Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • Publication
    Sequential analysis of global gene expression profiles in immature and in vitro matured bovine oocytes: potential molecular markers of oocyte maturation
    Background: Without intensive selection, the majority of bovine oocytes submitted to in vitro embryo production (IVP) fail to develop to the blastocyst stage. This is attributed partly to their maturation status and competences. Using the Affymetrix GeneChip Bovine Genome Array, global mRNA expression analysis of immature (GV) and in vitro matured (IVM) bovine oocytes was carried out to characterize the transcriptome of bovine oocytes and then use a variety of approaches to determine whether the observed transcriptional changes during IVM was real or an artifact of the techniques used during analysis.Results: 8489 transcripts were detected across the two oocyte groups, of which ~25.0% (2117 transcripts) were differentially expressed (p < 0.001); corresponding to 589 over-expressed and 1528 under-expressed transcripts in the IVM oocytes compared to their immature counterparts. Over expression of transcripts by IVM oocytes is particularly interesting, therefore, a variety of approaches were employed to determine whether the observed transcriptional changes during IVM were real or an artifact of the techniques used during analysis, including the analysis of transcript abundance in oocytes in vitro matured in the presence of α-amanitin. Subsets of the differentially expressed genes were also validated by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and the gene expression data was classified according to gene ontology and pathway enrichment. Numerous cell cycle linked (CDC2, CDK5, CDK8, HSPA2, MAPK14, TXNL4B), molecular transport (STX5, STX17, SEC22A, SEC22B), and differentiation (NACA) related genes were found to be among the several over-expressed transcripts in GV oocytes compared to the matured counterparts, while ANXA1, PLAU, STC1and LUM were among the over-expressed genes after oocyte maturation.Conclusion: Using sequential experiments, we have shown and confirmed transcriptional changes during oocyte maturation. This dataset provides a unique reference resource for studies concerned with the molecular mechanisms controlling oocyte meiotic maturation in cattle, addresses the existing conflicting issue of transcription during meiotic maturation and contributes to the global goal of improving assisted reproductive technology.
      323Scopus© Citations 72
  • Publication
    Intragenic sequences in the trophectoderm harbour the greatest proportion of methylation errors in day 17 bovine conceptuses generated using assisted reproductive technologies
    Background: Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are widely used to treat fertility issues in humans and for the production of embryos in mammalian livestock. The use of these techniques, however, is not without consequence as they are often associated with inauspicious pre- and postnatal outcomes including premature birth, intrauterine growth restriction and increased incidence of epigenetic disorders in human and large offspring syndrome in cattle. Here, global DNA methylation profiles in the trophectoderm and embryonic discs of in vitro produced (IVP), superovulation-derived (SOV) and unstimulated, synchronised control day 17 bovine conceptuses (herein referred to as AI) were interrogated using the EmbryoGENE DNA Methylation Array (EDMA). Pyrosequencing was used to validate four loci identified as differentially methylated on the array and to assess the differentially methylated regions (DMRs) of six imprinted genes in these conceptuses. The impact of embryo-production induced DNA methylation aberrations was determined using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis, shedding light on the potential functional consequences of these differences. Results: Of the total number of differentially methylated loci identified (3140) 77.3 and 22.7% were attributable to SOV and IVP, respectively. Differential methylation was most prominent at intragenic sequences within the trophectoderm of IVP and SOV-derived conceptuses, almost a third (30.8%) of the differentially methylated loci mapped to intragenic regions. Very few differentially methylated loci were detected in embryonic discs (ED); 0.16 and 4.9% of the differentially methylated loci were located in the ED of SOV-derived and IVP conceptuses, respectively. The overall effects of SOV and IVP on the direction of methylation changes were associated with increased methylation; 70.6% of the differentially methylated loci in SOV-derived conceptuses and 57.9% of the loci in IVP-derived conceptuses were more methylated compared to AI-conceptuses. Ontology analysis of probes associated with intragenic sequences suggests enrichment for terms associated with cancer, cell morphology and growth. Conclusion: By examining (1) the effects of superovulation and (2) the effects of an in vitro system (oocyte maturation, fertilisation and embryo culture) we have identified that the assisted reproduction process of superovulation alone has the largest impact on the DNA methylome of subsequent embryos.
      302Scopus© Citations 17
  • Publication
    Characterization of the Th Profile of the Bovine Endometrium during the Oestrous Cycle and Early Pregnancy
    Despite extensive research in the area of cow fertility, the extent to which the maternal immune system is modulated during pregnancy in cattle remains unclear. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to characterize the presence and response profile of B, T-helper (LTh), T- cytotoxic (LTc), gamma delta-T (γδT) and natural killer (NK) lymphocytes in terms of cell number, distribution and cytokine expression in bovine endometrial tissue to pregnancy. Endometrial tissue samples were collected from beef heifers on Days 5, 7, 13 and 16 of the estrous cycle or pregnancy. Samples were analysed by immunofluorescence to identify the presence and abundance of B-B7 (B-cells), CD4 (LTh), CD8 (LTc), γδT cell receptor (TCR) and CD335/NKp46 (NK cells) -positive immune cells. Quantitative real time PCR (QPCR) was carried out to analyse mRNA relative abundance of FOXP3 (a marker of regulatory T (Treg) cells) and a panel of immune factors, including MHC-I, LIF, Interleukins 1, 2, 6, 8, 10, 11,12A, IFNa and IFNG. Results indicate that B-B7+ cells are quite populous in bovine endometrial tissue, CD4+ and CD8+ -cells are present in moderate numbers and γδTCR+ and CD335+ cells are present in low numbers. Pregnancy affected the total number and distribution pattern of the NK cell population, with the most significant variation observed on Day 16 of pregnancy. Neither B lymphocytes nor T lymphocyte subsets were regulated temporally during the oestrous cycle or by pregnancy prior to implantation. mRNA transcript abundance of the immune factors LIF, IL1b, IL8 and IL12A, IFNa and IFNG, expression was regulated temporally during the estrous cycle and LIF, IL1b, IL-10, IL11, IL12A were also temporally regulated during pregnancy. In conclusion, the endometrial immune profile of the oestrous cycle favours a Th2 environment in anticipation of pregnancy and the presence of an embryo acts to fine tune this environment.
      269Scopus© Citations 58
  • Publication
    DNA methylation dynamics at imprinted genes during bovine pre-implantation embryo development
    Background: In mammals, maternal differentially methylated regions (DMRs) acquire DNA methylation during the postnatal growth stage of oogenesis, with paternal DMRs acquiring DNA methylation in the perinatal prospermatagonia. Following fusion of the male and female gametes, it is widely accepted that murine DNA methylation marks at the DMRs of imprinted genes are stable through embryogenesis and early development, until they are reprogrammed in primordial germ cells. However, the DNA methylation dynamics at DMRs of bovine imprinted genes during early stages of development remains largely unknown. The objective of this investigation was to analyse the methylation dynamics at imprinted gene DMRs during bovine embryo development, from blastocyst stage until implantation. Results: To this end, pyrosequencing technology was used to quantify DNA methylation at DMR-associated CpG dinucleotides of six imprinted bovine genes (SNRPN, MEST, IGF2R, PLAGL1, PEG10 and H19) using bisulfite-modified genomic DNA isolated from individual blastocysts (Day 7); ovoid embryos (Day 14); filamentous embryos (Day 17) and implanting conceptuses (Day 25). For all genes, the degree of DNA methylation was most variable in Day 7 blastocysts compared to later developmental stages (P < 0.05). Furthermore, mining of RNA-seq transcriptomic data and western blot analysis revealed a specific window of expression of DNA methylation machinery genes (including DNMT3A, DNMT3B, TRIM28/KAP1 and DNMT1) and proteins (DNMT3A, DNMT3A2 and DNMT3B) by bovine embryos coincident with imprint stabilization. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that the DNA methylation status of bovine DMRs might be variable during the early stages of embryonic development, possibly requiring an active period of imprint stabilization.
      810Scopus© Citations 31
  • Publication
    The contribution of the maternal immune system to the establishment of pregnancy in cattle
    (Frontiers Media SA, 2015-01-28)
    Immune cells play an integral role in affecting successful reproductive function. Indeed, disturbed or aberrant immune function has been identified as primary mechanisms behind infertility. In contrast to the extensive body of literature that exists for human and mouse, studies detailing the immunological interaction between the embryo and the maternal endometrium are quite few in cattle. Nevertheless, by reviewing the existing studies and extrapolating from sheep, pig, mouse, and human data, we can draw a reasonably comprehensive picture. Key contributions of immune cell populations include granulocyte involvement in follicle differentiation and gamete transfer, monocyte invasion of the peri-ovulatory follicle and their subsequent role in corpus luteum formation and the pivotal roles of maternal macrophage and dendritic cells in key steps of the establishment of pregnancy, particularly, the maternal immune response to the embryo. These contributions are reviewed in detail below and key findings are discussed.
      257Scopus© Citations 67