Project description:Early menopause and infertility often occur in female cancer patients after chemotherapy (CTx). For these patients, oocyte/embryo cryopreservation or ovarian tissue cryopreservation is the current modality for fertility preservation. However, the above methods are limited in the long-term protection of ovarian function, especially for fertility preservation (very few females with cancer have achieved pregnancy with cryopreserved ovarian tissue or eggs until now). In addition, the above methods are subject to their scope (females with no husband or prepubertal females with no mature oocytes). Thus, many females who suffer from cancers would not adopt the above methods pre- and post-CTx due to their uncertainty, safety and cost-effectiveness. Therefore, millions of women have achieved long-term survival after thorough CTx treatment and have desired to rescue their ovarian function and fertility with economic, durable and reliable methods. Recently, some studies showed that mice with infertility caused by CTx can produce normal offspring through intraovarian injection of exogenous female germline stem cells (FGSCs). Though exogenous FGSC can be derived from mice without immune rejection in the same strain, it is difficult to obtain human female germline stem cells (hFGSCs), and immune rejection could occur between different individuals. In this study, infertility in mice was caused by CTx, and the ability of FGSCs to restore ovarian function or even produce offspring was assessed. We had successfully isolated and purified the FGSCs from adult female mice two weeks after CTx. After infection with GFP-carrying virus, the FGSCs were transplanted into ovaries of mice with infertility caused by CTx. Finally, ovarian function was restored and the recipients produced offspring long-term. These findings showed that mice with CTx possessed FGSCs, restoring ovarian function and avoiding immune rejection from exogenous germline stem cells.
Project description:Drosophila ovarian germ cells require Sex-lethal (Sxl) to exit from the stem cell state and to enter the differentiation pathway. Sxl encodes a female-specific RNA binding protein and in somatic cells serves as the developmental switch gene for somatic sex determination and X-chromosome dosage compensation. None of the known Sxl target genes are required for germline differentiation, leaving open the question of how Sxl promotes the transition from stem cell to committed daughter cell. We address the mechanism by which Sxl regulates this transition through the identification of nanos as one of its target genes. Previous studies have shown that Nanos protein is necessary for GSC self-renewal and is rapidly down-regulated in the daughter cells fated to differentiate in the adult ovary. We find that this dynamic expression pattern is limited to female germ cells and is under Sxl control. In the absence of Sxl, or in male germ cells, Nanos protein is continuously expressed. Furthermore, this female-specific expression pattern is dependent on the presence of canonical Sxl binding sites located in the nanos 3' untranslated region. These results, combined with the observation that nanos RNA associates with the Sxl protein in ovarian extracts and loss and gain of function studies, suggest that Sxl enables the switch from germline stem cell to committed daughter cell by posttranscriptional down-regulation of nanos expression. These findings connect sexual identity to the stem cell self-renewal/differentiation decision and highlight the importance of posttranscriptional gene regulatory networks in controlling stem cell behavior.
Project description:Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are the most common sexually transmitted infectious agents. Because of the species specificity of HPVs, study of their natural transmission in laboratory animals is not possible. The papillomavirus, MmuPV1, which infects laboratory mice (Mus musculus), can cause infections in the female cervicovaginal epithelium of immunocompetent mice that progress to cancer. Here, we provide evidence that MmuPV1 is sexually transmitted in unmanipulated, immunocompetent male and female mice. Female 'donor' mice experimentally infected with MmuPV1 in their lower reproductive tract were housed with unmanipulated male mice. The male mice were then transferred to cages holding 'recipient' female mice. One third of the female recipient mice acquired cervicovaginal infections. Prolonged infections were verified by histopathology and in situ hybridization analyses of both male and recipient female mice at the study endpoint. These findings indicate that MmuPV1 is a new model animal papillomavirus with which to study sexually transmission of papillomaviruses.
Project description:Human endometrial mesenchymal stem cells (EnSCs) derived from menstrual blood have mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) characteristics and can differentiate into cell types that arise from all three germ layers. We hypothesized that EnSCs may offer promise for restoration of ovarian dysfunction associated with premature ovarian failure/insufficiency (POF/POI).Mouse ovaries were injured with busulfan and cyclophosphamide (B/C) to create a damaged ovary mouse model. Transplanted EnSCs were injected into the tail vein of sterilized mice (Chemoablated with EnSCs group; n?=?80), or culture medium was injected into the sterilized mice via the tail vein as chemoablated group (n?=?80). Non-sterilized mice were untreated controls (n?=?80). Overall ovarian function was measured using vaginal smears, live imaging, mating trials and immunohistochemical techniques.EnSCs transplantation increased body weight and improved estrous cyclicity as well as restored fertility in sterilized mice. Migration and localization of GFP-labeled EnSCs as measured by live imaging and immunofluorescent methods indicated that GFP-labeled cells were undetectable 48 h after cell transplantation, but were later detected in and localized to the ovarian stroma. 5'-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) and mouse vasa homologue (MVH) protein double-positive cells were immunohistochemically detected in mouse ovaries, and EnSC transplantation reduced depletion of the germline stem cell (GSCs) pool induced by chemotherapy.EnSCs derived from menstrual blood, as autologous stem cells, may restore damaged ovarian function and offer a suitable clinical strategy for regenerative medicine.
Project description:Germline stem cells are essential in the generation of both male and female gametes. In mammals, the male testis produces sperm throughout the entire lifetime, facilitated by testicular germline stem cells. Oocyte renewal ceases in postnatal or adult life in mammalian females, suggesting that germline stem cells are absent from the mammalian ovary. However, studies in mice, rats, and humans have recently provided evidence for ovarian female germline stem cells (FGSCs). A better understanding of the role of FGSCs in ovaries could help improve fertility treatments. Here, we developed a rapid and efficient method for isolating FGSCs from ovaries of neonatal mice. Notably, our FGSC isolation method could efficiently isolate on average 15 cell "strings" per ovary from mice at 1-3 days postpartum. FGSCs isolated from neonatal mice displayed the string-forming cell configuration at mitosis (<i>i.e.</i> a "stringing" FGSC (sFGSC) phenotype) and a disperse phenotype in postnatal mice. We also found that sFGSCs undergo vigorous mitosis especially at 1-3 days postpartum. After cell division, the sFGSC membranes tended to be connected to form sFGSCs. Moreover, F-actin filaments exhibited a cell-cortex distribution in sFGSCs, and E-cadherin converged in cell-cell connection regions, resulting in the string-forming morphology. Our new method provides a platform for isolating FGSCs from the neonatal ovary, and our findings indicate that FGCSs exhibit string-forming features in neonatal mice. The sFGSCs represent a valuable resource for analysis of ovary function and an <i>in vitro</i> model for future clinical use to address ovarian dysfunction.
Project description:House mice (Mus musculus) emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs), which are surprisingly complex and have features of bird song, but their functions are not well understood. Previous studies have reported mixed evidence on whether there are sex differences in USV emission, though vocalization rate or other features may depend upon whether potential receivers are of the same or opposite sex. We recorded the USVs of wild-derived adult house mice (F1 of wild-caught Mus musculus musculus), and we compared the vocalizations of males and females in response to a stimulus mouse of the same- or opposite-sex. To detect and quantify vocalizations, we used an algorithm that automatically detects USVs (Automatic Mouse Ultrasound Detector or A-MUD). We found high individual variation in USV emission rates (4 to 2083 elements/10 min trial) and a skewed distribution, with most mice (60%) emitting few (?50) elements. We found no differences in the rates of calling between the sexes overall, but mice of both sexes emitted vocalizations at a higher rate and higher frequencies during opposite- compared to same-sex interactions. We also observed a trend toward higher amplitudes by males when presented with a male compared to a female stimulus. Our results suggest that mice modulate the rate and frequency of vocalizations depending upon the sex of potential receivers.
Project description:Mammalian tears are produced by lacrimal glands to protect eyes and may function in chemical communication and immunity. Recent studies on the house mouse chemical signalling revealed that major urinary proteins (MUPs) are not individually unique in Mus musculus musculus. This fact stimulated us to look for other sexually dimorphic proteins that may-in combination with MUPs-contribute to a pool of chemical signals in tears. MUPs and other lipocalins including odorant binding proteins (OBPs) have the capacity to selectively transport volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in their eight-stranded beta barrel, thus we have generated the tear proteome of the house mouse to detect a wider pool of proteins that may be involved in chemical signalling. We have detected significant male-biased (7.8%) and female-biased (7%) proteins in tears. Those proteins that showed the most elevated sexual dimorphisms were highly expressed and belong to MUP, OBP, ESP (i.e., exocrine gland-secreted peptides), and SCGB/ABP (i.e., secretoglobin) families. Thus, tears may have the potential to elicit sex-specific signals in combination by different proteins. Some tear lipocalins are not sexually dimorphic-with MUP20/darcin and OBP6 being good examples-and because all proteins may flow with tears through nasolacrimal ducts to nasal and oral cavities we suggest that their roles are wider than originally thought. Also, we have also detected several sexually dimorphic bactericidal proteins, thus further supporting an idea that males and females may have adopted alternative strategies in controlling microbiota thus yielding different VOC profiles.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons make up a large fraction of the typical mammalian genome. They comprise about 8% of the human genome and approximately 10% of the mouse genome. On account of their abundance, LTR retrotransposons are believed to hold major significance for genome structure and function. Recent advances in genome sequencing of a variety of model organisms has provided an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate better the diversity of LTR retrotransposons resident in eukaryotic genomes. RESULTS: Using a new data-mining program, LTR_STRUC, in conjunction with conventional techniques, we have mined the GenBank mouse (Mus musculus) database and the more complete Ensembl mouse dataset for LTR retrotransposons. We report here that the M. musculus genome contains at least 21 separate families of LTR retrotransposons; 13 of these families are described here for the first time. CONCLUSIONS: All families of mouse LTR retrotransposons are members of the gypsy-like superfamily of retroviral-like elements. Several different families of unrelated non-autonomous elements were identified, suggesting that the evolution of non-autonomy may be a common event. High sequence similarity between several LTR retrotransposons identified in this study and those found in distantly-related species suggests that horizontal transfer has been a significant factor in the evolution of mouse LTR retrotransposons.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Follicle depletion is one of the causes of premature ovarian failure (POF) and primary ovarian insufficiency (POI). Hence, maintenance of a certain number of female germline stem cells (FGSCs) is optimal to produce oocytes and replenish the primordial follicle pool. The mechanism that regulates proliferation or stemness of FGSCs could contribute to restoring ovarian function, but it remains uncharacterized in postnatal mammalian ovaries. This study aims to investigate the mechanism by which inhibiting the activity of the hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway regulates follicle development and FGSC proliferation. METHODS AND RESULTS:To understand the role of the Hh pathway in ovarian aging, we measured Hh signaling activity at different reproductive ages and the correlation between them in physiological and pathological mice. Furthermore, we evaluated the follicle number and development and the changes in FGSC proliferation or stemness after blocking the Hh pathway in vitro and in vivo. In addition, we aimed to explain one of the mechanisms for the FGSC phenotype changes induced by treatment with the Hh pathway-specific inhibitor GANT61 via oxidative stress and apoptosis. The results show that the activity of Hh signaling is decreased in the ovaries in physiological aging and POF models, which is consistent with the trend of expression levels of the germline stem cell markers Mvh and Oct4. In vitro, blocking the Hh pathway causes follicular developmental disorders and depletes ovarian germ cells and FGSCs after treating ovaries with GANT61. The proliferation or stemness of cultured primary FGSCs is reduced when Hh activity is blocked. Our results show that the antioxidative enzyme level and the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax decrease, the expression level of caspase 3 increases, the mitochondrial membrane potential is abnormal, and ROS accumulate in this system. CONCLUSIONS:We observed that the inhibition of the Hh signaling pathway with GANT61 could reduce primordial follicle number and decrease FGSC reproductive capacity or stemness through oxidative damage and apoptosis.
Project description:Progressive loss of ovarian estrogen (E2) production is a hallmark feature of, if not a driving force behind, reproductive aging and the menopause. Recent genetic studies in mice have shown that female germline or oogonial stem cells (OSCs) contribute to maintenance of adult ovarian function and fertility under physiological conditions through support of de-novo oogenesis. Here we show that mouse OSCs express E2 receptor-? (ER?). In the presence of E2, ER? interacts with the stimulated by retinoic acid gene 8 (Stra8) promoter to drive Stra8 expression followed by oogenesis. Treatment of mice with E2 in vivo increases Stra8 expression and oogenesis, and these effects are nullified by ER? (Esr1), but not ER? (Esr2), gene disruption. Although mice lacking ER? are born with a normal quota of oocytes, ER?-deficient females develop premature ovarian insufficiency in adulthood due to impaired oogenesis. Lastly, mice treated with reversible ER antagonists show a loss of Stra8 expression and oocyte numbers; however, both endpoints rebound to control levels after ceasing drug treatment. These findings establish a key physiological role for E2-ER? signaling in promoting OSC differentiation as a potential mechanism to maintain adequate numbers of ovarian follicles during reproductive life.