Bovine in vitro oocyte maturation as a model for manipulation of the gamma-glutamyl cycle and intraoocyte glutathione.
ABSTRACT Glutathione (GSH) is the main non-enzymatic defence against oxidative stress and is a critical intracellular component required for oocyte maturation. In the present study, several modulators of intracellular GSH were assessed for their effect on the in vitro maturation (IVM) and intracellular GSH content of bovine metaphase (MII) oocytes. Of the five GSH modulators tested, only the cell-permeable GSH donor glutathione ethyl ester (GSH-OEt) significantly increased the GSH content of IVM MII oocytes in a concentration-dependent manner without adversely affecting oocyte maturation rate. The GSH level in IVM MII oocytes was greatly influenced by the presence or absence of cumulus cells and severely restricted when oocytes were cultured in the presence of buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), an inhibitor of GSH synthesis. The addition of GSH-OEt to cumulus-denuded or BSO-treated oocytes increased the GSH content of bovine MII oocytes. Supplementation of the maturation medium with bovine serum albumin (BSA) or fetal calf serum (FCS) affected the GSH content of IVM MII oocytes, with greater levels attained under BSA culture conditions. The addition of GSH-OEt to the maturation medium increased the GSH content of IVM MII oocytes, irrespective of protein source. Spindle morphology, as assessed by immunocytochemistry and confocal microscopy, displayed distinct alterations in response to changes in oocyte GSH levels. GSH depletion caused by BSO treatment tended to widen spindle poles and significantly increased spindle area. Supplementation of the IVM medium with GSH-OEt increased spindle length, but did not significantly alter spindle area or spindle morphology. GSH-OEt represents a novel oocyte-permeable and cumulus cell-independent approach for effective elevation of mammalian oocyte GSH levels.
Article: Evolution of "determinants" in sex-determination: a novel hypothesis for the origin of environmental contingencies in avian sex-bias.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Sex-determination is commonly categorized as either "genetic" or "environmental"-a classification that obscures the origin of this dichotomy and the evolution of sex-determining factors. The current focus on static outcomes of sex-determination provides little insight into the dynamic developmental processes by which some mechanisms acquire the role of sex determinants. Systems that combine "genetic" pathways of sex-determination (i.e., sex chromosomes) with "environmental" pathways (e.g., epigenetically induced segregation distortion) provide an opportunity to examine the evolutionary relationships between the two classes of processes and, ultimately, illuminate the evolution of sex-determining systems. Taxa with sex chromosomes typically undergo an evolutionary reduction in size of one of the sex chromosomes due to suppressed recombination, resulting in pronounced dimorphism of the sex chromosomes, and setting the stage for emergence of epigenetic compensatory mechanisms regulating meiotic segregation of heteromorphic sex chromosomes. Here we propose that these dispersed and redundant regulatory mechanisms enable environmental contingency in genetic sex-determination in birds and account for frequently documented context-dependence in avian sex-determination. We examine the evolution of directionality in such sex-determination as a result of exposure of epigenetic regulators of meiosis to natural selection and identify a central role of hormones in integrating female reproductive homeostasis, resource allocation to oocytes, and offspring sex. This approach clarifies the evolutionary relationship between sex-specific molecular genetic mechanisms of sex-determination and non-sex-specific epigenetic regulators of meiosis and demonstrates that both can determine sex. Our perspective shows how non-sex-specific mechanisms can acquire sex-determining function and, by establishing the explicit link between physiological integration of oogenesis and sex-determination, opens new avenues to the studies of adaptive sex-bias and sex-specific resource allocation in species with genetic sex-determination.Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 12/2008; 20(3):304-12. · 6.65 Impact Factor