Horse ooplasm supports in vitro preimplantation development of zebra ICSI and SCNT embryos without compromising YAP1 and SOX2 expression pattern

Andrés Gambini, Matteo Duque Rodríguez, María Belén Rodríguez, Olinda Briski, Ana P Flores Bragulat, Natalia Demergassi, Luis Losinno, Daniel F Salamone
PloS One 2020, 15 (9): e0238948
Several equids have gone extinct and many extant equids are currently considered vulnerable to critically endangered. This work aimed to evaluate whether domestic horse oocytes support preimplantation development of zebra embryos obtained by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI, zebroid) and cloning, and to study the Hippo signaling pathway during the lineage specification of trophectoderm cells and inner cell mass cells. We first showed that zebra and horse sperm cells induce porcine oocyte activation and recruit maternal SMARCA4 during pronuclear formation. SMARCA4 recruitment showed to be independent of the genetic background of the injected sperm. No differences were found in blastocyst rate of ICSI hybrid (zebra spermatozoon into horse egg) embryos relative to the homospecific horse control group. Interestingly, zebra cloned blastocyst rate was significantly higher at day 8. Moreover, most ICSI and cloned horse and zebra blastocysts showed a similar expression pattern of SOX2 and nuclear YAP1 with the majority of the nuclei positive for YAP1, and most SOX2+ nuclei negative for YAP1. Here we demonstrated that horse oocytes support zebra preimplantation development of both, ICSI and cloned embryos, without compromising development to blastocyst, blastocyst cell number neither the expression of SOX2 and YAP1. Our results support the use of domestic horse oocytes as a model to study in vitro zebra embryos on behalf of preservation of valuable genetic.

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