Improved functional oocyte enucleation by actinomycin D for bovine somatic cell nuclear transfer

Marcelo T Moura, Jeferson Badaraco, Regivaldo V Sousa, Carolina M Lucci, Rodolfo Rumpf
Reproduction, Fertility, and Development 2019 April 16
Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) allows animal cloning but remains technically challenging. This study investigated limitations to functional oocyte enucleation by actinomycin D (AD) as a means of making SCNT easier to perform. Denuding oocytes or inhibiting transcription before AD treatment revealed that the toxicity of this compound during bovine oocyte maturation is mediated by cumulus cells. Exposure of denuded oocytes to higher concentrations of AD (5-20μgmL-1) and stepwise reductions of the incubation period (from 14.0 to 0.25h) led to complete inhibition of parthenogenetic development. Bovine SCNT using this improved AD enucleation protocol (NT(AD)) restored cleavage rates compared with rates in the parthenogenetic and SCNT controls (P(CTL) and NT(CTL) respectively). However, NT(AD) was associated with increased caspase-3 activity in cleavage stage embryos and did not recover blastocyst rates. The removal of AD-treated oocyte spindle before reconstruction (NT(AD+SR)) improved embryo development and reduced caspase-3 activity to levels similar to those in the P(CTL) and NT(CTL) groups. Furthermore, mid-term pregnancies were achieved using NT(AD+SR) blastocysts. In conclusion, improvements in AD functional enucleation for bovine SCNT circumvents most cellular roadblocks to early embryonic development and future investigations must focus on restoring blastocyst formation.

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