Indexed on: 03 Nov '06Published on: 03 Nov '06Published in: Transgenic Research
Vascular function, vascular structure, and homeostasis are thought to be regulated in part by nitric oxide (NO) released by endothelial cell nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), and NO released by eNOS plays an important role in modulating metabolism of skeletal and cardiac muscle in health and disease. The pig is an optimal model for human diseases because of the large number of important similarities between the genomic, metabolic and cardiovascular systems of pigs and humans. To gain a better understanding of cardiovascular regulation by eNOS we produced pigs carrying an endogenous eNOS gene driven by a Tie-2 promoter and tagged with a V5 His tag. Nuclear transfer was conducted to create these animals and the effects of two different oocyte activation treatments and two different culture systems were examined. Donor cells were electrically fused to the recipient oocytes. Electrical fusion/activation (1 mM calcium in mannitol: Treatment 1) and electrical fusion (0.1 mM calcium in mannitol)/chemical activation (200 microM Thimerosal for 10 min followed by 8 mM DTT for 30 min: Treatment 2) were used. Embryos were surgically transferred to the oviducts of gilts that exhibited estrus on the day of fusion or the day of transfer. Two cloned transgenic piglets were born from Treatment 1 and low oxygen, and another two from Treatment 2 and normal oxygen. PCR, RT-PCR, Western blotting and immunohistochemistry confirmed that the pigs were transgenic, made message, made the fusion protein and that the fusion protein localized to the endothelial cells of placental vasculature from the conceptuses as did the endogenous eNOS. Thus both activation conditions and culture systems are compatible with development to term. These pigs will serve as the founders for a colony of miniature pigs that will help to elucidate the function of eNOS in regulating muscle metabolism and the cardiorespiratory system.