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Vertebrate reproductive science and technology

24 Evaluation of Latrunculin A for the Activation of Hand-Made Cloning (HMC) Porcine Embryos

F. K. Castañeda A , N. G. Canel A , G. V. Landschoot A B , A. De Stéfano A , R. J. Bevacqua A and D. F. Salamone A
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A Laboratorio de Biotecnología Animal, Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina;

B Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de Modelos Integrales (CIDME), Universidad Maimónides, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Argentina

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 30(1) 151-152
Published: 4 December 2017


Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is an important biotechnological tool. However, production rates of viable offspring remain low. One possible cause of this low efficiency is chromosomal losses during early activation process (Liu et al. 2015 Cell. Reprogram. 17, 463–471). The use of actin inhibitors that block second polar body extrusion during activation protocols might be a strategy to avoid such losses. The objective of this work was to compare the efficiency of the use of 2 actin inhibitors during the activation of hand-made cloning (HMC) porcine embryos. One of the compounds used was latrunculin A (LatA), which joins directly to actin monomers, preventing their assembly to the filaments. The other was cytochalasin B (CB), which is commonly used for activation protocols. It binds to the growing actin filaments and prevents their elongation. For this purpose, in vitro-matured cumulus–oocyte compexes were deprived of their cumulus and zonae pellucidae cells by mechanical and enzymatic treatments. Oocytes were randomly distributed in 2 experimental groups (HMC) and 2 parthenogenetic control groups (PA). For HMC groups, oocytes were bisected using a microblade and the resulting hemioocytes were stained with Hoechst 33342 and observed under UV light to identify those that had lost the metaphase II plate. Adult skin fibroblasts from primary cultures were used as nuclear donors. For nuclear transfer, 2 hemicytoplasts were fused to a donor cell by an electric pulse of 1.42 kV/cm for 30 μs. After 2 h of nuclear reprogramming, the reconstituted embryos were activated by an electric pulse of 1.2 kV/cm for 80 μs and incubated with cycloheximide (CHX, 10 μg mL−1 , 3 h) in combination with one of the actin inhibitors: LatA 2 μM (CHX-LatA goup) or CB 2.5 μg mL−1 (CHX-CB group). The PA groups were subjected to the same activation treatments (PA-CHX+LatA and PA-CHX+CB groups). All embryos were cultured in SOFaa medium, using an adaptation of the well-of-the-well (WOW) system (microwells), in a humidified atmosphere with 5% CO2 in air at 39°C. Cleavage, morulae, and blastocysts rates were evaluated at Days 2, 4, and 7-8, respectively. At least 3 replicates were performed per group. Results are presented in Table 1. Our results demonstrate that the production of embryos by HMC activated with CHX-LatA is as efficient as that with CHX-CB, the protocol currently used in SCNT protocols. Further research is needed to study its effect on chromosomal complements and long-term development.

Table 1.  Effect of activation with cycloheximide (CHX) and latrunculin A (LatA) on in vitro development of hand-made cloning (HMC) porcine embryos (% ± SD in parentheses)
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