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35 Interspecies Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Embryos that Form Nucleoli do not Always Activate Mitochondrial Functional Differentiation at the Time of Embryonic Genome Activation

I. Lagutina A , G. Lazzari A and C. Galli A
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Avantea, Cremona, Italy

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 30(1) 157-157
Published: 4 December 2017


Embryonic genome activation (EGA) is a complex process that needs a good orchestration of all biochemical processes at the time of maternal-to-embryonic transition. Mitochondria are strictly dependent on the nucleus for their correct activity as ~1500 mitochondrial genes have nuclear localisation. The finding of transcriptional activation and accumulation of mRNAs related to mitochondrial biogenesis (Mtango et al. 2008 Reprod. Fertil. Dev. 20, 846-859) around the time of EGA confirmed the role of nucleus in this process. Studying mitochondria behaviour in interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (iSCNT) embryos (Lagutina et al. 2010 Reproduction 140, 273-285), we have found that at the time of EGA, mitochondria activation could be demonstrated by JC-1 accumulation. We suggested that comparison of the mean green fluorescence intensity (FI) that corresponds to the fluorescence of the monomeric form of the dye and correlates to relative mitochondrial mass (Mancini et al. 1997) in iSCNT and control nuclear transfer (NT) could serve as a test to assess EGA in iSCNT embryos. The aim of this study was to estimate nuclear-cytoplasmic interaction in iSCNT embryos that formed nucleoli at the time of EGA (Lagutina et al. 2011 Reproduction 141, 453-465) such as embryos derived from bovine oocytes and bovine (control), buffalo or ovine donor nuclei, and from porcine oocytes and porcine (control), horse, or rabbit nuclei. Embryos 72 h after activation were stained with 2 μM JC-1 in SOF-HEPES with 10% FCS at 37°C for 1 h. Images were collected using a fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) filter and analysed with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 (Adobe Systems, San Jose, CA, USA). The data are presented as mean FI of the embryo. To demonstrate the effect of EGA inhibition on mitochondria, bovine and porcine NT embryos were cultured in medium supplemented with 25 μg/mL α-amanitin (AA) from 48 to 72 h after activation. The analyses of mean FI of the embryos showed that ovine and buffalo nuclei were able to support mitochondrial mass accumulation in iSCNT embryos with bovine oocytes equal to control bovine NT embryos (35 ± 11.2; 41.9 ± 14.8; 36.2 ± 7.6, respectively) that was significantly higher than in bovine embryos treated with AA (15.4 ± 4.9; P < 0.05). In the iSCNT embryos composed of porcine oocytes and equine or rabbit nuclei, mean FI values (20 ± 13.4; 18.3 ± 5.5, respectively) were comparable with those in porcine NT embryos treated with AA (16.2 ± 6.2), and were significantly lower than in porcine control (91 ± 47.7; P < 0.05) NT embryos, demonstrating the inability of equine and rabbit nuclei to properly govern the porcine mitochondria mass growth at the time of EGA. In conclusion, nucleolus formation and activation of nuclear encoded mitochondrial genes at the time of EGA cannot serve, per se, as a marker of correct embryonic genome activation in iSCNT embryos, because, in our conditions, no iSCNT embryos developed to blastocyst (Lagutina et al. 2010 Reproduction 140, 273-285). This knowledge about behaviour of different embryo compartments at the time of EGA could extend our understanding of the whole process.

This work was funded by Translink (EU FP7 no. 603049) and Xenoislet projects (EU FP7 no. 601827).

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