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1.  In vitro exposure of bovine morulae to Ureaplasma diversum. 
Ureaplasma diversum has been associated with infertility in the cow experimentally and in naturally occurring cases. However, the pathogenic mechanism is undetermined. The purpose of this study was to determine whether ureaplasmas are pathogenic for bovine morulae in vitro. Twenty-one morulae were recovered from three superovulated, mature, Holstein cows six or seven days postestrus. The embryos were divided into three groups (A,B,C) and incubated for 16 hours at 37 degrees C in humidified air with 10% CO2. Group A was incubated in embryo culture medium alone, Group B was incubated in culture medium with sterile ureaplasma broth added and Group C was incubated in culture medium containing 1.7 X 10(6) colony forming units Ureaplasma diversum strain 2312. After incubation, the morulae were examined using an electron microscope. Structures morphologically identical to U. diversum were present on the outer surface of the zonae pellucidae of all the morulae exposed to the organism and none were present on the unexposed control embryos. No other morphological differences were observed in either the ureaplasma-exposed embryos or the two groups of control embryos. Ureaplasma diversum was isolated from three of the five embryos incubated in culture medium with sterile ureaplasma broth added. These three embryos were recovered from one donor cow which cultured positive for U. diversum from the vulva and flush fluid. This finding suggests that the contaminating organisms entered the embryo culture wells either in the embryo collection medium or attached to the embryos.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
PMCID: PMC1255303  PMID: 3607652
2.  Ureaplasma diversum infection in vitro alters prostaglandin E2 and prostaglandin F2a production by bovine endometrial cells without affecting cell viability. 
Infection and Immunity  1994;62(5):1528-1533.
Bovine epithelial and stromal cells of the endometrium were inoculated with Ureaplasma diversum, pathogenic strain 2312, at 10(6) or 10(3) color-changing units (ccu)/ml in the presence of 1% fetal bovine serum (depleted of steroids by dextran-charcoal treatment) to assess the effect of infection on prostaglandin biosynthesis. When the inoculum of U. diversum was 10(6) ccu/ml, the concentration of U. diversum in the culture medium decreased with time. U. diversum was found on the epithelial and stromal cell monolayers, increasing in titer 100-fold, indicating that attachment and eventually growth occurred. When the inoculum was 10(3) ccu/ml, the titer of U. diversum remained the same or increased in the supernatant and increased on epithelial and stromal cells. The effect of infection was evaluated by measurement of the primary prostaglandin produced by each cell type, prostaglandin F2a for epithelial cells and prostaglandin E2 for stromal cells. Infection with U. diversum significantly decreased prostaglandin F2a accumulation, by 44.7% +/- 6.0% at 10(6) ccu/ml (P < or = 0.005) and 15.8% +/- 5.3% at 10(3) ccu/ml (P < or = 0.05) in epithelial cells. Prostaglandin E2 accumulation by stromal cells was decreased by 34.0% +/- 4.0% at 10(6) ccu/ml (P < or = 0.001) and by 13.5% +/- 2.7% at 10(3) ccu/ml (P < or = 0.005). Infection with 10(6) ccu/ml did not alter endometrial cell viability, as shown by protein measurement, trypan blue dye exclusion, and cell plating efficiency tests. Thus, alterations in prostaglandin production were not due to cell deterioration. These observations suggest that U. diversum can alter prostaglandin E2 and prostaglandin F2a patterns in primary cultures of bovine endometrial cells without affecting cell viability.
PMCID: PMC186347  PMID: 8168914
3.  Ureaplasma infection of cell cultures. 
Infection and Immunity  1986;52(2):437-444.
Studies were performed to characterize the effects of ureaplasmas in HeLa, 3T6, and CV-1 cell cultures. The ureaplasmas studied were human Ureaplasma urealyticum T960 (serotype VIII), bovine U. diversum T95, simian strain T167-2, ovine strain 1202, canine strain D1M-C, and feline strains 382 and FT2-B. FT2-B was the only ureaplasma to grow in the cell free culture medium, Dulbecco modified Eagle-Earle medium containing 10% fetal bovine serum. The growth pattern of the ureaplasmas varied in the different cell cultures, but each strain grew in at least two of the cell cultures, suggesting a requirement for a product of the cell culture and for low concentrations of urea. When growth occurred, organisms grew to concentrations that approached, but did not equal, those observed in 10B broth. Most, but not all, ureaplasmas grew quickly, reaching peak titers 2 days after infection. Canine strain D1M-C did not grow in 3T6, but showed rapid growth in HeLa and CV-1 cells, killing both cultures, In some systems, e.g., U. urealyticum T960 and simian strain T167-2, the infection persisted, and ureaplasmas could be recovered from cell cultures four passages after infection, when studies were terminated. The cell culture ureaplasmas grew on T agar, but not on mycoplasma agar medium.
PMCID: PMC261018  PMID: 3699891
4.  Effects of Ureaplasma diversum on bovine oviductal explants: quantitative measurement using a calmodulin assay. 
Calmodulin (CAM) acts as an intracellular regulator of calcium, an important mediator of many cell processes. We used the CAM assay and electron microscopy to investigate the effects of Ureaplasma diversum on bovine oviductal explants obtained aseptically from slaughtered cows. A stock suspension of U. diversum (treated specimens) and sterile broth (controls) was added to replicates of cultured explants and incubated at 38 degrees C in an atmosphere of 5.5% CO2 for 48 hours. Explants were examined for ciliary activity, extracellular CAM loss, and for histological and ultrastructural changes. Explants and their culture media were examined for changes in CAM concentration. All experiments were replicated three times. In addition, U. diversum, medium and broth were assayed for CAM content. The concentrations of CAM in explants and media changed significantly (p < 0.05) in samples which were inoculated with U. diversum when compared to controls. The controls and infected specimens did not differ histologically or ultrastructurally, but U. diversum was seen to be closely associated with infected explant tissue. In view of this close affinity it is assumed the loss of CAM from the oviductal cells was causally related, but this was not proven. The failure to show cell membrane injury on light and electron microscopic examination was probably related to the short duration of the experiment and may only point out the sensitivity of the CAM assay in detecting early cell membrane injury. Compromise in characteristics of the medium to support both, the viability of oviductal cells and U. diversum limited the experimental time to 48 hours.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
PMCID: PMC1263676  PMID: 8004536
5.  A comparison of the effects of different degrees of zona pellucida damage followed by cryopreservation on the postthaw development of mouse embryos 
Purpose:The totally intact zona pellucida is not essential for the development of embryos. It is still unclear how much effect the degree of damages to the zona pellucida will have on the developmental potential of postthaw embryos after cryopreservation. We compared the developmental potential of cryopreserved mouse embryos after induction of two degrees of mechanical damage to the zonae pellucidae by micromanipulation.
Methods:In experiment I, the development of 124 cryopreserved ICR mouse embryos to the blastocyst stage after zona pellucida penetration of two-cell embryos as in the procedures of subzonal sperm insertion (SUZI) was compared with the development of zona-intact cryopreserved embryos. In experiment II, the zonae pellucidae of 93 two-cell mouse embryos were dissected as in the procedures of partial zonal dissection (PZD), following which the embryos were frozen. This postthaw development was also compared with that of zona-intact two-cell cryopreserved embryos. All the embryos were thawed and cultured to the blastocyst stage. Additional controls were provided by culturing zonaintact and zona-penetrated or zona-dissected embryos without cryopreservation.
Results:The development of unfrozen mouse embryos was not affected by either zona penetration (P=0.433) or zona dissection (P=0.659). The developmental potential of cryopreserved mouse embryos was significantly affected after zona dissection (blastocyst rate, 31% ZD vs 72%, control; P<0.001) but not after zona penetration (blastocyst rate, 59% ZP vs 64% control; P=0.441).
Conclusions:The quality of cryopreserved embryos was affected by a large hole on the zona pellucida created by zona dissection but not by simple zona penetration.
PMCID: PMC3454669  PMID: 9090561
cryopreservation; micromanipulation; zona pellucida
6.  Application of a zona pellucida binding assay (ZBA) in the domestic cat benefits from the use of in vitro matured oocytes 
Zona pellucida binding assays (ZBAs) have proven useful in determining the fertilising ability of spermatozoa in several species. Most ZBAs use fresh or salt-stored oocytes collected from fresh ovaries but because ovaries are not easy to obtain on a regular basis, chilled and frozen-thawed ovaries have been tested, with varying results. The present study tested the hypothesis that cat spermatozoa, either fresh or frozen-thawed, can bind to homologous zona pellucida of oocytes retrieved from frozen-thawed queen ovaries to a similar extent as they can bind to the zona pellucida of fresh, in vitro matured oocytes.
Ovaries were collected from queens after routine ovario-hysterectomy and either stored in NaCl at -20°C until use (treatment animals), or used fresh (controls). Cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) were retrieved by ovarian slicing from either source and used directly (immature oocytes from frozen-thawed ovaries; treatment animals) or after in vitro maturation (IVM) (fresh ovaries; controls) for 24 hours in TCM 199, supplemented with 1 IU hCG/mL and 0.5 IU eCG/mL and 0.5% bovine serum albumin (BSA). The oocytes were incubated for 4 hours in 5% CO2 in air at 38°C and 100% humidity in the presence of 5 × 106 fresh or frozen-thawed spermatozoa/mL. Representative samples of oocytes were processed for scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
Both fresh and frozen-thawed spermatozoa bound to the in vitro matured zona pellucida but significantly fewer, or no, spermatozoa bound to frozen-thawed, immature zona pellucida (P < 0.001). Also, more fresh spermatozoa than frozen-thawed spermatozoa bound to the zona pellucida (P < 0.001). The zona pellucida surface differed in morphology (SEM), with in vitro matured oocytes showing a dense surface with few fenestrations in contrast to their frozen-thawed, immature counterparts, where fenestrations were conspicuously larger.
In conclusion, under the conditions of the present study, immature oocytes recovered from ovaries frozen immersed in NaCl at -20°C are less suitable for use in feline ZBA.
PMCID: PMC2092430  PMID: 17908298
7.  Isolation of Ureaplasma diversum and mycoplasmas from genital tracts of beef and dairy cattle in Saskatchewan 
We report herein a survey in which cultures of bovine reproductive tracts for Ureaplasma diversum and mycoplasmas were carried out in order to better understand the role of these organisms in granular vulvitis (GV). Samples cultured were vulvar swabs from clinically normal cows or ones with GV, preputial swabs or raw semen from bulls, and abomasal contents of aborted fetuses.
Ureaplasma diversum was isolated from 104 (43.3%) of 240 dairy cows, 32 (27.1%) of 118 beef cows, 43 (47.2%) of 91 beef heifers, 23 (67.6%) of 34 beef bulls, and three (60%) of five dairy bulls. Mycoplasmas were isolated from 18 (7.5%) dairy cows, two (1.6%) beef cows, three (8.8%) beef bulls, and one dairy bull. No isolation was made from 97 aborted fetuses. For 65 dairy cows and 30 beef heifers with vulvar lesions, the isolation rates for ureaplasmas of 62.5% and 69.7%, respectively, were significantly higher (X2) than those for normal animals (37.5% and 30.3%). On immunofluorescent serotyping of 137 of the 205 isolates, there were 66 in serogroup C (strain T44), 18 in serogroup B (strain D48), eight in serogroup A (strain A417 or strain 2312), 14 cross-reacting, and 31 that were not identified. It was concluded that U. diversum is commonly present in the lower reproductive tract of beef/dairy cattle in Saskatchewan and is associated with granular vulvitis.
PMCID: PMC1481172  PMID: 17423929
8.  Laser-assisted zona pellucida thinning does not facilitate hatching and may disrupt the in vitro hatching process: a morphokinetic study in the mouse 
Human Reproduction (Oxford, England)  2014;29(12):2670-2679.
Does laser-assisted zona thinning of cleavage stage mouse embryos facilitate hatching in vitro?
No, unlike laser zona opening, zona thinning does not facilitate embryo hatching.
Artificial opening of the zona pellucida facilitates hatching of mouse and human embryos. Laser-assisted zona thinning has also been used for the purpose of assisted hatching of human embryos but it has not been properly investigated in an animal model; thinning methods have produced inconsistent clinical results.
Time-lapse microscopy was used to study the hatching process in the mouse after zona opening and zona thinning; a control group of embryos was not zona-manipulated but exposed to the same laser energy.
Eight-cell CB6F1/J mouse embryos were pooled and allocated to three groups (n = 56 per group): A control group of embryos that were exposed to a dose of laser energy focused outside the zona pellucida (zona intact); one experimental group of embryos in which the zona pellucida was opened by complete ablation using the same total number of pulses as the control group; a second experimental group of embryos in which the zona pellucida was thinned to establish a smooth lased area using the same number of pulses as used in the other two groups. The width of the zona opening was 25 μm and width of the thinned area was 35 μm. Development was monitored by time-lapse microscopy. Overall treatment differences for continuous variables were analyzed by analysis of variance and pairwise comparisons using the Student t-test allowing for unequal variances, while for categorical data, a standard chi-squared test was utilized for all pairwise comparisons.
The frequency of complete hatching was 33.9% in the control group, 94.4% after zona opening, and 39.3% after zona thinning (overall group comparison, P < 0.0001). Overall, 60.7% of the zona-thinned embryos did not complete the hatching process and remained trapped within the zona; when they did hatch, they did not necessarily hatch from the zona-thinned area. Hatching in about one-third of the zona-intact embryos began with breaches at multiple sites by small groups of cells. Likewise, 53.6% of zona-thinned embryos had multiple breaches, always involving an area outside the thinned zone. Zona opening decreased multiple breaching and led to blastocyst escape an average of 14 h earlier than zona-thinned embryos and 5.5 h before control embryos (P = 0.0003).
The experiments presented here were limited to in vitro experiments performed in the mouse. Whether human embryos would behave the same way under similar circumstances is unknown. We postulate that zona thinning is not beneficial in human embryos.
The experiments demonstrate that zona thinning is not equivalent to zona opening for assisted hatching. The study provides reason for systematic reviews of assisted hatching trials to take the method of assisted hatching into consideration and not combine the results of zona thinning and zona opening procedures.
Institutional funds were used for the study. No competing interests are declared.
PMCID: PMC4227580  PMID: 25267786
alternate hatching; assisted hatching; multiple breaching; zona pellucida opening
9.  Immune response of heifers to vaginal submucosal or subcutaneous vaccination and intravaginal challenge with Ureaplasma diversum. 
Twenty beef heifers were randomly assigned to five equal groups and vaccinated: Group 1--in vaginal submucosa (VM) with Ureaplasma diversum ultrasonicated whole cells (WC) in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA); Group 2--in VM with U. diversum cell membranes (CM) in CFA; Group 3--subcutaneously (SC) with CM in CFA; Group 4--in VM with CM alone; and Group 5--in VM with phosphate buffered saline (PBS) in CFA. A second vaccination with the same antigens in incomplete Freund's adjuvant was given after four weeks, and three weeks later, all heifers were challenged intravaginally with 3.6 x 10(7) colony-forming units (CFU) of U. diversum strain 2312. Immunoglobulins that reacted with U. diversum were measured in serum and cervicovaginal mucus (CVM) by an enzyme-linked-immunosorbent assay. In groups 1 and 2, vaccination by the VM route with WC or CM antigens, stimulated high levels of U. diversum-reactive IgG1 and IgG2 antibodies in serum as well as CVM, but a low IgA response only in CVM. In group 4, VM vaccination with CM (no adjuvant) elicited a minimal IgG1 and IgG2 response in serum and CVM. In group 3, SC vaccination with CM antigen stimulated high IgG1 and IgG2 reactivity in both serum and CVM, but no IgA reactivity. Very little IgM reactivity was detected in the four vaccinated groups. Intravaginal challenge resulted in characteristic granular vulvitis in all vaccinated and control heifers, with all animals remaining culture-positive for the 35 day observation period. The infection stimulated a marked increase in the specific IgA response in CVM of the three groups vaccinated with either, adjuvanted antigen.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
PMCID: PMC1263675  PMID: 8004535
10.  The effect of intrauterine inoculation with Ureaplasma diversum on bovine fertility. 
To determine the influence of Ureaplasma diversum on bovine fertility 11 uninfected virgin heifers with normal ovarian cyclic activity were randomly allocated to test or control groups. At a synchronized estrus, five test heifers were given an intrauterine broth inoculum containing 1.09 x 10(8) to 1.4 x 10(9) colony forming units of U. diversum and six control animals were infused with sterile ureaplasma broth medium. All animals were artificially inseminated within one hour of infusion. Pregnancy was diagnosed in one of five test heifers and all of six controls by serum progesterone concentrations measured to 25 days postinsemination. The difference in pregnancy rates between the two groups was statistically significant (p = 0.0152). It was concluded that under the conditions of this experiment U. diversum is capable of causing infertility in cattle.
PMCID: PMC1255361  PMID: 3453263
11.  Invasion of Ureaplasma diversum in Hep-2 cells 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:83.
Understanding mollicutes is challenging due to their variety and relationship with host cells. Invasion has explained issues related to their opportunistic role. Few studies have been done on the Ureaplasma diversum mollicute, which is detected in healthy or diseased bovine. The invasion in Hep-2 cells of four clinical isolates and two reference strains of their ureaplasma was studied by Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy and gentamicin invasion assay.
The isolates and strains used were detected inside the cells after infection of one minute without difference in the arrangement for adhesion and invasion. The adhesion was scattered throughout the cells, and after three hours, the invasion of the ureaplasmas surrounded the nuclear region but were not observed inside the nuclei. The gentamicin invasion assay detected that 1% of the ATCC strains were inside the infected Hep-2 cells in contrast to 10% to the clinical isolates. A high level of phospholipase C activity was also detected in all studied ureaplasma.
The results presented herein will help better understand U. diversum infections, aswell as cellular attachment and virulence.
PMCID: PMC2907839  PMID: 20236540
12.  Adherence of bovine viral diarrhea virus to bovine oocytes and embryos with a hardened zona pellucida cultured in vitro 
The purpose of this study was to investigate the adherence of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) to bovine mature, or immature, cumulus-free oocytes and to in vitro fertilized embryos, maintained in vitro in a ligated bovine oviduct to allow for the hardening of the zona pellucida. Incubation of the oocytes and embryos in the oviduct for 5 h caused hardening of the zona pellucida as measured by resistance to pronase digestion (which increased from approximately 3 min to 7 h; P >0.001). However, there was no difference between the number of infected oocytes and embryos (n = 965 in 193 samples) following experimental exposure to BVDV regardless of whether or not they were previously incubated in the oviduct (P > 0.05). It was concluded that the modification of the proteolytic resistance properties of the zona pellucida during in vitro oviductal incubation did not influence the adherence of BVDV to zona pellucida of oocytes or in vitro fertilized embryos.
PMCID: PMC227026  PMID: 12528828
13.  Survey of immunoglobulin A protease activity among selected species of Ureaplasma and Mycoplasma: specificity for host immunoglobulin A. 
Infection and Immunity  1985;47(3):704-709.
Because immunoglobulin A (IgA) is the predominant immunoglobulin at mucosal surfaces, IgA proteases produced by pathogenic bacteria are considered potential virulence factors for organisms that cause disease or gain entry at mucous membranes. To determine the role of IgA protease in the pathogenicity of mycoplasmal disease, a variety of human and animal mycoplasma and ureaplasma species were examined for IgA protease activity with human, murine, porcine, and canine IgA. None of the mycoplasma species examined showed detectable IgA protease activity with any of the IgAs tested. Twenty-eight strains of Ureaplasma urealyticum isolated from human urogenital tissues cleaved human IgA1, but no cleavage of human IgA2 or murine, porcine, or canine IgA was observed. Ureaplasmas isolated from nonhuman hosts (feline, canine, avian, and bovine [Ureaplasma diversum]) did not cleave human IgA1. Two strains of canine ureaplasmas were able to cleave canine IgA, but not murine IgA. Thus, ureaplasmas from other species can produce IgA protease, but the specificity of the enzyme was restricted to the IgA of the appropriate host. This finding suggests that IgA proteases could play a role in the selective host specificity of mucosal pathogens.
PMCID: PMC261363  PMID: 3882564
14.  Humoral and secretory antibodies to Ureaplasma diversum in heifers following subcutaneous vaccination and vaginal infection. 
We measured antibody levels in serum and cervicovaginal mucus (CVM) of four heifers vaccinated with two inoculations of killed Ureaplasma diversum strain 2312 in incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA) two weeks apart, and six heifers given a placebo. Two weeks later, the vaccinates and four placebo heifers, were challenged by intravaginal inoculation with 6.4 x 10(8) colony-forming units of the homologous U. diversum strain. The remaining two placebo heifers served as unvaccinated, unchallenged controls. Antibody levels in serum and CVM of all heifers were determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Vaccination stimulated specific IgG1 and IgG2 responses in serum and CVM but only a slight IgM and no IgA response. In both vaccinate and placebo heifers, subsequent intravaginal challenge resulted in a granular vulvitis (GV) with a predominant IgA response in the CVM. The GV gradually subsided during the 35 day observation period but ureaplasmas were consistently demonstrated by culture. We concluded that subcutaneous vaccination stimulated a specific, albeit nonprotective, IgG response in serum and CVM. In contrast, vaginal infection primarily induced a mucosal IgA response.
PMCID: PMC1263674  PMID: 8004534
15.  Apoptosis in HEp-2 cells infected with Ureaplasma diversum 
Biological Research  2014;47(1):38.
Bacterial pathogens have many strategies for infecting and persisting in host cells. Adhesion, invasion and intracellular life are important features in the biology of mollicutes. The intracellular location of Ureaplasma diversum may trigger disturbances in the host cell. This includes activation or inhibition of pro and anti-apoptotic factors, which facilitate the development of host damage. The aim of the present study was to associate U. diversum infection in HEp-2 cells and apoptosis induction. Cells were infected for 72hs with four U. diversum clinical isolates and an ATCC strain. The U. diversum invasion was analyzed by Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy and gentamicin invasion assay. The apoptosis was evaluated using pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic gene expression, and FITC Annexin V/Dead Cell Apoptosis Kit.
The number of internalized ureaplasma in HEp-2 cells increased significantly throughout the infection. The flow cytometry analysis with fluorochromes to detect membrane depolarization and gene expression for caspase 2, 3 and 9 increased in infected cells after 24 hours. However, after 72 hours a considerable decrease of apoptotic cells was observed.
The data suggests that apoptosis may be initially induced by some isolates in association with HEp-2 cells, but over time, there was no evidence of apoptosis in the presence of ureaplasma and HEp-2 cells. The initial increase and then decrease in apoptosis could be related to bacterial pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMPS). Moreover, the isolates of U. diversum presented differences in the studied parameters for apoptosis. It was also observed that the amount of microorganisms was not proportional to the induction of apoptosis in HEp-2 cells.
PMCID: PMC4167145  PMID: 25299837
Ureaplasma diversum; Invasion; Apoptosis; HEp-2 cells
16.  Rapid identification of mycoplasmas by indirect immunoperoxidase test using small square filter paper. 
The indirect immunoperoxidase test using small, square filter paper was used for rapid identification of mycoplasmas. Colonies of type strains of 22 mycoplasma species, 3 acholeplasma species, and three Ureaplasma diversum serogroups were stained by this test with high sensitivity and specificity. All of 49 isolates from bovine materials and cell cultures were easily identified by this test, and the results agreed with those obtained by growth inhibition test. Use of filter paper made it possible to add different kinds of antisera or conjugates to the same agar plate simultaneously and also to save antiserum and conjugate. This test proved to be a simple and useful technique for rapid identification of many mycoplasma species grown on agar medium.
PMCID: PMC265805  PMID: 3539989
17.  The involvement of beta-1,4-galactosyltransferase and N-acetylglucosamine residues in fertilization has been lost in the horse 
In human and rodents, sperm-zona pellucida binding is mediated by a sperm surface Galactosyltransferase that recognizes N-Acetylglucosamine residues on a glycoprotein ZPC. In large domestic mammals, the role of these molecules remains unclear: in bovine, they are involved in sperm-zona pellucida binding, whereas in porcine, they are not necessary. Our aim was to clarify the role of Galactosyltransferase and N-Acetylglucosamine residues in sperm-zona pellucida binding in ungulates. For this purpose, we analyzed the mechanism of sperm-zona pellucida interaction in a third ungulate: the horse, since the Galactosyltransferase and N-Acetylglucosamine residues have been localized on equine gametes.
We masked the Galactosyltransferase and N-Acetylglucosamine residues before the co-incubation of gametes. Galactosyltransferase was masked either with an anti-Galactosyltransferase antibody or with the enzyme substrate, UDP Galactose. N-Acetylglucosamine residues were masked either with a purified Galactosyltransferase or with an anti-ZPC antibody.
Results and discussion
The number of spermatozoa bound to the zona pellucida did not decrease after the masking of Galactosyltransferase or N-Acetylglucosamine. So, these two molecules may not be necessary in the mechanism of in vitro sperm-zona pellucida interaction in the horse.
The involvement of Galactosyltransferase and N-Acetylglucosamine residues in sperm-zona pellucida binding may have been lost during evolution in some ungulates, such as porcine and equine species.
PMCID: PMC2607279  PMID: 19014565
18.  Localization of parathyroid hormone-related protein in the preimplantation mouse embryo is associated with events of blastocyst hatching 
To determine the pattern of expression of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) and its receptor, parathyroid hormone receptor 1 (PTHR1), in mouse embryos in different stages of preimplantation development.
Embryos were cultured from the pronuclear zygote stage and harvested as 2-cell, 4-cell and 8-cell embryos, morulae and blastocysts. RT-PCR was carried out on mRNAs of these and of trophoblast outgrowths for detection of PTHrP and PTHR1. Whole mounted embryos intact or stripped of zonae pellucidae were immunofluorescently stained for PTHrP and PTH receptor and observed with confocal microscopy.
PTHrP mRNA was present in the pronuclear zygote, not present in 2-cell, 4-cell and uncompacted 8-cell embryos, present in the 8-cell compacting embryo, and not detected in 16-cell morulae or blastocysts. The mRNA was present in trophoblasts growing on fibronectin beds. mRNA for PTHR1 was detected in the pronuclear zygote, then undetected until the compacted 8-cell stage and thereafter. PTH receptor protein was observed in 2-cell embryos, morulae and in the inner cell mass and trophectoderm of blastocysts. PTHrP was observed dispersed in the cytoplasm of 2-cell, 4-cell and uncompacted 8-cell embryos, and in distinct foci near the nuclei of morulae. In blastocysts, PTHrP appeared on the apical surface of only trophoblast cells which had extruded from the zona pellucida. Fully hatched blastocysts expressed the protein on the apical side of all trophoblasts. When morulae were prematurely stripped of their zonae, PTHrP was observed on the embryos’ outer surface.
PTHrP protein is expressed throughout early embryo development, and its receptor PTHR1 is expressed from the morula stage. Embryo hatching is associated with translocation of PTHrP to the apical plasma membrane of trophoblasts. PTHrP may thus have autocrine effects on the developing blastocyst.
PMCID: PMC3790121  PMID: 24052330
Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP); Parathyroid hormone receptor (PTH receptor, PTHR1); Preimplantation embryo; Blastocyst hatching
19.  Ureaplasma urealyticum, Ureaplasma parvum, Mycoplasma hominis and Mycoplasma genitalium infections and semen quality of infertile men 
Genital ureaplasmas (Ureaplasma urealyticum and Ureaplasma parvum) and mycoplasmas (Mycoplasma genitalium and Mycoplasma hominis) are potentially pathogenic species playing an etiologic role in both genital infections and male infertility. Reports are, however, controversial regarding the effects of these microorganisms infections in the sperm seminological variables. This study aimed at determining the frequency of genital ureplasmas and mycoplasmas in semen specimens collected from infertile men, and at comparing the seminological variables of semen from infected and non-infected men with these microorganisms.
A total of 120 semen samples collected from infertile men were investigated. Semen specimens were examined by in-house PCR-microtiter plate hybridization assay for the presence of genital ureaplasmas and mycoplasmas DNA. Semen analysis was assessed according to the guidelines of the World Health Organization. Standard parametric techniques (t-tests) and nonparametric techniques (Wilcoxon tests) were used for statistical analysis.
The frequency of genital ureaplasmas and mycoplasmas detected in semen samples of infertile men was respectively 19.2% (23/120) and 15.8% (19/120). The frequency of Ureaplasma urealyticum (15%) was higher than that of Mycoplasma hominis (10.8%), Ureaplasma parvum (4.2%) and Mycoplasma genitalium (5%). Mixed species of mycoplasmas and ureaplasmas were detected in 6.7% of semen samples.
Comparison of the parameters of the standard semen analysis between the male partners of the infertile couples with and without genital ureaplasmas and mycoplasmas infection showed that the presence of Mycoplasma hominis DNA in semen samples is associated with low sperm concentration (p = 0.007) and abnormal sperm morphology (p = 0.03) and a negative correlation between sperm concentration and the detection of Mycoplasma genitalium in semen samples of infertile men (p = 0.05). The mean values of seminal volume, pH, vitality, motility and leukocyte count were not significantly related either to the detection of genital mycoplasmas DNA or to the detection of ureaplasmas DNA in semen specimens.
Our results demonstrate that genital mycoplasmas and ureaplasmas seem to be widespread among the male partners of infertile couples in Tunisia. Genital mycoplasmas infections of the male genital tract could negatively influence semen quality. Our results also indicate that PCR-microtiter plate hybridization assay method provides a rapid and effective technique to detect human genital mycoplasmas and ureaplasmas which is useful for etiological and epidemiological studies of these pathogens.
PMCID: PMC2194714  PMID: 17988404
20.  Human sperm bind to the N-terminal domain of ZP2 in humanized zonae pellucidae in transgenic mice 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2012;197(7):897-905.
Use of transgenic mouse eggs expressing human zona pellucida proteins identifies an N-terminal domain of ZP2 that is essential for human sperm–egg binding.
Fertilization requires taxon-specific gamete recognition, and human sperm do not bind to zonae pellucidae (ZP1–3) surrounding mouse eggs. Using transgenesis to replace endogenous mouse proteins with human homologues, gain-of-function sperm-binding assays were established to evaluate human gamete recognition. Human sperm bound only to zonae pellucidae containing human ZP2, either alone or coexpressed with other human zona proteins. Binding to the humanized matrix was a dominant effect that resulted in human sperm penetration of the zona pellucida and accumulation in the perivitelline space, where they were unable to fuse with mouse eggs. Using recombinant peptides, the site of gamete recognition was located to a defined domain in the N terminus of ZP2. These results provide experimental evidence for the role of ZP2 in mediating sperm binding to the zona pellucida and support a model in which human sperm–egg recognition is dependent on an N-terminal domain of ZP2, which is degraded after fertilization to provide a definitive block to polyspermy.
PMCID: PMC3384420  PMID: 22734000
21.  The Role of the Multiple Banded Antigen of Ureaplasma parvum in Intra-Amniotic Infection: Major Virulence Factor or Decoy? 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29856.
The multiple banded antigen (MBA) is a predicted virulence factor of Ureaplasma species. Antigenic variation of the MBA is a potential mechanism by which ureaplasmas avoid immune recognition and cause chronic infections of the upper genital tract of pregnant women. We tested whether the MBA is involved in the pathogenesis of intra-amniotic infection and chorioamnionitis by injecting virulent or avirulent-derived ureaplasma clones (expressing single MBA variants) into the amniotic fluid of pregnant sheep. At 55 days of gestation pregnant ewes (n = 20) received intra-amniotic injections of virulent-derived or avirulent-derived U. parvum serovar 6 strains (2×104 CFU), or 10B medium (n = 5). Amniotic fluid was collected every two weeks post-infection and fetal tissues were collected at the time of surgical delivery of the fetus (140 days of gestation). Whilst chronic colonisation was established in the amniotic fluid of animals infected with avirulent-derived and virulent-derived ureaplasmas, the severity of chorioamnionitis and fetal inflammation was not different between these groups (p>0.05). MBA size variants (32–170 kDa) were generated in vivo in amniotic fluid samples from both the avirulent and virulent groups, whereas in vitro antibody selection experiments led to the emergence of MBA-negative escape variants in both strains. Anti-ureaplasma IgG antibodies were detected in the maternal serum of animals from the avirulent (40%) and virulent (55%) groups, and these antibodies correlated with increased IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8 expression in chorioamnion tissue (p<0.05). We demonstrate that ureaplasmas are capable of MBA phase variation in vitro; however, ureaplasmas undergo MBA size variation in vivo, to potentially prevent eradication by the immune response. Size variation of the MBA did not correlate with the severity of chorioamnionitis. Nonetheless, the correlation between a maternal humoral response and the expression of chorioamnion cytokines is a novel finding. This host response may be important in the pathogenesis of inflammation-mediated adverse pregnancy outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3257234  PMID: 22253806
22.  Inhibition of ovine in vitro fertilization by anti-Prt antibody: hypothetical model for Prt/ZP interaction 
The impact of prion proteins in the rules that dictate biological reproduction is still poorly understood. Likewise, the role of prnt gene, encoding the prion-like protein testis specific (Prt), in ram reproductive physiology remains largely unknown. In this study, we assessed the effect of Prt in ovine fertilization by using an anti-Prt antibody (APPA) in fertilization medium incubated with spermatozoa and oocytes. Moreover, a computational model was constructed to infer how the results obtained could be related to a hypothetical role for Prt in sperm-zona pellucida (ZP) binding.
Mature ovine oocytes were transferred to fertilization medium alone (control) or supplemented with APPA, or pre-immune serum (CSerum). Oocytes were inseminated with ovine spermatozoa and after 18 h, presumptive zygotes (n = 142) were fixed to evaluate fertilization rates or transferred (n = 374) for embryo culture until D6-7. Predicted ovine Prt tertiary structure was compared with data obtained by circular dichroism spectroscopy (CD) and a protein-protein computational docking model was estimated for a hypothetical Prt/ZP interaction.
The fertilizing rate was lower (P = 0.006) in APPA group (46.0+/−6.79%) when compared to control (78.5+/−7.47%) and CSerum (64.5+/−6.65%) groups. In addition, the cleavage rate was higher (P < 0.0001) in control (44.1+/−4.15%) than in APPA group (19.7+/−4.22%). Prt CD spectroscopy showed a 22% alpha-helical structure in 30% (m/v) aqueous trifluoroethanol (TFE) and 17% alpha in 0.6% (m/v) TFE. The predominant alpha-helical secondary structure detected correlates with the predicted three dimensional structure for ovine Prt, which was subsequently used to test Prt/ZP docking. Computational analyses predicted a favorable Prt-binding activity towards ZP domains.
Our data indicates that the presence of APPA reduces the number of fertilized oocytes and of cleaved embryos. Moreover, the CD analysis data reinforces the predicted ovine Prt trend towards an alpha-helical structure. Predicted protein-protein docking suggests a possible interaction between Prt and ZP, thus supporting an important role for Prt in ovine fertilization.
PMCID: PMC3617107  PMID: 23531155
Prion proteins; Prt; Zona pellucida; Circular dichroism; Docking; Ovine; Reproduction
23.  Activation of murine macrophages and lymphocytes by Ureaplasma diversum. 
Ureaplasma diversum is a pathogen in the bovine reproductive tract. The objective of the research was to study interactions with macrophages and lymphocytes which might elucidate aspects of pathogenetic mechanisms of this organism. We studied the activation of murine macrophages of C3H/HeN (LPS-responder) and C3H/HeJ (LPS-low-responder) genotype for TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-1 and nitric oxide production and blastogenic response of C3H/HeJ splenocytes after Ureaplasma diversum stimulation. Live and heat-killed U. diversum induced TNF-alpha, IL-6 and IL-1 in peritoneal macrophage cultures of both C3H/HeN and C3H/HeJ mice in a dose dependent manner. Interferon-gamma modulated the cytokine production, by increasing the production of TNF-alpha, IL-6 and nitric oxide, but IL-1 secretion was only enhanced in C3H/HeJ macrophages stimulated by live ureaplasmas. Supernatant of U. diversum sonicate was mitogenic for murine spleen lymphocytes. The blastogenic response was dose dependent, and stimulation with both U. diversum and Concanavalin A seemed to have an additive effect. These results suggest that U. diversum, similar to other mycoplasmas, activates murine macrophages and lymphoid cells. The studies should be repeated with bovine cells in order to elucidate pathogenetic aspects of inflammation in cattle caused by U. diversum.
PMCID: PMC1263712  PMID: 7889459
24.  Mycoplasmas and bovine respiratory disease: studies related to pathogenicity and the immune response--a selective review. 
Three species of mycoplasma have been established as being of importance as causes of pneumonia in housed calves, based on pathogenicity studies and frequency of association with the disease. These three species are Mycoplasma bovis, M. dispar, and Ureaplasma diversum. M. bovis is the most pathogenic of these species but the disease outbreaks with which it is associated are sporadic. M. dispar is regularly isolated from pneumonic calves but is also found causing mild superficial and asymptomatic infections of the respiratory mucosa. The bovine ureaplasmas are serologically complex. They are distinct from ureaplasmas isolated from other non-ruminants by PAGE analysis, G + C content of DNA, and serology. A second species within the genus ureaplasma has been proposed to accommodate the bovine ureaplasmas, U. diversum. Control of mycoplasma respiratory infections of cattle based on immunization might be possible. Calves have been immunized against M. bovis and immunity has been related to antibody in the lung. M. dispar appears less immunogenic in calves than M. bovis and this may contribute to its pathogenicity.
PMCID: PMC2590553  PMID: 6382831
25.  cDNA cloning reveals the molecular structure of a sperm surface protein, PH-20, involved in sperm-egg adhesion and the wide distribution of its gene among mammals 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1990;111(6):2939-2949.
Sperm binding to the egg zona pellucida in mammals is a cell-cell adhesion process that is generally species specific. The guinea pig sperm protein PH-20 has a required function in sperm adhesion to the zona pellucida of guinea pig eggs. PH-20 is located on both the sperm plasma membrane and acrosomal membrane. We report here the isolation and sequence of a full-length cDNA for PH-20 (available from EMBL/GenBank/DDBJ under accession number X56332). The derived amino acid sequence shows a mature protein of 468 amino acids containing six N-linked glycosylation sites and twelve cysteines, eight of which are tightly clustered near the COOH terminus. The sequence indicates PH-20 is a novel protein with no relationship to the mouse sperm adhesion protein galactosyl transferase and no significant homology with other known proteins. The two PH-20 populations, plasma membrane and acrosomal membrane, could arise because one form of PH-20 is encoded and differentially targeted at different spermatogenic stages. Alternatively, two different forms of PH-20 could be encoded. Our evidence thus far reveals only one sequence coding for PH-20: Southern blots of guinea pig genomic DNA indicated there is a single PH-20 gene, Northern blots showed a single size PH-20 message (approximately 2.2 kb), and no sequence variants were found among the sequenced cDNA clones. Cross-species Southern blots reveal the presence of a homologue of the PH-20 gene in mouse, rat, hamster, rabbit, bovine, monkey, and human genomic DNA, showing the PH-20 gene is conserved among mammals. Since genes for zona glycoproteins are also conserved among mammals, the general features of sperm and zona proteins involved in mammalian sperm-egg adhesion may have been evolutionarily maintained. Species specificity may result from limited changes in these molecules, either in their binding domains or in other regions that affect the ability of the binding domains to interact.
PMCID: PMC2116349  PMID: 2269661

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