Obesity induced by a high-caloric diet has previously been associated with changes in the gut microbiota in mice and in humans. In this study, pigs were cloned to minimize genetic and biological variation among the animals with the aim of developing a controlled metabolomic model suitable for a diet-intervention study. Cloning of pigs may be an attractive way to reduce genetic influences when investigating the effect of diet and obesity on different physiological sites. The aim of this study was to assess and compare the changes in the composition of the gut microbiota of cloned vs. non-cloned pigs during development of obesity by a high-fat/high-caloric diet. Furthermore, we investigated the association between diet-induced obesity and the relative abundance of the phyla Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in the fecal-microbiota. The fecal microbiota from obese cloned (n = 5) and non-cloned control pigs (n= 6) was investigated biweekly over a period of 136 days, by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and quantitative real time PCR (qPCR).
A positive correlation was observed between body-weight at endpoint and percent body-fat in cloned (r=0.9, P<0.0001) and in non-cloned control pigs (r=0.9, P<0.0001). Shannon Weaver and principal component analysis (PCA) of the terminal restriction fragments (T-RFs) revealed no differences in the bacterial composition or variability of the fecal microbiota between the cloned pigs or between cloned and non-cloned control pigs. Body-weight correlated positively with the relative abundance of Firmicutes in both cloned (r=0.37; P<0.02) and non cloned-control pigs (r=0.45; P<0.006), and negatively with the abundance of Bacteroidetes in cloned pigs (r=−0.33, P<0.04), but not in the non-cloned control pigs.
The cloned pigs did not have reduced inter-individual variation as compared to non-cloned pigs in regard to their gut microbiota in neither the obese nor the lean state. Diet-induced obesity was associated with an increase in the relative abundance of Firmicutes over time. Our results suggest that cloned pigs are not a more suitable animal model for gut microbiota-obesity related studies than non-cloned pigs. This study is the first to evaluate if cloned pigs provide a better animal model than conventional pigs in diet-intervention, obesity and gut microbiota research.
Gut microbiota; Cloned pigs; Diet-induced obesity; Bacterial diversity; Bacteroidetes; Firmicutes
Cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer can result in the birth of animals with phenotypic and gene expression abnormalities. We compared adult cloned pigs and adult pigs from naturally bred control females using a series of physiological and genetic parameters, including detailed methylation profiles of selected genomic regions. Phenotypic and genetic analyses indicated that there are two classes of traits, one in which the cloned pigs have less variation than controls and another characterized by variation that is equally high in cloned and control pigs. Although cloning creates animals within the normal phenotypic range, it increases the variability associated with some traits. This finding is contrary to the expectation that cloning can be used to reduce the size of groups involved in animal experimentation and to reproduce an animal, including a pet, with a homogenous set of desired traits.
assisted reproductive technology; developmental biology; embryo; gene regulation
Animal experimentation is necessary to characterize human diseases and design adequate therapeutic interventions. In renal transplantation research, the limited number of in vitro models involves a crucial role for in vivo models and particularly for the porcine model. Pig and human kidneys are anatomically similar (characterized by multilobular structure in contrast to rodent and dog kidneys unilobular). The human proximity of porcine physiology and immune systems provides a basic knowledge of graft recovery and inflammatory physiopathology through in vivo studies. In addition, pig large body size allows surgical procedures similar to humans, repeated collections of peripheral blood or renal biopsies making pigs ideal for medical training and for the assessment of preclinical technologies. However, its size is also its main drawback implying expensive housing. Nevertheless, pig models are relevant alternatives to primate models, offering promising perspectives with developments of transgenic modulation and marginal donor models facilitating data extrapolation to human conditions.
Xenotransplantation from animals has been considered to be a preferable approach to alleviate the shortage of human allografts. Pigs are the most suitable candidate because of the anatomical and physiological similarities shared with humans as well as ethical concerns. However, it may be associated with the risk of transmission of infectious porcine pathogens. Porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs) are of particular concern because they have been shown to infect human cells in vitro. To date, researches on the molecular characteristics and potential pathogenicity of PERV are still tenuous. In this report, an infectious replication competent clone of PERV from Wuzhishan pigs (WZSPs) in China was generated and characterized. This infectious clone will contribute to studies on PERV virology and control of PERV in xenotransplantation using Chinese miniature pigs.
The proviral DNA of PERV from WZSPs was amplified in two overlapping halves. Then the two fragments were isolated, subcloned and fused to generate pBluescriptαSK+-WZS-PERV recombinant clones. Screened with RT-PCR, a molecular clone of PERV designated as WZS-PERV(2) was selected. Its infectivity and replication competency were characterized in HEK293 cells by PCR, real-time fluorescent quantitative RT-PCR, western blot, indirect immunofluorescence assay as well as sequence analysis.
The ability of WZS-PERV(2) to infect human cells and produce infectious virions were shown after transfection of the clone into HEK293 cells and infection of PERV derived from this recombinant clone. The expression of Gag proteins were detected in HEK293 cells infected with the virus derived from the clone by the indirect immunofluorescence assay and western blot. The results of sequences analysis and comparison combined with the PCR based genotyping result demonstrated that the WZS-PERV(2) belonged to PERV-A subgroup. Compared with a previous proviral DNA clone of PERV (PERV-WZSP), G to A hypermutation occurred in the env gene of WZS-PERV(2) was found, whereas APOBEC proteins have the potential to inhibit the replication of a variety of retroviruses through a cDNA cytosine deamination mechanism, so we presumed these G to A hypermutation might be the contribution of porcine APOBEC3F.
Altogether, an infectious replication competent clone of PERV from Chinese miniature pigs (WZSPs) termed WZS-PERV(2) was generated, characterized and sequenced.
Chinese miniature pigs; Porcine endogenous retroviruses; Infectious molecular clone; Xenotransplantation
The principal objectives of this study were to develop autologous antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and to characterize the antigen-specific T-cell responses to the M and N proteins of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) by using those APCs in outbred pigs. The orf6 and orf7 genes fused with porcine granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) were cloned into the mammalian expression vector to generate two plasmid DNAs, namely, pcDNA3.1-GM-CSF-PRRSV-M and pcDNA3.1-GM-CSF-PRRSV-N. Three of six pigs in two groups were repeatedly immunized with either plasmid DNA construct, and four pigs were used as controls. The recombinant M and N proteins fused with the protein transduction domain (PTD) of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 transactivator of transcription protein were employed to generate major histocompatibility complex-matched autologous APCs from each pig. The levels of T-cell proliferation and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) synthesis were compared between pigs immunized with the two plasmid DNAs after stimulation of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of each pig with the autologous antigen-presenting dendritic cells and PBMCs. Higher levels of T-cell proliferation and IFN-γ synthesis were identified in PBMCs isolated from the pigs immunized with pcDNA3.1-GM-CSF-PRRSV-M than in those isolated from the pigs immunized with pcDNA3.1-GM-CSF-PRRSV-N. By way of contrast, serum antibodies were detected only in pigs immunized with pcDNA3.1-GM-CSF-PRRSV-N. However, no T-cell response or antibody production was detected in the control pigs. These results suggest that the M protein of PRRSV is a more potent T cell-stimulating antigen than the N protein. Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that the N protein substantially induces both cellular and humoral immune responses. The newly developed protocol for generating self APCs may prove effective in further efforts to characterize additional PRRSV proteins involved in the induction of cell-mediated immunity.
Animal breeding via Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) has enormous potential in agriculture and biomedicine. However, concerns about whether SCNT animals are as healthy or epigenetically normal as conventionally bred ones are raised as the efficiency of cloning by SCNT is much lower than natural breeding or In-vitro fertilization (IVF). Thus, we have conducted a genome-wide gene expression and DNA methylation profiling between phenotypically normal cloned pigs and control pigs in two tissues (muscle and liver), using Affymetrix Porcine expression array as well as modified methylation-specific digital karyotyping (MMSDK) and Solexa sequencing technology. Typical tissue-specific differences with respect to both gene expression and DNA methylation were observed in muscle and liver from cloned as well as control pigs. Gene expression profiles were highly similar between cloned pigs and controls, though a small set of genes showed altered expression. Cloned pigs presented a more different pattern of DNA methylation in unique sequences in both tissues. Especially a small set of genomic sites had different DNA methylation status with a trend towards slightly increased methylation levels in cloned pigs. Molecular network analysis of the genes that contained such differential methylation loci revealed a significant network related to tissue development. In conclusion, our study showed that phenotypically normal cloned pigs were highly similar with normal breeding pigs in their gene expression, but moderate alteration in DNA methylation aspects still exists, especially in certain unique genomic regions.
The pig has been proposed as a relevant model for human obesity-induced inflammation, and cloning may improve the applicability of this model. We tested the assumptions that cloning would reduce interindividual variation in gene expression of innate immune factors and that their expression would remain unaffected by the cloning process. We investigated the expression of 40 innate immune factors by high-throughput quantitative real-time PCR in samples from liver, abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and neck SAT in cloned pigs compared to normal outbred pigs.
The variation in gene expression was found to be similar for the two groups, and the expression of a small number of genes was significantly affected by cloning. In the VAT and abdominal SAT, six out of seven significantly differentially expressed genes were downregulated in the clones. In contrast, most differently expressed genes in both liver and neck SAT were upregulated (seven out of eight). Remarkably, acute phase proteins (APPs) dominated the upregulated genes in the liver, whereas APP expression was either unchanged or downregulated in abdominal SAT and VAT. The general conclusion from this work is that cloning leads to subtle changes in specific subsets of innate immune genes. Such changes, even if minor, may have phenotypic effects over time, e.g., in models of long-term inflammation related to obesity.
Epidemiological studies in man and with experimental animal models have shown that intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) resulting in low birth weight is associated with higher risk of programming welfare diseases in later life. In the pig, severe IUGR occurs naturally and contribute substantially to a large intralitter variation in birth weight and may therefore be a good model for man. In the present paper the natural form of IUGR in pigs was studied close to term by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR-)based metabolomics. The NMR-based investigations revealed different metabolic profiles of plasma samples from low-birth weight (LW) and high-birth weight (HW) piglets, respectively, and differences were assigned to levels of glucose and myo-inositol. Further studies by GC-MS revealed that LW piglets had a significant higher concentration of myoinositol and D-chiro-inositol in plasma compared to larger littermates. Myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol have been coupled with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in adults, and the present paper therefore suggests that IUGR is related to impaired glucose metabolism during fetal development, which may cause type 2 diabetes in adulthood.
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) viruses are recognized as possessing a high degree of genetic and antigenic variability. Viral diversity has led to questions regarding the association of virus mutation and persistent infection in the host and has raised concerns vis-à-vis protective immunity, the ability of diagnostic assays to detect novel variants, and the possible emergence of virulent strains. The purpose of this study was to describe ongoing changes in PRRS virus during replication in pigs under experimental conditions. Animals were inoculated with a plaque-cloned virus derived from VR-2332, the North American PRRS virus prototype. Three independent lines of in vivo replication were maintained for 367 days by pig-to-pig passage of virus at 60-day intervals. A total of 315 plaque-cloned viruses were recovered from 21 pigs over the 367-day observation period and compared to the original plaque-cloned virus by virus neutralization assay, monoclonal antibody analysis, and sequencing of open reading frames (ORFs) 1b (replicase), 5 (major envelope protein), and 7 (nucleocapsid) of the genome. Variants were detected by day 7 postinoculation, and multiple variants were present concurrently in every pig sampled over the observation period. Sequence analysis showed ORFs 1b and 7 to be highly conserved. In contrast, sequencing of ORF 5 disclosed 48 nucleotide variants which corresponded to 22 amino acid variants. Although no epitopic changes were detected under the conditions of this experiment, PRRS virus was shown to evolve continuously in infected pigs, with different genes of the viral genome undergoing various degrees of change.
Obesity and related diabetes are important health threatening multifactorial metabolic diseases and it has been suggested that 25% of all diabetic patients are unaware of their patho-physiological condition. Biomarkers for monitoring and control are available, but early stage predictive biomarkers enabling prevention of these diseases are still lacking. We used the pig as a model to study metabolic disease because humans and pigs share a multitude of metabolic similarities. Diabetes was chemically induced and control and diabetic pigs were either fed a high unsaturated fat (Mediterranean) diet or a high saturated fat/cholesterol/sugar (cafeteria) diet. Physiological parameters related to fat metabolism and diabetes were measured. Diabetic pigs' plasma proteome profiles differed more between the two diets than control pigs plasma proteome profiles. The expression levels of several proteins correlated well with (patho)physiological parameters related to the fat metabolism (cholesterol, VLDL, LDL, NEFA) and diabetes (Glucose) and to the diet fed to the animals. Studying only the control pigs as a model for metabolic syndrome when fed the two diets showed correlations to the same parameters but now more focused on insulin, glucose and abdominal fat depot parameters. We conclude that proteomic profiles can be used as a biomarker to identify pigs with developing metabolic syndrome (prediabetes) and diabetes when fed a cafeteria diet. It could be developed into a potential biomarkers for the early recognition of metabolic diseases.
The guinea pig has been the most commonly used small animal species in preclinical studies related to asthma and COPD. The primary advantages of the guinea pig are the similar potencies and efficacies of agonists and antagonists in human and guinea pig airways and the many similarities in physiological processes, especially airway autonomic control and the response to allergen. The primary disadvantages to using guinea pigs are the lack of transgenic methods, limited numbers of guinea pig strains for comparative studies and a prominent axon reflex that is unlikely to be present in human airways. These attributes and various models developed in guinea pigs are discussed.
Leukotrienes; Autonomic; Influenza; IL-5
Porcine animal models are used to advance our understanding of human physiology. Current research is also directed at methods to produce transgenic pigs. Cryobanking gametes and embryos can facilitate the preservation of valuable genotypes, yet cryopreserving oocytes from pigs has proven very challenging. The current study was designed to understand the effects of anisotonic solutions on in vitro matured porcine oocytes as a first step toward designing improved cryopreservation procedures. We hypothesized that the proportion of oocytes demonstrating a normal spindle apparatus and in vitro developmental potential would be proportional to the solution osmolality. Oocytes were incubated for 10 minutes at 38 °C in various hypo- or hypertonic solutions, and an isotonic control solution and then assessed for these two parameters. Our results support the hypothesis, with an increasing proportion of spindles showing a disrupted structure as the levels of anisotonic exposure diverge from isotonic. Only about half of the oocytes maintained developmental potential after exposure to anisotonic solutions compared to untreated controls. Oocyte volume displayed a linear response to anisotonic solutions as expected, with an estimated relative osmotically-inactive cell volume of 0.178. The results from this study provide initial biophysical data to characterize porcine oocytes. The results from future experiments designed to determine the membrane permeability to various cryoprotectants will allow predictive modeling of optimal cryopreservation procedures and provide a basis for designing improved cryopreservation procedures.
Porcine; Oocyte; Cryopreservation; Osmotic; Spindle; Blastocyst; Vitrification
Skeletal muscle is one of the most important economic traits in agricultural animals, especially in pigs. In the modern pig industry, lean type pigs have undergone strong artificial selection for muscle growth, which has led to remarkable phenotypic variations compared with fatty type pigs, making these different breeds an ideal model for comparative studies.
Here, we present comprehensive gene expression profiling for the white (longissimus dorsi muscle) and the red (psoas major muscle) skeletal muscles among male and female fatty Rongchang, feral Tibetan and lean Landrace pigs, using a microarray approach. We identified differentially expressed genes that may be associated the phenotypic differences of porcine muscles among the breeds, between the sexes and the anatomical locations. We also used a clustering method to identify sets of functionally coexpressed genes that are linked to different muscle phenotypes. We showed that, compared with the white muscles, which primarily modulate metabolic processes, the red muscles show a tendency to be a risk factor for inflammation and immune-related disorders.
This analysis presents breed-, sex- and anatomical location-specific gene expression profiles and further identified genes that may be associated with the phenotypic differences in porcine muscles among breeds, between the sexes and the anatomical locations.
Gene expression; Microarray; Muscle; Pig
Betaine homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT) and BHMT-2 enzymes methylate homocysteine to form methionine using betaine and S-methylmethionine, respectively. These activities are observed only in the liver of adult rodents, but in adult humans and pigs these activities are detected in both the liver and kidney, indicating the pig is a more appropriate model for studying the biochemical and physiological roles of these enzymes in human biology. Porcine BHMT and BHMT-2 cDNAs were cloned and sequenced, and their 5' and 3' UTR were amplified using RLM-RACE. The BHMT transcript had significantly longer 5' and 3' UTRs than BHMT-2. The pig BHMT and BHMT-2 genes span approximately 26kb and 16kb, respectively, and both genes have 8 exons. The deduced amino acid sequences of BHMT and BHMT-2 contain 407 and 363 amino acids, respectively, and shared 78% amino acid identity. No promoter element (TATA or CAAT box) was observed for either BHMT or BHMT-2, although a CpG island surrounding the promoter and transcriptional start site were observed in both genes implying that methylation could regulate their expression. Using qPCR, it was determined that BHMT and BHMT-2 transcripts are very abundant in liver and kidney cortex, whereas the expression is significantly less in other tissues. These findings confirm that the expression pattern of BHMT and BHMT-2 genes in pigs is similar to humans, supporting the use of the pig as an animal model to study the genetics and regulation of BHMT and BHMT-2 expression.
BHMT; BHMT-2; homocysteine; pig
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the major cause of enterically transmitted non-A, non-B hepatitis in many developing countries and is also endemic in many industrialized countries. Due to the lack of an effective cell culture system and a practical animal model, the mechanisms of HEV pathogenesis and replication are poorly understood. Our recent identification of swine HEV from pigs affords us an opportunity to systematically study HEV replication and pathogenesis in a swine model. In an early study, we experimentally infected specific-pathogen-free pigs with two strains of HEV: swine HEV and the US-2 strain of human HEV. Eighteen pigs (group 1) were inoculated intravenously with swine HEV, 19 pigs (group 2) were inoculated with the US-2 strain of human HEV, and 17 pigs (group 3) were used as uninoculated controls. The clinical and pathological findings have been previously reported. In this expanded study, we aim to identify the potential extrahepatic sites of HEV replication using the swine model. Two pigs from each group were necropsied at 3, 7, 14, 20, 27, and 55 days postinoculation (DPI). Thirteen different types of tissues and organs were collected from each necropsied animal. Reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) was used to detect the presence of positive-strand HEV RNA in each tissue collected during necropsy at different DPI. A negative-strand-specific RT-PCR was standardized and used to detect the replicative, negative strand of HEV RNA from tissues that tested positive for the positive-strand RNA. As expected, positive-strand HEV RNA was detected in almost every type of tissue at some time point during the viremic period between 3 and 27 DPI. Positive-strand HEV RNA was still detectable in some tissues in the absence of serum HEV RNA from both swine HEV- and human HEV-inoculated pigs. However, replicative, negative-strand HEV RNA was detected primarily in the small intestines, lymph nodes, colons, and livers. Our results indicate that HEV replicates in tissues other than the liver. The data from this study may have important implications for HEV pathogenesis, xenotransplantation, and the development of an in vitro cell culture system for HEV.
Sepsis caused by Staphylococcus aureus often leads to brain microabscesses in humans. Animal models of haematogenous brain abscesses would be useful to study this condition in detail. Recently, we developed a model of S. aureus sepsis in pigs and here we report that brain microabscesses develop in pigs with such induced S. aureus sepsis.
Twelve pigs were divided into three groups. Nine pigs received an intravenous inoculation of S. aureus once at time 0 h (group 1) or twice at time 0 h and 12 h (groups 2 and 3). In each group the fourth pig served as control. The pigs were euthanized at time 12 h (Group 1), 24 h (Group 2) and 48 h (Group 3) after the first inoculation. The brains were collected and examined histopathologically.
All inoculated pigs developed sepsis and seven out of nine pigs developed brain microabscesses. The microabscesses contained S. aureus and were located in the prosencephalon and mesencephalon. Chorioditis and meningitis occurred from 12 h after inoculation.
Pigs with experimental S. aureus sepsis often develop brain microabscesses. The porcine brain pathology mirrors the findings in human sepsis patients. We therefore suggest the pig as a useful animal model of the development of brain microabscesses caused by S. aureus sepsis.
Pig; Staphylococcus aureus; Brain; Model; Sepsis; Abscess; Haematogenous
Islet transplantation is a potential treatment for type 1 diabetes, but the shortage of donor organs limits its routine application. As potential donor animals, we generated transgenic pigs expressing LEA29Y, a high-affinity variant of the T-cell costimulation inhibitor CTLA-4Ig, under the control of the porcine insulin gene promoter. Neonatal islet cell clusters (ICCs) from INSLEA29Y transgenic (LEA-tg) pigs and wild-type controls were transplanted into streptozotocin-induced hyperglycemic NOD-scid IL2Rγnull mice. Cloned LEA-tg pigs are healthy and exhibit a strong β-cell–specific transgene expression. LEA-tg ICCs displayed the same potential to normalize glucose homeostasis as wild-type ICCs after transplantation. After adoptive transfer of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, transplanted LEA-tg ICCs were completely protected from rejection, whereas reoccurrence of hyperglycemia was observed in 80% of mice transplanted with wild-type ICCs. In the current study, we provide the first proof-of-principle report on transgenic pigs with β-cell–specific expression of LEA29Y and their successful application as donors in a xenotransplantation model. This approach may represent a major step toward the development of a novel strategy for pig-to-human islet transplantation without side effects of systemic immunosuppression.
This review is a short update on the diversity of swine biomedical models and the importance of genomics in their continued development. The swine has been used as a major mammalian model for human studies because of the similarity in size and physiology, and in organ development and disease progression. The pig model allows for deliberately timed studies, imaging of internal vessels and organs using standard human technologies, and collection of repeated peripheral samples and, at kill, detailed mucosal tissues. The ability to use pigs from the same litter, or cloned or transgenic pigs, facilitates comparative analyses and genetic mapping. The availability of numerous well defined cell lines, representing a broad range of tissues, further facilitates testing of gene expression, drug susceptibility, etc. Thus the pig is an excellent biomedical model for humans. For genomic applications it is an asset that the pig genome has high sequence and chromosome structure homology with humans. With the swine genome sequence now well advanced there are improving genetic and proteomic tools for these comparative analyses. The review will discuss some of the genomic approaches used to probe these models. The review will highlight genomic studies of melanoma and of infectious disease resistance, discussing issues to consider in designing such studies. It will end with a short discussion of the potential for genomic approaches to develop new alternatives for control of the most economically important disease of pigs, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), and the potential for applying knowledge gained with this virus for human viral infectious disease studies.
swine; humans; genomics; gene expression; biomedical model
To improve the welfare of experimental animals, investigators seek to respect the 3R principle (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement). Even when large animal studies are essential before moving to clinical trials, it is important to look for ways to reduce the number of experimental animals used. At the Center for the Development of Advanced Medical Technology, we consider ‘medical’ pigs to be ideal preclinical model systems.
We have been using both wild-type and genetically modified pigs. We began using this approach about 10 years ago with a ‘total pig system’ to model human health and disease for the purposes of both medical skill education and the development of new devices and therapeutic strategies.
At our Center, medical students and residents use pigs to gain experience with surgical skills and train for emergency procedures after appropriate simulation training. Senior clinicians have also used these models to advance the development of innovative tools for endo- and laparoscopic procedures. The Center focuses on translational research for organ transplantation and stem cell therapy. Several pig models have been established for liver, intestine, kidney, pancreas, and lung transplantation. Mesenchymal stromal cells have been established in green fluorescent protein- and red fluorescent protein-transgenic pigs and tested to trans-differentiate organogenesis. A program to establish induced pluripotent stem cells in the pig is ongoing at our Center.
Here, we review our 10 years of activity in this field. Based on our experience in surgical education and research, experimental pigs are valuable models in translational research.
Experimental animals; Pig; Translational research
Pigs are anatomically and physiologically closer to humans than other laboratory animals. Transgenic (TG) pigs are widely used as models of human diseases. The aim of this study was to produce pigs expressing a tetracycline (Tet)-inducible transgene. The Tet-on system was first tested in infected donor cells. Porcine fetal fibroblasts were infected with a universal doxycycline-inducible vector containing the target gene enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP). At 1 day after treatment with 1 µg/ml doxycycline, the fluorescence intensity of these cells was increased. Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) was then performed using these donor cells. The Tet-on system was then tested in the generated porcine SCNT-TG embryos. Of 4,951 porcine SCNT-TG embryos generated, 850 were cultured in the presence of 1 µg/ml doxycycline in vitro. All of these embryos expressed eGFP and 15 embryos developed to blastocyst stage. The remaining 4,101 embryos were transferred to thirty three surrogate pigs from which thirty eight cloned TG piglets were obtained. PCR analysis showed that the transgene was inserted into the genome of each of these piglets. Two TG fibroblast cell lines were established from these TG piglets, and these cells were used as donor cells for re-cloning. The re-cloned SCNT embryos expressed the eGFP transgene under the control of doxycycline. These data show that the expression of transgenes in cloned TG pigs can be regulated by the Tet-on/off systems.
Hematologic and biochemical reference intervals depend on many factors, including age. A review of the literature highlights the lack of reference intervals for 6-wk-old specific pathogen free (SPF) Hampshire-Yorkshire crossbred pigs. For translational research, 6-wk-old pigs represent an important animal model for both human juvenile colitis and diabetes mellitus type 2 given the similarities between the porcine and human gastrointestinal maturation process. The aim of this study was to determine reference intervals for hematological and biochemical parameters in healthy 6-wk-old crossbred pigs. Blood samples were collected from 66 clinically healthy Hampshire-Yorkshire pigs. The pigs were 6 wks old, represented both sexes, and were housed in a SPF facility. Automated hematological and biochemical analysis were performed using an ADVIA 120 Hematology System and a Cobas 6000 C501 Clinical Chemistry Analyzer.
Reference intervals were calculated using both parametric and nonparametric methods. The mean, median, minimum, and maximum values were calculated.
As pigs are used more frequently as medical models of human disease, having reference intervals for commonly measured hematological and biochemical parameters in 6-wk-old pigs will be useful. The reference intervals calculated in this study will aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of both naturally occurring and experimentally induced disease. In comparison to published reference intervals for older non SPF pigs, notable differences in leukocyte populations, and in levels of sodium, potassium, glucose, protein, and alkaline phosphatase were observed.
Biochemical analytes; Hematology; Pigs; Reference interval; SPF
► The active region of porcine CSF-1 and full length CSF-1R have been cloned. ► Biological activity of porcine CSF-1 has been demonstrated. ► The cross species reactivity of IL-34 has been investigated. ► Both mouse and human IL-34 are biologically active on the pig CSF-1R. ► CSF-1 and IL-34 structure analysis of species-specific activity has been performed.
Macrophage Colony Stimulating Factor (CSF-1) controls the survival, differentiation and proliferation of cells of the mononuclear phagocyte system. A second ligand for the CSF-1R, Interleukin 34 (IL-34), has been described, but its physiological role is not yet known. The domestic pig provides an alternative to traditional rodent models for evaluating potential therapeutic applications of CSF-1R agonists and antagonists. To enable such studies, we cloned and expressed active pig CSF-1. To provide a bioassay, pig CSF-1R was expressed in the factor-dependent Ba/F3 cell line. On this transfected cell line, recombinant porcine CSF-1 and human CSF-1 had identical activity. Mouse CSF-1 does not interact with the human CSF-1 receptor but was active on pig. By contrast, porcine CSF-1 was active on mouse, human, cat and dog cells. IL-34 was previously shown to be species-specific, with mouse and human proteins demonstrating limited cross-species activity. The pig CSF-1R was equally responsive to both mouse and human IL-34. Based upon the published crystal structures of CSF-1/CSF-1R and IL34/CSF-1R complexes, we discuss the molecular basis for the species specificity.
Macrophage; Ba/F3 cells; Bone marrow; Hematopoiesis; Species specificity
From the mid-2000s on, numerous studies have shown that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), renowned as human pathogen, has a reservoir in pigs and other livestock. In Europe and North America, clonal complex (CC) 398 appears to be the predominant lineage involved. Especially worrisome is its capacity to contaminate humans in close contact with affected animals. Indeed, the typical multi-resistant phenotype of MRSA CC398 and its observed ability of easily acquiring genetic material suggests that MRSA CC398 strains with an increased virulence potential may emerge, for which few therapeutic options would remain. This questions the need to implement interventions to control the presence and spread of MRSA CC398 among pigs. MRSA CC398 shows a high but not fully understood transmission potential in the pig population and is able to persist within that population. Although direct contact is probably the main route for MRSA transmission between pigs, also environmental contamination, the presence of other livestock, the herd size, and farm management are factors that may be involved in the dissemination of MRSA CC398. The current review aims at summarizing the research that has so far been done on the transmission dynamics and risk factors for introduction and persistence of MRSA CC398 in farms.
MRSA; ST398; pigs; transmission risk factors; transmission routes; transmission pig models
The potential use of predifferentiated neural precursor cells for treatment of a neurological disorder like Parkinson's disease combines stem cell research with previous experimental and clinical transplantation of developing dopaminergic neurons. One current obstacle is, however, the lack of ability to generate dopaminergic neurons after long-term in vitro propagation of the cells. The domestic pig is considered a useful nonprimate large animal model in neuroscience, because of a better resemblance of the larger gyrencephalic pig brain to the human brain than the commonly used brains of smaller rodents. In the present study, porcine embryonic (28–30 days), ventral mesencephalic precursor cells were isolated and propagated as free-floating neural tissue spheres in medium containing epidermal growth factor and fibroblast growth factor 2. For passaging, the tissue spheres were cut into quarters, avoiding mechanical or enzymatic dissociation in order to minimize cellular trauma and preserve intercellular contacts. Spheres were propagated for up to 237 days with analysis of cellular content and differentiation at various time points. Our study provides the first demonstration that porcine ventral mesencephalic precursor cells can be long-term propagated as neural tissue spheres, thereby providing an experimental 3D in vitro model for studies of neural precursor cells, their niche, and differentiation capacity.
Gram-negative bacteria of the genus Serratia are opportunistic human, plant, and insect pathogens. Serratia sp. strain ATCC 39006 secretes pectinases and cellulases and produces the secondary metabolites carbapenem and prodigiosin. Mutation of a gene (pigX) resulted in an extremely pleiotropic phenotype: prodigiosin antibiotic biosynthesis, plant virulence, and pectinase production were all elevated. PigX controlled secondary metabolism by repressing the transcription of the target prodigiosin biosynthetic operon (pigA-pigO). The transcriptional start site of pigX was determined, and pigX expression occurred in parallel with Pig production. Detailed quantitative intracellular proteome analyses enabled the identification of numerous downstream targets of PigX, including OpgG, mutation of which reduced the production of the plant cell wall-degrading enzymes and virulence. The highly pleiotropic PigX regulator contains GGDEF and EAL domains with noncanonical motifs and is predicted to be membrane associated. Genetic evidence suggests that PigX might function as a cyclic dimeric GMP phosphodiesterase. This is the first characterization of a GGDEF and EAL domain protein in Serratia and the first example of the regulation of antibiotic production by a GGDEF/EAL domain protein.