on mouse embryo development, we analyzed preimplantation and post-implantation development of in vivo, in vitro fertilized, and parthenogenetic embryos treated with TSA at different concentrations and durations. In vivo fertilized embryos appeared to be the most sensitive to TSA treatment among the three groups, and the blastocyst formation rate decreased sharply as TSA concentration and treatment time increased. TSA treatment also reduced the livebirth rate for in vivo fertilized embryos from 56.59 to 38.33% but did not significantly affect postnatal biological functions such as the pups’ reproductive performance and their ability for spatial learning and memory. Further analysis indicated that the acetylation level of H3K9 and H4K5 was enhanced by TSA treatment at low concentrations, while DNA methylation appeared to be also disturbed by TSA treatment only at high concentration. Thus, our data indicates that TSA has different effects on preimplantation embryonic development depending on the nature of the embryo’s reproductive origin, the TSA concentration and treatment time, whereas the effect of TSA at the indicated concentration on postnatal function was minor.
Spermatogenesis is crucial for male fertility and is therefore tightly controlled by a variety of epigenetic regulators. However, the function of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) in spermatogenesis and the molecular mechanisms underlying its activity remain poorly defined. Here, we demonstrate that deleting EZH2 promoted spermatogonial differentiation and apoptosis. EZH2 is expressed in spermatogonia, spermatocytes and round and elongated spermatids from stage 9 to 11 but not in leptotene and zygotene spermatocytes. Knocking down Ezh2 in vitro using a lentivirus impaired self-renewal in spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs), and the conditional knockout of Ezh2 in spermatogonial progenitors promoted precocious spermatogonial differentiation. EZH2 functions to balance self-renewal and differentiation in spermatogonia by suppressing NEUROG3 and KIT via a direct interaction that is independent of its histone methyltransferase activity. Moreover, deleting Ezh2 enhanced the activation of CASP3 in spermatids, resulting in reduced spermatozoa production. Collectively, these data demonstrate that EZH2 plays a nonclassical role in the regulation of spermatogonial differentiation and apoptosis in murine spermatogenesis.
Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), which are abundant in mammalian genomes, can modulate the expression of nearby genes, and their expression is dynamic and stage-specific during early embryonic development in mice and humans. However, the functions and mechanisms of ERV elements in regulating embryonic development remain unclear. Here, we utilized several methods to determine the contribution of ERVs to the makeup and regulation of transcripts during embryonic genome activation (EGA). We constructed an ERV library and embryo RNA-seq library (IVF_2c and IVF_8c) of goat to serve as our research basis. The GO and KEGG analysis of nearby ERV genes revealed that some ERV elements may be associated with embryonic development. RNA-seq results were consistent with the features of EGA. To obtain the transcripts derived from the ERV sequences, we blasted the ERV sequences with embryonic transcripts and identified three lncRNAs and one mRNA that were highly expressed in IVF-8c rather than in IVF-2c (q-value <0.05). Then, we validated the expression patterns of nine ERV-related transcripts during early developmental stages and knocked down three high-expression transcripts in EGA. The knockdown of lncRNA TCONS_00460156 or mRNA HSD17B11 significantly decreased the developmental rate of IVF embryos. Our findings suggested that some transcripts from ERVs are essential for the early embryonic development of goat, and analyzing the ERV expression profile during goat EGA may help elucidate the molecular mechanisms of ERV in regulating embryonic development.