[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pronuclear injection (PI) is the simplest and widely used method to generate transgenic (Tg) mice. Unfortunately, PI-based Tg mice show uncertain transgene expression due to random transgene insertion in the genome, usually with multiple copies. Thus, typically at least three or more Tg lines are produced by injecting over 200 zygotes and the best line/s among them are selected through laborious screening steps. Recently, we developed technologies using Cre-loxP system that allow targeted insertion of single-copy transgene into a predetermined locus through PI. We termed the method as PI-based Targeted Transgenesis (PITT). A similar method using PhiC31-attP/B system was reported subsequently.
Here, we developed an improved-PITT (i-PITT) method by combining Cre-loxP, PhiC31-attP/B and FLP-FRT systems directly under C57BL/6N inbred strain, unlike the mixed strain used in previous reports. The targeted Tg efficiency in the i-PITT typically ranged from 10 to 30%, with 47 and 62% in two of the sessions, which is by-far the best Tg rate reported. Furthermore, the system could generate multiple Tg mice simultaneously. We demonstrate that injection of up to three different Tg cassettes in a single injection session into as less as 181 zygotes resulted in production of all three separate Tg DNA containing targeted Tg mice.
The i-PITT system offers several advantages compared to previous methods: multiplexing capability (i-PITT is the only targeted-transgenic method that is proven to generate multiple different transgenic lines simultaneously), very high efficiency of targeted-transgenesis (up to 62%), significantly reduces animal numbers in mouse-transgenesis and the system is developed under C57BL/6N strain, the most commonly used pure genetic background. Further, the i-PITT system is freely accessible to scientific community.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spermatozoa are flagellated cells whose role in fertilization is dependent on their ability to move towards an oocyte. The structure of the sperm flagella is highly conserved across species, and much of what is known about this structure is derived from studies utilizing animal models. One group of proteins essential for the movement of the flagella are the dyneins. Using the advanced technology of CRISPR/Cas9 we have targeted three dynein group members; Dnaic1, Wdr63 and Ccdc63 in mice. All three of these genes are expressed strongly in the testis. We generated mice with amino acid substitutions in Dnaic1 to analyze two specific phosphorylation events at S124 and S127, and generated simple knockouts of Wdr63 and Ccdc63. We found that the targeted phosphorylation sites in Dnaic1 were not essential for male fertility. Similarly, Wdr63 was not essential for male fertility; however, Ccdc63 removal resulted in sterile male mice due to shortened flagella. This study demonstrates the versatility of the CRISPR/Cas9 system to generate animal models of a highly complex system by introducing point mutations and simple knockouts in a fast and efficient manner.
Preview · Article · Oct 2015 · International Journal of Molecular Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcineurin inhibitors, such as cyclosporine A and FK506, are used as immunosuppressant drugs, but their adverse effects on
male reproductive function remain unclear. The testis expresses somatic calcineurin and a sperm-specific isoform that contains
a catalytic subunit (PPP3CC) and a regulatory subunit (PPP3R2). We demonstrate herein that male mice lacking Ppp3cc or Ppp3r2 genes (knockout mice) are infertile, with reduced sperm motility owing to an inflexible midpiece. Treatment of mice with
cyclosporine A or FK506 creates phenocopies of the sperm motility and morphological defects. These defects appear within 4
to 5 days of treatment, which indicates that sperm-specific calcineurin confers midpiece flexibility during epididymal transit.
Male mouse fertility recovered a week after we discontinued treatment. Because human spermatozoa contain PPP3CC and PPP3R2
as a form of calcineurin, inhibition of this sperm-specific calcineurin may lead to the development of a reversible male contraceptive
that would target spermatozoa in the epididymis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calnexin (CANX) and calreticulin (CALR) chaperones mediate nascent glycoprotein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum. Here we report that these chaperones have distinct roles in male and female fertility. Canx null mice are growth retarded but fertile. Calr null mice die during embryonic development, rendering indeterminate any effect on reproduction. Therefore, we conditionally ablated Calr in male and female germ cells using Stra8 (mcKO) and Zp3 (fcKO) promoter-driven Cre recombinase, respectively. Calr mcKO male mice were fertile, but fcKO female mice were sterile despite normal mating behavior. Strikingly, we found that Calr fcKO female mice had impaired folliculogenesis and decreased ovulatory rates due to defective proliferation of cuboidal granulosa cells. Oocyte-derived, TGF-beta family proteins play a major role in follicular development and molecular analysis revealed that the normal processing of GDF9 and BMP15 was defective in Calr fcKO oocytes. These findings highlight the importance of CALR in female reproduction and demonstrate that compromised CALR function leads to ovarian insufficiency and female infertility.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are embryonic germ cell precursors. Specification of PGCs occurs under the influence of mesodermal induction signaling during in vivo gastrulation. Although bone morphogenetic proteins and Wnt signaling play pivotal roles in both mesodermal and PGC specification, the signal regulating PGC specification remains unknown. Coculture of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) with OP9 feeder cells induces mesodermal differentiation in vitro. Using this mesodermal differentiation system, we demonstrated that PGC-like cells were efficiently induced from mouse ESCs by ERK signaling inhibition. Inhibition of ERK signaling by a MEK inhibitor upregulated germ cell marker genes but downregulated mesodermal genes. In addition, the PGC-like cells showed downregulation of DNA methylation and formed pluripotent stem cell colonies upon treatment with retinoic acid. These results show that inhibition of ERK signaling suppresses mesodermal differentiation but activates germline differentiation program in this mesodermal differentiation system. Our findings provide a new insight into the signaling networks regulating PGC specification. Stem Cells 2014
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CRISPR/Cas mediated genome editing has been successfully demonstrated in mammalian cells and further applications for generating mutant mice were reported by injecting humanized Cas9 (hCas) mRNA and single guide RNA into fertilized eggs. Here we inject the circular plasmids expressing hCas9 and sgRNA into mouse zygotes and obtained mutant mice within a month. When we targeted the Cetn1 locus, 58.8% (10/17) of the pups carried the mutations and six of them were homozygously mutated. Co-injection of the plasmids targeting different loci resulted in the successful removal of the flanked region in two out of three mutant pups. The efficient mutagenesis was also observed at the Prm1 locus. Among the 46 offspring carrying CRISPR/Cas plasmid mediated mutations, only two of them carried the hCas9 transgene. The pronuclear injection of circular plasmid expressing hCas9/sgRNA complex is a rapid, simple, and reproducible method for targeted mutagenesis.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Scientific Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SPACA1 is a membrane protein that localizes in the equatorial segment of spermatozoa in mammals and is reported to function in sperm-egg fusion. We produced a Spaca1 gene-disrupted mouse line and found that the male mice were infertile. The cause of this sterility was abnormal shaping of the sperm head reminiscent of globozoospermia in humans. Disruption of Spaca1 led to the disappearance of the nuclear plate, a dense lining of the nuclear envelope facing the inner acrosomal membrane. This coincided with the failure of acrosomal expansion during spermiogenesis and resulted in the degeneration and disappearance of the acrosome in mature spermatozoa. Thus, these findings clarify part of the cascade leading to globozoospermia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome-wide mutagenesis in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) is a powerful tool, but the diploid nature of the mammalian genome hampers its application for recessive genetic screening. We have previously reported a method to induce homozygous mutant ESCs from heterozygous mutants by tetracycline-dependent transient disruption of the Bloom's syndrome gene. However, we could not purify homozygous mutants from a large population of heterozygous mutant cells, limiting the applications. Here we developed a strategy for rapid enrichment of homozygous mutant mouse ESCs and demonstrated its feasibility for cell-based phenotypic analysis. The method uses G418-plus-puromycin double selection to enrich for homozygotes and single-nucleotide polymorphism analysis for identification of homozygosity. We combined this simple approach with gene-trap mutagenesis to construct a homozygous mutant ESC bank with 138 mutant lines and demonstrate its use in phenotype-driven genetic screening.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Various conditions for differentiating embryonic stem (ES) cells or induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into specific kinds of cell lines are under intensive investigation. However, the production of a functional organ with a three-dimensional structure from ES or iPS cells is difficult to achieve in vitro. In the present paper, we describe the establishment of a green fluorescent protein-expressing rat ES cell line and production of mouse↔rat ES chimera by injecting rat ES cells into mouse blastocysts. The rat ES cells contributed to various organs in the chimera, including germ cells. When we injected ES cells into blastocysts of nu/nu mice lacking a thymus, the resultant chimeras produced thymus derived from rat ES cells in their bodies. The chimeric animals may provide a method for the derivation of various organs from ES or iPS cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transgenic and knockout studies have advanced our understanding of the genetic control of embryonic development over the past decades. However, interpretation of the phenotype of mutant mice is potentially complicated, since the commonly used knockout approach modifies both the fetal and placental genome. To circumvent this problem, we previously developed a placenta-specific gene manipulation system by lentiviral vector transduction of embryos at the blastocyst stage. In the present study, by combination with the Cre/LoxP system, we successfully demonstrate placenta-specific gene activation and inactivation in EGFP reporter mice and Ets2 floxed mice, respectively. Transient expression using integrase-defective lentiviral (IDLV) vectors diminished the toxic effect of Cre expression and solved the dilemma of mosaic recombination with lower concentrations and toxic effects with higher concentrations of Cre recombinase. We also show that placenta-specific Ets2 disruption causes embryonic lethality and reconfirmed the critical role of Ets2 during placentation. This technology facilitates both gain and loss of gene function analyses in placental development during pregnancy. Since IDLV vectors can efficiently transduce a variety of cell types similarly to wild-type vectors, our IDLV-Cre strategy is potentially useful for a wide range of applications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polyamines are known to play important roles in the proliferation and differentiation of many types of cells. Although considerable amounts of polyamines are synthesized and stored in the testes, their roles remain unknown. Ornithine decarboxylase antizymes (OAZs) control the intracellular concentration of polyamines in a feedback manner. OAZ1 and OAZ2 are expressed ubiquitously, whereas OAZ-t/OAZ3 is expressed specifically in germline cells during spermiogenesis. OAZ-t reportedly binds to ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and inactivates ODC activity. In a prior study, polyamines were capable of inducing a frameshift at the frameshift sequence of OAZ-t mRNA, resulting in the translation of OAZ-t. To investigate the physiological role of OAZ-t, we generated OAZ-t-disrupted mutant mice. Homozygous OAZ-t mutant males were infertile, although the polyamine concentrations of epididymides and testes were normal in these mice, and females were fertile. Sperm were successfully recovered from the epididymides of the mutant mice, but the heads and tails of the sperm cells were easily separated in culture medium during incubation. Results indicated that OAZ-t is essential for the formation of a rigid junction between the head and tail during spermatogenesis. The detached tails and heads were alive, and most of the headless tails showed straight forward movement. Although the tailless sperm failed to acrosome-react, the heads were capable of fertilizing eggs via intracytoplasmic sperm injection. OAZ-t likely plays a key role in haploid germ cell differentiation via the local concentration of polyamines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A large cis-regulatory landscape is a common feature of vertebrate genomes, particularly at key developmental gene loci with finely tuned expression patterns. Existing genetic tools for surveying large genomic regions of interest spanning over hundreds of kilobases are limited. Here we propose a chromosomal engineering strategy exploiting the local hopping trait of the Sleeping Beauty transposon in the mouse genome. We generated embryonic stem cells with a targeted integration of the transposon vector, carrying an enhancer-detecting lacZ reporter and loxP cassette, into the developmentally critical Pax1 gene locus, followed by efficient local transpositions, nested deletion formation and derivation of embryos by tetraploid complementation. Comparative reporter expression analysis among different insertion/deletion embryos substantially facilitated long-range cis-regulatory element mapping in the genomic neighborhood and demonstrated the potential of the transposon-based approach as a versatile tool for exploration of defined genomic intervals of functional or clinical relevance, such as disease-associated microdeletions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sperm from four different gene-disrupted mouse lines (calmegin [Clgn], Adam1a, Adam2, and Ace) are known to have defective zona-binding ability. Moreover, it is also reported that the sperm from all of these mouse lines exhibit another common phenotype of impaired migration into oviduct despite the large number of sperm found in uterus after coitus. On the other hand, the sperm from the Adam3-disrupted mouse line was reported to have defects in binding ability to zona, but were able to move into the oviduct. In order to clarify the difference, we investigated the migration of ADAM3-null sperm into oviduct precisely by visualizing the sperm by using acrosin-green fluorescent protein as a tag. As a result, in contrast to previous observations, it was demonstrated that the Adam3-disrupted sperm were unable to migrate into the oviduct after coitus. It was ultimately shown that, in five out of five different gene-disrupted mouse lines, the phenotype of impaired sperm binding to zona pellucida was accompanied by the loss of ability of sperm to migrate into the oviduct. This indicates a close relationship between the two phenomena, and also that sperm migration into the oviduct is a crucial step for fertilization.
Preview · Article · May 2009 · Biology of Reproduction
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Meichroacidin (MCA) is a highly hydrophilic protein that contains the membrane occupation and recognition nexus motif. MCA is expressed during the stages of spermatogenesis from pachytene spermatocytes to mature sperm development and is localized in the male meiotic metaphase chromosome and sperm flagellum. MCA sequences are highly conserved in Ciona intestinalis, Cyprinus carpio, and mammals. To investigate the physiological role of MCA, we generated MCA-disrupted mutant mice; homozygous MCA mutant males were infertile, but females were not. Sperm was rarely observed in the caput epididymidis of MCA mutant males. However, little to no difference was seen in testis mass between wild-type and mutant mice. During sperm morphogenesis, elongated spermatids had retarded flagellum formation and might increase phagocytosis by Sertoli cells. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that MCA interacts with proteins located on the outer dense fibers of the flagellum. The testicular sperm of MCA mutant mice was capable of fertilizing eggs successfully via intracytoplasmic sperm injection and generated healthy progeny. Our results suggest that MCA is essential for sperm flagellum formation and the production of functional sperm.
No preview · Article · Aug 2008 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Placental dysfunction underlies many complications during pregnancy, and better understanding of gene function during placentation could have considerable clinical relevance. However, the lack of a facile method for placenta-specific gene manipulation has hampered investigation of placental organogenesis and the treatment of placental dysfunction. We showed previously that transduction of fertilized mouse eggs with lentiviral vectors leads to transgene expression in both the fetus and the placenta. Here we report placenta-specific gene incorporation by lentiviral transduction of mouse blastocysts after removal of the zona pellucida. All of the placentas analyzed, but none of the fetuses, were transgenic. Application of this method substantially rescued mice deficient in Ets2, Mapk14 (also known as p38alpha) and Mapk1 (also known as Erk2) from embryonic lethality caused by placental defects. Ectopic expression of Mapk11 also complemented Mapk14 deficiency during placentation.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2007 · Nature Biotechnology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Representing the 60 trillion cells that build a human body, a sperm and an egg meet, recognize each other, and fuse to form a new generation of life. The factors involved in this important membrane fusion event, fertilization, have been sought for a long time. Recently, CD9 on the egg membrane was found to be essential for fusion, but sperm-related fusion factors remain unknown. Here, by using a fusion-inhibiting monoclonal antibody and gene cloning, we identify a mouse sperm fusion related antigen and show that the antigen is a novel immunoglobulin superfamily protein. We have termed the gene Izumo and produced a gene-disrupted mouse line. Izumo -/- mice were healthy but males were sterile. They produced normal-looking sperm that bound to and penetrated the zona pellucida but were incapable of fusing with eggs. Human sperm also contain Izumo and addition of the antibody against human Izumo left the sperm unable to fuse with zona-free hamster eggs.
No preview · Article · May 2006 · American Journal Of Reproductive Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian male preimplantation embryos develop more quickly than females . Using enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-tagged X chromosomes to identify the sex of the embryos, we compared gene expression patterns between male and female mouse blastocysts by DNA microarray. We detected nearly 600 genes with statistically significant sex-linked expression; most differed by 2-fold or less. Of 11 genes showing greater than 2.5-fold differences, four were expressed exclusively or nearly exclusively sex dependently. Two genes (Dby and Eif2s3y) were mapped to the Y chromosome and were expressed in male blastocysts. The remaining two (Rhox5/Pem and Xist) were mapped to the X chromosome and were predominantly expressed in female blastocysts. Moreover, Rhox5/Pem was expressed predominantly from the paternally inherited X chromosome, indicating sex differences in early epigenetic gene regulation.