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Imprinted genes are epigenetically marked during gametogenesis so that they are exclusively expressed from either the paternal or the maternal allele in offspring. Imprinting prevents parthenogenesis in mammals and is often disrupted in congenital malformation syndromes, tumours and cloned animals. Although de novo DNA methyltransferases of the Dnmt3 family(More)
DNA methylation is an important epigenetic modification regulating various biological phenomena, including genomic imprinting and transposon silencing. It is known that methylation of the differentially methylated regions (DMRs) associated with paternally imprinted genes and of some repetitive elements occurs during male germ cell development in the mouse.(More)
RNA interference (RNAi) is a mechanism by which double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) suppress specific transcripts in a sequence-dependent manner. dsRNAs are processed by Dicer to 21-24-nucleotide small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and then incorporated into the argonaute (Ago) proteins. Gene regulation by endogenous siRNAs has been observed only in organisms(More)
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have important roles in diverse cellular processes, but little is known about their identity and functions during early mammalian development. Here, we show the effects of the loss of maternal inheritance of miRNAs following specific deletion of Dicer from growing oocytes. The mutant mature oocytes were almost entirely depleted of all(More)
BACKGROUND MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are critical regulators of transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene silencing, which are involved in multiple developmental processes in many organisms. Apart from miRNAs, mouse germ cells express another type of small RNA, piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs). Although it has been clear that piRNAs play a role in repression of(More)
Parental origin-specific DNA methylation regulates the monoallelic expression of the mammalian imprinted genes. The methylation marks or imprints are established in the parental germline and maintained throughout embryonic development. However, it is unclear how the methylation imprints are maintained through extensive demethylation in cleavage-stage(More)
BACKGROUND To investigate the functions of Dicer and microRNAs in neural stem (NS) cell self-renewal and neurogenesis, we established neural stem cell lines from the embryonic mouse Dicer-null cerebral cortex, producing neural stem cell lines that lacked all microRNAs. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS Dicer-null NS cells underwent normal self-renewal and could be(More)
The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of L-carnitine, an enhancer of lipid metabolism and mitochondrial activity, during in vitro maturation (IVM) on nuclear maturation and in vitro fertilisation of porcine follicular oocytes and subsequent embryo development. Mitochondrial functions, intracellular lipid content and reactive oxygen species(More)
Melatonin is a multifunctional molecule that mediates several circadian and seasonal reproductive processes. The exact role of melatonin in modulating reproduction, however, is not fully understood-especially its effects on the ovarian follicles and oocytes. This study was conducted to investigate the expressions of the ASMT and melatonin-receptor MTNR1A(More)
Since BSE testing of slaughtered cattle is obligatory in Japan, storage of ovaries at 15-20 C overnight in phosphate buffered saline has become a routine protocol in in vitro production (IVP) of cattle embryos. Ovary storage is known to reduce developmental competence of oocytes; however, its effects on oocyte gene expression have not been clarified yet.(More)