Taiwanese scientists have paved the way for further research into the functioning of specific messeger RNA (mRNA) in pig sperm cells.
An abstract related to the study was recently published at the website Science Direct.
The mRNA are thought to play a role in boar seasonal infertility, as they may have an impact on molecular mechanisms responsible for thermal effects on spermatogenesis. The exact role, however, is just beginning to be elucidated, as bioinformatics analysis suggested that they are involved in a broad spectrum of biochemical processes including gamete generation.
Domestic swine sperm
The study's objective was to investigate mRNA remnants from ejaculated sperm of the domestic swine and uncover important clues regarding the molecular regulation of spermatogenesis under environmental thermo-impacts.
Scientists utilised the remnant mRNA collected from swine ejaculated sperm as the target source to detect the global gene expression in summer and in winter by swine sperm-specific oligonucleotide microarray. In total 67 transcripts were differentially expressed with statistical differences between seasons of sperm samples collected, including 49 nine in winter (49/67) and 18 in summer (18/67), respectively.
Only 33 of these transcripts could be annotated to gene ontology hierarchy with the database of Homo sapiens and their functions mostly were involved in variety of metabolic processes.
Moreover, these studies also confirmed that significant differences of gene expression profiles were found in swine sperm when comparisons were made between ejaculates collected during the winter and the summer season under the subtropical area such as Taiwan.
These concordant profiles should permit the development of a non-invasive testing protocol to assess the functional capacity of sperm as well as a new molecular selection scheme for fine breeding swine.
The study was carried out by scientists from the Department of Animal Science and Technology (National Taiwan University), the Institute of Biotechnology (National Taiwan University) and the Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology of Tunghai University, all based in Taiwan.
Humans and mice
The existence of mRNA remnants contained within freshly-ejaculated sperm has been identified in several species. Investigators have obtained differential RNA profiles of infertile men compared with fertile individuals; however, there are limited to the probes, which are mostly derived from nucleic acids of testicular tissues of either human or mice.