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Theriogenology. 2012 Sep 15;78(5):1020-9. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2012.02.013. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Proteins associated with reproductive disorders in testes of human erythropoietin gene-harboring transgenic boars.

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  • 1Animal Biotechnology Division, National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration, Suwon, South Korea.


To investigate reproductive disorder in human erythropoietin (EPO)-expressing pig, we performed comparative proteomic analyses of testicular tissues from human erythropoietin (hEPO) gene-harboring transgenic pigs and wild type pigs born from natural conception. In hEPO TG pigs, we found relatively low sperm motility and higher death rate indicating impaired sperm development. Consistently, plasma concentration of testosterone was significantly lower in the transgenic post-pubertal boars compared with wild type boars. Normalized protein spots showing higher than 2-fold differential expression intensity in two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis were selected for matrix associated laser desorption/ionization time-to-flight mass spectrometry analysis. Specific proteins were identified by searching the NCBI protein sequence databases. Among 55 proteins selected, 12 proteins were identified as those differentially expressed between transgenic and wild type pigs. Three downregulated proteins (β-globin, carbonyl reductase 1, and peroxiredoxin 6) and nine upregulated proteins (cytoskeletal β-actin, α 2,3-sialyltransferase, apolipoprotein A-I, tubulin α-1A chain, tropomodulin 3, thioredoxin, heat shock Protein 70.2, ch4/domains of swine IgM, and albumin), all of which are closely related to apoptosis and cytoskeletal development, were found in the transgenic boar testes. Terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling assay confirmed the increased occurrence of apoptosis in the transgenic boar testes compared with the wild type boar testes. Reproductive defects of the hEPO-expressing transgenic pigs may be caused by the abnormal expression of the genes identified in this study.

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