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Wan-Sheng Liu, Yaqi Zhao, Chen Lu, Gang Ning, Yun Ma, Francisco Diaz, and Michael O'Connor

Preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME) is a cancer/testis antigen that is predominantly expressed in normal testicular tissues and a variety of tumors. The function of the PRAME family in spermatogenesis remains unknown. This study was designed to characterize the Y-linked PRAME (PRAMEY) protein during spermatogenesis in cattle. We found that PRAMEY is a novel male germ cell-specific, and a germinal granule-associated protein that is expressed in spermatogenic cells during spermatogenesis. The intact PRAMEY protein (58 kDa) was detected in different ages of testes but not in epididymal spermatozoa. A PRAMEY isoform (30 kDa) was highly expressed only in testes after puberty and in epididymal spermatozoa. This isoform interacts with PP1γ2 and is likely the mature protein present in the testes and sperm. Immunofluorescent staining demonstrated that PRAMEY was located predominantly in the acrosome granule of spermatids, and in acrosome and flagellum of spermatozoa. Immunogold electron microscopy further localized the PRAMEY protein complex to the nucleus and several cytoplasmic organelles, including the rough endoplasmic reticulum, some small vesicles, the intermitochondrial cement, the chromatoid body and the centrioles, in spermatogonia, spermatocytes, spermatids and/or spermatozoa. PRAMEY was highly enriched in and structurally associated with the matrix of the acrosomal granule (AG) in round spermatids, and migrated with the expansion of the AG during acrosomal biogenesis. While the function of PRAMEY remains unclear during spermatogenesis, our results suggest that PRAMEY may play an essential role in acrosome biogenesis and spermatogenesis.

Free Chinese abstract: A Chinese translation of this abstract is freely available at

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Lizhu Ma, Yuxin Zheng, Xiaorong Tang, Huimin Gao, Ning Liu, Yan Gao, Lizhuang Hao, Shujie Liu, and Zhongliang Jiang

It is well documented that granulosa cell apoptosis is the main reason for follicular atresia and death; however, increasing evidence suggests that autophagy plays an important role in the fate of granulosa cells. miR-21-3p regulates many fundamental biological processes and is pivotal in the autophagy of tumor cells; nevertheless, the autophagy in cattle ovary and how miR-21-3p regulates the follicular cells is unknown. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the autophagy and the role of miR-21-3p in cattle ovary using bovine primary ovarian granulosa cells (BGCs). The results showed the autophagy for the first time in BGCs in large follicle according to autophagic gene transcript of LC3, BECN-1, ATG3, protein expression of LC3, P62 and LC3 puncta, a standard marker for autophagosomes. miR-21-3p was identified as a novel miRNA that repressed BGCs autophagy according to the results from plasmids transfection of miR-21-3p mimics and inhibitor. Meanwhile, VEGFA was confirmed to be a validated target of miR-21-3p in BGCs using luciferase reporter assays and the results of VEGFA expression decreased with transfection of miR-21-3p mimics, while it increased with transfection of miR-21-3p inhibitor. In addition, small interference-mediated knockdown of VEGFA significantly inhibits BGCs autophagy signaling; however, overexpression of VEGFA in BGCs promoted autophagy in the presence of miR-21-3p. Finally, the results of AKT and its phosphorylation suggested that miR-21-3p suppressed VEGFA expression through downregulating AKT phosphorylation signaling. In summary, this study demonstrates that miR-21-3p inhibits BGCs autophagy by targeting VEGFA and attenuating PI3K/AKT signaling.

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Yue-Mao Zheng, Hui-Ying Zhao, Xiao-E Zhao, Fu-Sheng Quan, Song Hua, Xiao-Ying He, Jun Liu, Xiao-Ning He, and Hui Lin

We assessed the developmental ability of embryos cloned from porcine neural stem (NS) cells, amniotic fluid-derived stem (AFS) cells, fetal fibroblast cells, adult fibroblast, and mammary gland epithelial cells. The five cell lines were transfected with enhanced green fluorescence protein gene respectively using lipofection. NS and AFS cells were induced to differentiate in vitro. Stem cells and their differentiated cells were harvested for analysis of the markers using RT-PCR. The five cell lines were used for nuclear transfer. The two-cell stage-cloned embryos derived from each cell line were transferred into the oviducts of surrogate mothers. The results showed that both NS and AFS cells expressed POU5F1, THY1 and SOX2, and they were both induced to differentiate into astrocyte (GFAP+), oligodendrocyte (GalC+), neuron (NF+, ENO2+, and MAP2+), adipocyte (LPL+ and PPARG-D+), osteoblast (osteonectin+ and osteocalcin+), myocyte (MYF6+ and MYOD+), and endothelium (PECAM1+, CD34+, CDH5+, and NOS3+) respectively. Seven cloned fetuses (28 days and 32 days) derived from stem cells were obtained. The in vitro developmental ability (morula–blastocyst rate was 28.26–30.07%) and in vivo developmental ability (pregnancy rate were 1.67–2.17%) of the embryos cloned from stem cells were higher (P<0.05) than that of the embryos cloned from somatic cells (morula–blastocyst rate was 16.27–19.28% and pregnancy rate was 0.00%), which suggests that the undifferentiated state of the donor cells increases cloning efficiency.

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Yunping Dai, Lili Wang, Haiping Wang, Ying Liu, Ning Li, Qifeng Lyu, David L Keefe, David F Albertini, and Lin Liu

Cloning mammalians by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) remains inefficient. A majority of clones produced by SCNT fail to develop properly and of those which do survive, some exhibit early aging, premature death, tumors, and other pathologies associated with aneuploidy. Alterations of centrosomes are linked to aberrant cell cycle progression, aneuploidy, and tumorigenesis in many cell types. It remains to be determined how centrosomes are remodeled in cloned bovine embryos. We show that abnormalities in either distribution and/or number of centrosomes were evident in approximately 50% of reconstructed embryos following SCNT. Moreover, centrosome abnormalities and failed ‘pronuclear’ migration which manifested during the first cell cycle coincided with errors in spindle morphogenesis, chromosome alignment, and cytokinesis. By contrast, nuclear mitotic apparatus protein (NuMA) exhibited normal expression patterns at metaphase spindle poles and in ‘pronucleus’ during interphase. The defects in centrosome remodeling and ‘pronuclear’ migration could lead to chromosome instability and developmental failures associated with embryo production by SCNT. Addressing these fundamental problems may enhance production of normal clones.