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Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), using transgenic donor cells, is a highly efficient method for producing transgenic embryos. We compared the developmental competence, quality and gene expression of transgenic embryos produced by Hand-made cloning from buffalo fetal fibroblasts (BFFs) containing human insulin gene, with non-transgenic embryos produced from BFFs (Controls). The expression vector (pAcISUBC), constructed by inserting human insulin gene between DNA fragments containing mammary gland-specific buffalo β-lactoglobulin (buBLG) promoter and terminator buBLG 3'UTR regions into pAcGFP-N1 vector, was used for obtaining the 11 kb insert for transfection of BFFs by nucleofection. Presence of the transgene in embryos was confirmed by examining GFP expression by RT-PCR and immunofluorescence. The blastocyst rate was lower (P < 0.05) for transgenic embryos than for controls (35.7 ± 1.8% vs 48.7 ± 2.4%). The apoptotic index was higher (P < 0.05) for transgenic than for control blastocysts which, in turn, was higher (P < 0.05) than for IVF counterparts (6.9 ± 0.9, 3.8 ± 0.5 and 1.8 ± 0.3, respectively). The total cell number was similar for transgenic and non-transgenic blastocysts (143.2 ± 17.0 and 137.2 ± 7.6, respectively). The expression level of pro-apoptotic genes BAX and BID but not that of CASP3 and CASP9, and cell cycle check point control-related gene P53 was higher (P < 0.05), and that of development- (IGF-1R and G6PD) and pluripotency-related gene NANOG was lower (P < 0.05) in transgenic than in control embryos. The expression level of epigenetic-related genes DNMT1, DNMT3a and HDAC1 and pluripotency-related gene OCT4 was similar in the two groups. The expression level of BAX, BID, CASP9, P53, DNMT1 and DNMT3a was higher (P < 0.05) and that of OCT4, NANOG IGF-1R and G6PD was lower (P < 0.05) in cloned transgenic than in IVF blastocysts whereas, that of CASP3 and HDAC1 was similar between the two groups. In conclusion, these results suggest that transgenic embryos produced by SCNT have lower developmental competence and quality, and altered gene expression compared to non-transgenic embryos.
This article was published in the following journal.
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