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Sperm Maturation: The maturing process of SPERMATOZOA after leaving the testicular SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES. Maturation in SPERM MOTILITY and FERTILITY takes place in the EPIDIDYMIS as the sperm migrate from caput epididymis to cauda epididymis.Sexual Maturation: Achievement of full sexual capacity in animals and in humans.Oocytes: Female germ cells derived from OOGONIA and termed OOCYTES when they enter MEIOSIS. The primary oocytes begin meiosis but are arrested at the diplotene state until OVULATION at PUBERTY to give rise to haploid secondary oocytes or ova (OVUM).Cell Differentiation: Progressive restriction of the developmental potential and increasing specialization of function that leads to the formation of specialized cells, tissues, and organs.Oogenesis: The process of germ cell development in the female from the primordial germ cells through OOGONIA to the mature haploid ova (OVUM).Dendritic Cells: Specialized cells of the hematopoietic system that have branch-like extensions. They are found throughout the lymphatic system, and in non-lymphoid tissues such as SKIN and the epithelia of the intestinal, respiratory, and reproductive tracts. They trap and process ANTIGENS, and present them to T-CELLS, thereby stimulating CELL-MEDIATED IMMUNITY. They are different from the non-hematopoietic FOLLICULAR DENDRITIC CELLS, which have a similar morphology and immune system function, but with respect to humoral immunity (ANTIBODY PRODUCTION).Meiosis: A type of CELL NUCLEUS division, occurring during maturation of the GERM CELLS. Two successive cell nucleus divisions following a single chromosome duplication (S PHASE) result in daughter cells with half the number of CHROMOSOMES as the parent cells.Cells, Cultured: Cells propagated in vitro in special media conducive to their growth. Cultured cells are used to study developmental, morphologic, metabolic, physiologic, and genetic processes, among others.In Vitro Oocyte Maturation Techniques: Methods used to induce premature oocytes, that are maintained in tissue culture, to progress through developmental stages including to a stage that is competent to undergo FERTILIZATION.Glia Maturation Factor: A factor identified in the brain that influences the growth and differentiation of NEURONS and NEUROGLIA. Glia maturation factor beta is the 17-kDa polypeptide product of the GMFB gene and is the principal component of GLIA MATURATION FACTOR.Molecular Sequence Data: Descriptions of specific amino acid, carbohydrate, or nucleotide sequences which have appeared in the published literature and/or are deposited in and maintained by databanks such as GENBANK, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF), or other sequence repositories.Mice, Inbred C57BLOvarian Follicle: An OOCYTE-containing structure in the cortex of the OVARY. The oocyte is enclosed by a layer of GRANULOSA CELLS providing a nourishing microenvironment (FOLLICULAR FLUID). The number and size of follicles vary depending on the age and reproductive state of the female. The growing follicles are divided into five stages: primary, secondary, tertiary, Graafian, and atretic. Follicular growth and steroidogenesis depend on the presence of GONADOTROPINS.Animals, Newborn: Refers to animals in the period of time just after birth.Phagosomes: Membrane-bound cytoplasmic vesicles formed by invagination of phagocytized material. They fuse with lysosomes to form phagolysosomes in which the hydrolytic enzymes of the lysosome digest the phagocytized material.Cumulus Cells: The granulosa cells of the cumulus oophorus which surround the OVUM in the GRAAFIAN FOLLICLE. At OVULATION they are extruded with OVUM.Fertilization in Vitro: An assisted reproductive technique that includes the direct handling and manipulation of oocytes and sperm to achieve fertilization in vitro.Amino Acid Sequence: The order of amino acids as they occur in a polypeptide chain. This is referred to as the primary structure of proteins. It is of fundamental importance in determining PROTEIN CONFORMATION.Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental: Any of the processes by which nuclear, cytoplasmic, or intercellular factors influence the differential control of gene action during the developmental stages of an organism.RNA, Messenger: RNA sequences that serve as templates for protein synthesis. Bacterial mRNAs are generally primary transcripts in that they do not require post-transcriptional processing. Eukaryotic mRNA is synthesized in the nucleus and must be exported to the cytoplasm for translation. Most eukaryotic mRNAs have a sequence of polyadenylic acid at the 3' end, referred to as the poly(A) tail. The function of this tail is not known for certain, but it may play a role in the export of mature mRNA from the nucleus as well as in helping stabilize some mRNA molecules by retarding their degradation in the cytoplasm.Mice, Knockout: Strains of mice in which certain GENES of their GENOMES have been disrupted, or "knocked-out". To produce knockouts, using RECOMBINANT DNA technology, the normal DNA sequence of the gene being studied is altered to prevent synthesis of a normal gene product. Cloned cells in which this DNA alteration is successful are then injected into mouse EMBRYOS to produce chimeric mice. The chimeric mice are then bred to yield a strain in which all the cells of the mouse contain the disrupted gene. Knockout mice are used as EXPERIMENTAL ANIMAL MODELS for diseases (DISEASE MODELS, ANIMAL) and to clarify the functions of the genes.Protein Processing, Post-Translational: Any of various enzymatically catalyzed post-translational modifications of PEPTIDES or PROTEINS in the cell of origin. These modifications include carboxylation; HYDROXYLATION; ACETYLATION; PHOSPHORYLATION; METHYLATION; GLYCOSYLATION; ubiquitination; oxidation; proteolysis; and crosslinking and result in changes in molecular weight and electrophoretic motility.Signal Transduction: The intracellular transfer of information (biological activation/inhibition) through a signal pathway. In each signal transduction system, an activation/inhibition signal from a biologically active molecule (hormone, neurotransmitter) is mediated via the coupling of a receptor/enzyme to a second messenger system or to an ion channel. Signal transduction plays an important role in activating cellular functions, cell differentiation, and cell proliferation. Examples of signal transduction systems are the GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID-postsynaptic receptor-calcium ion channel system, the receptor-mediated T-cell activation pathway, and the receptor-mediated activation of phospholipases. Those coupled to membrane depolarization or intracellular release of calcium include the receptor-mediated activation of cytotoxic functions in granulocytes and the synaptic potentiation of protein kinase activation. Some signal transduction pathways may be part of larger signal transduction pathways; for example, protein kinase activation is part of the platelet activation signal pathway.Base Sequence: The sequence of PURINES and PYRIMIDINES in nucleic acids and polynucleotides. It is also called nucleotide sequence.Maturation-Promoting Factor: Protein kinase that drives both the mitotic and meiotic cycles in all eukaryotic organisms. In meiosis it induces immature oocytes to undergo meiotic maturation. In mitosis it has a role in the G2/M phase transition. Once activated by CYCLINS; MPF directly phosphorylates some of the proteins involved in nuclear envelope breakdown, chromosome condensation, spindle assembly, and the degradation of cyclins. The catalytic subunit of MPF is PROTEIN P34CDC2.Cell Line: Established cell cultures that have the potential to propagate indefinitely.Time Factors: Elements of limited time intervals, contributing to particular results or situations.Mutation: Any detectable and heritable change in the genetic material that causes a change in the GENOTYPE and which is transmitted to daughter cells and to succeeding generations.Epididymis: The convoluted cordlike structure attached to the posterior of the TESTIS. Epididymis consists of the head (caput), the body (corpus), and the tail (cauda). A network of ducts leaving the testis joins into a common epididymal tubule proper which provides the transport, storage, and maturation of SPERMATOZOA.Fertilization: The fusion of a spermatozoon (SPERMATOZOA) with an OVUM thus resulting in the formation of a ZYGOTE.Fetal Organ Maturity: Functional competence of specific organs or body systems of the FETUS in utero.Flow Cytometry: Technique using an instrument system for making, processing, and displaying one or more measurements on individual cells obtained from a cell suspension. Cells are usually stained with one or more fluorescent dyes specific to cell components of interest, e.g., DNA, and fluorescence of each cell is measured as it rapidly transverses the excitation beam (laser or mercury arc lamp). Fluorescence provides a quantitative measure of various biochemical and biophysical properties of the cell, as well as a basis for cell sorting. Other measurable optical parameters include light absorption and light scattering, the latter being applicable to the measurement of cell size, shape, density, granularity, and stain uptake.Mice, Transgenic: Laboratory mice that have been produced from a genetically manipulated EGG or EMBRYO, MAMMALIAN.Aging: The gradual irreversible changes in structure and function of an organism that occur as a result of the passage of time.T-Lymphocytes: Lymphocytes responsible for cell-mediated immunity. Two types have been identified - cytotoxic (T-LYMPHOCYTES, CYTOTOXIC) and helper T-lymphocytes (T-LYMPHOCYTES, HELPER-INDUCER). They are formed when lymphocytes circulate through the THYMUS GLAND and differentiate to thymocytes. When exposed to an antigen, they divide rapidly and produce large numbers of new T cells sensitized to that antigen.Monocytes: Large, phagocytic mononuclear leukocytes produced in the vertebrate BONE MARROW and released into the BLOOD; contain a large, oval or somewhat indented nucleus surrounded by voluminous cytoplasm and numerous organelles.Membrane Proteins: Proteins which are found in membranes including cellular and intracellular membranes. They consist of two types, peripheral and integral proteins. They include most membrane-associated enzymes, antigenic proteins, transport proteins, and drug, hormone, and lectin receptors.Ovary: The reproductive organ (GONADS) in female animals. In vertebrates, the ovary contains two functional parts: the OVARIAN FOLLICLE for the production of female germ cells (OOGENESIS); and the endocrine cells (GRANULOSA CELLS; THECA CELLS; and LUTEAL CELLS) for the production of ESTROGENS and PROGESTERONE.Embryonic Development: Morphological and physiological development of EMBRYOS.Cytoplasm: The part of a cell that contains the CYTOSOL and small structures excluding the CELL NUCLEUS; MITOCHONDRIA; and large VACUOLES. (Glick, Glossary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1990)B-Cell Maturation Antigen: A member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily found on mature B-LYMPHOCYTES. It has specificity for B CELL ACTIVATING FACTOR and TUMOR NECROSIS FACTOR LIGAND SUPERFAMILY MEMBER 13. Signaling of the receptor occurs through its association with TNF RECEPTOR-ASSOCIATED FACTORS.Pregnancy: The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (EMBRYOS or FETUSES) in utero before birth, beginning from FERTILIZATION to BIRTH.Antigens, CD: Differentiation antigens residing on mammalian leukocytes. CD stands for cluster of differentiation, which refers to groups of monoclonal antibodies that show similar reactivity with certain subpopulations of antigens of a particular lineage or differentiation stage. The subpopulations of antigens are also known by the same CD designation.Membrane Glycoproteins: Glycoproteins found on the membrane or surface of cells.Gene Expression Regulation: Any of the processes by which nuclear, cytoplasmic, or intercellular factors influence the differential control (induction or repression) of gene action at the level of transcription or translation.Thymus Gland: A single, unpaired primary lymphoid organ situated in the MEDIASTINUM, extending superiorly into the neck to the lower edge of the THYROID GLAND and inferiorly to the fourth costal cartilage. It is necessary for normal development of immunologic function early in life. By puberty, it begins to involute and much of the tissue is replaced by fat.Starfish: Echinoderms having bodies of usually five radially disposed arms coalescing at the center.Phenotype: The outward appearance of the individual. It is the product of interactions between genes, and between the GENOTYPE and the environment.Testis: The male gonad containing two functional parts: the SEMINIFEROUS TUBULES for the production and transport of male germ cells (SPERMATOGENESIS) and the interstitial compartment containing LEYDIG CELLS that produce ANDROGENS.Progesterone: The major progestational steroid that is secreted primarily by the CORPUS LUTEUM and the PLACENTA. Progesterone acts on the UTERUS, the MAMMARY GLANDS and the BRAIN. It is required in EMBRYO IMPLANTATION; PREGNANCY maintenance, and the development of mammary tissue for MILK production. Progesterone, converted from PREGNENOLONE, also serves as an intermediate in the biosynthesis of GONADAL STEROID HORMONES and adrenal CORTICOSTEROIDS.Lymphocyte Activation: Morphologic alteration of small B LYMPHOCYTES or T LYMPHOCYTES in culture into large blast-like cells able to synthesize DNA and RNA and to divide mitotically. It is induced by INTERLEUKINS; MITOGENS such as PHYTOHEMAGGLUTININS, and by specific ANTIGENS. It may also occur in vivo as in GRAFT REJECTION.Follicle Stimulating Hormone: A major gonadotropin secreted by the adenohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, ANTERIOR). Follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates GAMETOGENESIS and the supporting cells such as the ovarian GRANULOSA CELLS, the testicular SERTOLI CELLS, and LEYDIG CELLS. FSH consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is common in the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity.Cell Nucleus: Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (CELL NUCLEOLUS). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. (From Singleton & Sainsbury, Dictionary of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, 2d ed)Bone Marrow Cells: Cells contained in the bone marrow including fat cells (see ADIPOCYTES); STROMAL CELLS; MEGAKARYOCYTES; and the immediate precursors of most blood cells.Immunophenotyping: Process of classifying cells of the immune system based on structural and functional differences. The process is commonly used to analyze and sort T-lymphocytes into subsets based on CD antigens by the technique of flow cytometry.Ovum: A mature haploid female germ cell extruded from the OVARY at OVULATION.Immunohistochemistry: Histochemical localization of immunoreactive substances using labeled antibodies as reagents.Metaphase: The phase of cell nucleus division following PROMETAPHASE, in which the CHROMOSOMES line up across the equatorial plane of the SPINDLE APPARATUS prior to separation.Megakaryocytes: Very large BONE MARROW CELLS which release mature BLOOD PLATELETS.Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction: A variation of the PCR technique in which cDNA is made from RNA via reverse transcription. The resultant cDNA is then amplified using standard PCR protocols.B-Lymphocytes: Lymphoid cells concerned with humoral immunity. They are short-lived cells resembling bursa-derived lymphocytes of birds in their production of immunoglobulin upon appropriate stimulation.Fetus: The unborn young of a viviparous mammal, in the postembryonic period, after the major structures have been outlined. In humans, the unborn young from the end of the eighth week after CONCEPTION until BIRTH, as distinguished from the earlier EMBRYO, MAMMALIAN.RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional: Post-transcriptional biological modification of messenger, transfer, or ribosomal RNAs or their precursors. It includes cleavage, methylation, thiolation, isopentenylation, pseudouridine formation, conformational changes, and association with ribosomal protein.Age Determination by Skeleton: Establishment of the age of an individual by examination of their skeletal structure.Recombinant Proteins: Proteins prepared by recombinant DNA technology.Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-mos: Cellular proteins encoded by the c-mos genes (GENES, MOS). They function in the cell cycle to maintain MATURATION PROMOTING FACTOR in the active state and have protein-serine/threonine kinase activity. Oncogenic transformation can take place when c-mos proteins are expressed at the wrong time.Protein Transport: The process of moving proteins from one cellular compartment (including extracellular) to another by various sorting and transport mechanisms such as gated transport, protein translocation, and vesicular transport.Coculture Techniques: A technique of culturing mixed cell types in vitro to allow their synergistic or antagonistic interactions, such as on CELL DIFFERENTIATION or APOPTOSIS. Coculture can be of different types of cells, tissues, or organs from normal or disease states.Models, Biological: Theoretical representations that simulate the behavior or activity of biological processes or diseases. For disease models in living animals, DISEASE MODELS, ANIMAL is available. Biological models include the use of mathematical equations, computers, and other electronic equipment.Protein PrecursorsMicroscopy, Electron: Microscopy using an electron beam, instead of light, to visualize the sample, thereby allowing much greater magnification. The interactions of ELECTRONS with specimens are used to provide information about the fine structure of that specimen. In TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY the reactions of the electrons that are transmitted through the specimen are imaged. In SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY an electron beam falls at a non-normal angle on the specimen and the image is derived from the reactions occurring above the plane of the specimen.Cytokines: Non-antibody proteins secreted by inflammatory leukocytes and some non-leukocytic cells, that act as intercellular mediators. They differ from classical hormones in that they are produced by a number of tissue or cell types rather than by specialized glands. They generally act locally in a paracrine or autocrine rather than endocrine manner.Parthenogenesis: A unisexual reproduction without the fusion of a male and a female gamete (FERTILIZATION). In parthenogenesis, an individual is formed from an unfertilized OVUM that did not complete MEIOSIS. Parthenogenesis occurs in nature and can be artificially induced.Embryonic and Fetal Development: Morphological and physiological development of EMBRYOS or FETUSES.Blotting, Western: Identification of proteins or peptides that have been electrophoretically separated by blot transferring from the electrophoresis gel to strips of nitrocellulose paper, followed by labeling with antibody probes.Mice, Inbred BALB CBlastocyst: A post-MORULA preimplantation mammalian embryo that develops from a 32-cell stage into a fluid-filled hollow ball of over a hundred cells. A blastocyst has two distinctive tissues. The outer layer of trophoblasts gives rise to extra-embryonic tissues. The inner cell mass gives rise to the embryonic disc and eventual embryo proper.Puberty: A period in the human life in which the development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal system takes place and reaches full maturity. The onset of synchronized endocrine events in puberty lead to the capacity for reproduction (FERTILITY), development of secondary SEX CHARACTERISTICS, and other changes seen in ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT.Cell Division: The fission of a CELL. It includes CYTOKINESIS, when the CYTOPLASM of a cell is divided, and CELL NUCLEUS DIVISION.Antigen Presentation: The process by which antigen is presented to lymphocytes in a form they can recognize. This is performed by antigen presenting cells (APCs). Some antigens require processing before they can be recognized. Antigen processing consists of ingestion and partial digestion of the antigen by the APC, followed by presentation of fragments on the cell surface. (From Rosen et al., Dictionary of Immunology, 1989)Chorionic Gonadotropin: A gonadotropic glycoprotein hormone produced primarily by the PLACENTA. Similar to the pituitary LUTEINIZING HORMONE in structure and function, chorionic gonadotropin is involved in maintaining the CORPUS LUTEUM during pregnancy. CG consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is virtually identical to the alpha subunits of the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH, and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity (CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN, BETA SUBUNIT, HUMAN).Xenopus laevis: The commonest and widest ranging species of the clawed "frog" (Xenopus) in Africa. This species is used extensively in research. There is now a significant population in California derived from escaped laboratory animals.Ovulation: The discharge of an OVUM from a rupturing follicle in the OVARY.Follicular Fluid: The fluid surrounding the OVUM and GRANULOSA CELLS in the Graafian follicle (OVARIAN FOLLICLE). The follicular fluid contains sex steroids, glycoprotein hormones, plasma proteins, mucopolysaccharides, and enzymes.Interleukin-12: A heterodimeric cytokine that plays a role in innate and adaptive immune responses. Interleukin-12 is a 70 kDa protein that is composed of covalently linked 40 kDa and 35 kDa subunits. It is produced by DENDRITIC CELLS; MACROPHAGES and a variety of other immune cells and plays a role in the stimulation of INTERFERON-GAMMA production by T-LYMPHOCYTES and NATURAL KILLER CELLS.Gene Expression: The phenotypic manifestation of a gene or genes by the processes of GENETIC TRANSCRIPTION and GENETIC TRANSLATION.Protein Binding: The process in which substances, either endogenous or exogenous, bind to proteins, peptides, enzymes, protein precursors, or allied compounds. Specific protein-binding measures are often used as assays in diagnostic assessments.Transcription Factors: Endogenous substances, usually proteins, which are effective in the initiation, stimulation, or termination of the genetic transcription process.Kinetics: The rate dynamics in chemical or physical systems.Tooth Calcification: The process whereby calcium salts are deposited in the dental enamel. The process is normal in the development of bones and teeth. (Boucher's Clinical Dental Terminology, 4th ed, p43)Microscopy, Confocal: A light microscopic technique in which only a small spot is illuminated and observed at a time. An image is constructed through point-by-point scanning of the field in this manner. Light sources may be conventional or laser, and fluorescence or transmitted observations are possible.Embryo, Mammalian: The entity of a developing mammal (MAMMALS), generally from the cleavage of a ZYGOTE to the end of embryonic differentiation of basic structures. For the human embryo, this represents the first two months of intrauterine development preceding the stages of the FETUS.Cattle: Domesticated bovine animals of the genus Bos, usually kept on a farm or ranch and used for the production of meat or dairy products or for heavy labor.Endoplasmic Reticulum: A system of cisternae in the CYTOPLASM of many cells. In places the endoplasmic reticulum is continuous with the plasma membrane (CELL MEMBRANE) or outer membrane of the nuclear envelope. If the outer surfaces of the endoplasmic reticulum membranes are coated with ribosomes, the endoplasmic reticulum is said to be rough-surfaced (ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM, ROUGH); otherwise it is said to be smooth-surfaced (ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM, SMOOTH). (King & Stansfield, A Dictionary of Genetics, 4th ed)Virus Assembly: The assembly of VIRAL STRUCTURAL PROTEINS and nucleic acid (VIRAL DNA or VIRAL RNA) to form a VIRUS PARTICLE.Cell Proliferation: All of the processes involved in increasing CELL NUMBER including CELL DIVISION.Xenopus: An aquatic genus of the family, Pipidae, occurring in Africa and distinguished by having black horny claws on three inner hind toes.Embryo Culture Techniques: The technique of maintaining or growing mammalian EMBRYOS in vitro. This method offers an opportunity to observe EMBRYONIC DEVELOPMENT; METABOLISM; and susceptibility to TERATOGENS.DNA Primers: Short sequences (generally about 10 base pairs) of DNA that are complementary to sequences of messenger RNA and allow reverse transcriptases to start copying the adjacent sequences of mRNA. Primers are used extensively in genetic and molecular biology techniques.Erythroblasts: Immature, nucleated ERYTHROCYTES occupying the stage of ERYTHROPOIESIS that follows formation of ERYTHROID PRECURSOR CELLS and precedes formation of RETICULOCYTES. The normal series is called normoblasts. Cells called MEGALOBLASTS are a pathologic series of erythroblasts.Microscopy, Fluorescence: Microscopy of specimens stained with fluorescent dye (usually fluorescein isothiocyanate) or of naturally fluorescent materials, which emit light when exposed to ultraviolet or blue light. Immunofluorescence microscopy utilizes antibodies that are labeled with fluorescent dye.Neurons: The basic cellular units of nervous tissue. Each neuron consists of a body, an axon, and dendrites. Their purpose is to receive, conduct, and transmit impulses in the NERVOUS SYSTEM.Microinjections: The injection of very small amounts of fluid, often with the aid of a microscope and microsyringes.Fluorescent Antibody Technique: Test for tissue antigen using either a direct method, by conjugation of antibody with fluorescent dye (FLUORESCENT ANTIBODY TECHNIQUE, DIRECT) or an indirect method, by formation of antigen-antibody complex which is then labeled with fluorescein-conjugated anti-immunoglobulin antibody (FLUORESCENT ANTIBODY TECHNIQUE, INDIRECT). The tissue is then examined by fluorescence microscopy.Cell Membrane: The lipid- and protein-containing, selectively permeable membrane that surrounds the cytoplasm in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.Cell Lineage: The developmental history of specific differentiated cell types as traced back to the original STEM CELLS in the embryo.Cell Culture Techniques: Methods for maintaining or growing CELLS in vitro.RNA Precursors: RNA transcripts of the DNA that are in some unfinished stage of post-transcriptional processing (RNA PROCESSING, POST-TRANSCRIPTIONAL) required for function. RNA precursors may undergo several steps of RNA SPLICING during which the phosphodiester bonds at exon-intron boundaries are cleaved and the introns are excised. Consequently a new bond is formed between the ends of the exons. Resulting mature RNAs can then be used; for example, mature mRNA (RNA, MESSENGER) is used as a template for protein production.Amelogenesis: The elaboration of dental enamel by ameloblasts, beginning with its participation in the formation of the dentino-enamel junction to the production of the matrix for the enamel prisms and interprismatic substance. (Jablonski, Dictionary of Dentistry, 1992).Culture Media: Any liquid or solid preparation made specifically for the growth, storage, or transport of microorganisms or other types of cells. The variety of media that exist allow for the culturing of specific microorganisms and cell types, such as differential media, selective media, test media, and defined media. Solid media consist of liquid media that have been solidified with an agent such as AGAR or GELATIN.Antigens, CD86: A costimulatory ligand expressed by ANTIGEN-PRESENTING CELLS that binds to CD28 ANTIGEN with high specificity and to CTLA-4 ANTIGEN with low specificity. The interaction of CD86 with CD28 ANTIGEN provides a stimulatory signal to T-LYMPHOCYTES, while its interaction with CTLA-4 ANTIGEN may play a role in inducing PERIPHERAL TOLERANCE.Seeds: The encapsulated embryos of flowering plants. They are used as is or for animal feed because of the high content of concentrated nutrients like starches, proteins, and fats. Rapeseed, cottonseed, and sunflower seed are also produced for the oils (fats) they yield.Swine: Any of various animals that constitute the family Suidae and comprise stout-bodied, short-legged omnivorous mammals with thick skin, usually covered with coarse bristles, a rather long mobile snout, and small tail. Included are the genera Babyrousa, Phacochoerus (wart hogs), and Sus, the latter containing the domestic pig (see SUS SCROFA).Sperm-Ovum Interactions: Interactive processes between the oocyte (OVUM) and the sperm (SPERMATOZOA) including sperm adhesion, ACROSOME REACTION, sperm penetration of the ZONA PELLUCIDA, and events leading to FERTILIZATION.Spleen: An encapsulated lymphatic organ through which venous blood filters.Hydrogenase: An enzyme found in bacteria. It catalyzes the reduction of FERREDOXIN and other substances in the presence of molecular hydrogen and is involved in the electron transport of bacterial photosynthesis.Protein Structure, Tertiary: The level of protein structure in which combinations of secondary protein structures (alpha helices, beta sheets, loop regions, and motifs) pack together to form folded shapes called domains. Disulfide bridges between cysteines in two different parts of the polypeptide chain along with other interactions between the chains play a role in the formation and stabilization of tertiary structure. Small proteins usually consist of only one domain but larger proteins may contain a number of domains connected by segments of polypeptide chain which lack regular secondary structure.Carrier Proteins: Transport proteins that carry specific substances in the blood or across cell membranes.Genes, mos: Retrovirus-associated DNA sequences (mos) originally isolated from the Moloney murine sarcoma virus (Mo-MSV). The proto-oncogene mos (c-mos) codes for a protein which is a member of the serine kinase family. There is no evidence as yet that human c-mos can become transformed or has a role in human cancer. However, in mice, activation can occur when the retrovirus-like intracisternal A-particle inserts itself near the c-mos sequence. The human c-mos gene is located at 8q22 on the long arm of chromosome 8.Lysosomes: A class of morphologically heterogeneous cytoplasmic particles in animal and plant tissues characterized by their content of hydrolytic enzymes and the structure-linked latency of these enzymes. The intracellular functions of lysosomes depend on their lytic potential. The single unit membrane of the lysosome acts as a barrier between the enzymes enclosed in the lysosome and the external substrate. The activity of the enzymes contained in lysosomes is limited or nil unless the vesicle in which they are enclosed is ruptured. Such rupture is supposed to be under metabolic (hormonal) control. (From Rieger et al., Glossary of Genetics: Classical and Molecular, 5th ed)Erythropoiesis: The production of red blood cells (ERYTHROCYTES). In humans, erythrocytes are produced by the YOLK SAC in the first trimester; by the liver in the second trimester; by the BONE MARROW in the third trimester and after birth. In normal individuals, the erythrocyte count in the peripheral blood remains relatively constant implying a balance between the rate of erythrocyte production and rate of destruction.Microscopy, Electron, Transmission: Electron microscopy in which the ELECTRONS or their reaction products that pass down through the specimen are imaged below the plane of the specimen.Cell Count: The number of CELLS of a specific kind, usually measured per unit volume or area of sample.Molecular Chaperones: A family of cellular proteins that mediate the correct assembly or disassembly of polypeptides and their associated ligands. Although they take part in the assembly process, molecular chaperones are not components of the final structures.Vitellogenesis: The active production and accumulation of VITELLINS (egg yolk proteins) in the non-mammalian OOCYTES from circulating precursors, VITELLOGENINS. Vitellogenesis usually begins after the first MEIOSIS and is regulated by estrogenic hormones.Green Fluorescent Proteins: Protein analogs and derivatives of the Aequorea victoria green fluorescent protein that emit light (FLUORESCENCE) when excited with ULTRAVIOLET RAYS. They are used in REPORTER GENES in doing GENETIC TECHNIQUES. Numerous mutants have been made to emit other colors or be sensitive to pH.Golgi Apparatus: A stack of flattened vesicles that functions in posttranslational processing and sorting of proteins, receiving them from the rough ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM and directing them to secretory vesicles, LYSOSOMES, or the CELL MEMBRANE. The movement of proteins takes place by transfer vesicles that bud off from the rough endoplasmic reticulum or Golgi apparatus and fuse with the Golgi, lysosomes or cell membrane. (From Glick, Glossary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1990)Apoptosis: One of the mechanisms by which CELL DEATH occurs (compare with NECROSIS and AUTOPHAGOCYTOSIS). Apoptosis is the mechanism responsible for the physiological deletion of cells and appears to be intrinsically programmed. It is characterized by distinctive morphologic changes in the nucleus and cytoplasm, chromatin cleavage at regularly spaced sites, and the endonucleolytic cleavage of genomic DNA; (DNA FRAGMENTATION); at internucleosomal sites. This mode of cell death serves as a balance to mitosis in regulating the size of animal tissues and in mediating pathologic processes associated with tumor growth.Macrophages: The relatively long-lived phagocytic cell of mammalian tissues that are derived from blood MONOCYTES. Main types are PERITONEAL MACROPHAGES; ALVEOLAR MACROPHAGES; HISTIOCYTES; KUPFFER CELLS of the liver; and OSTEOCLASTS. They may further differentiate within chronic inflammatory lesions to EPITHELIOID CELLS or may fuse to form FOREIGN BODY GIANT CELLS or LANGHANS GIANT CELLS. (from The Dictionary of Cell Biology, Lackie and Dow, 3rd ed.)Transcription, Genetic: The biosynthesis of RNA carried out on a template of DNA. The biosynthesis of DNA from an RNA template is called REVERSE TRANSCRIPTION.Lipopolysaccharides: Lipid-containing polysaccharides which are endotoxins and important group-specific antigens. They are often derived from the cell wall of gram-negative bacteria and induce immunoglobulin secretion. The lipopolysaccharide molecule consists of three parts: LIPID A, core polysaccharide, and O-specific chains (O ANTIGENS). When derived from Escherichia coli, lipopolysaccharides serve as polyclonal B-cell mitogens commonly used in laboratory immunology. (From Dorland, 28th ed)Cell Survival: The span of viability of a cell characterized by the capacity to perform certain functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, some form of responsiveness, and adaptability.Virion: The infective system of a virus, composed of the viral genome, a protein core, and a protein coat called a capsid, which may be naked or enclosed in a lipoprotein envelope called the peplos.Luteinizing Hormone: A major gonadotropin secreted by the adenohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, ANTERIOR). Luteinizing hormone regulates steroid production by the interstitial cells of the TESTIS and the OVARY. The preovulatory LUTEINIZING HORMONE surge in females induces OVULATION, and subsequent LUTEINIZATION of the follicle. LUTEINIZING HORMONE consists of two noncovalently linked subunits, alpha and beta. Within a species, the alpha subunit is common in the three pituitary glycoprotein hormones (TSH, LH and FSH), but the beta subunit is unique and confers its biological specificity.Stem Cells: Relatively undifferentiated cells that retain the ability to divide and proliferate throughout postnatal life to provide progenitor cells that can differentiate into specialized cells.Gene Expression Profiling: The determination of the pattern of genes expressed at the level of GENETIC TRANSCRIPTION, under specific circumstances or in a specific cell.Bone Development: The growth and development of bones from fetus to adult. It includes two principal mechanisms of bone growth: growth in length of long bones at the epiphyseal cartilages and growth in thickness by depositing new bone (OSTEOGENESIS) with the actions of OSTEOBLASTS and OSTEOCLASTS.Protein Biosynthesis: The biosynthesis of PEPTIDES and PROTEINS on RIBOSOMES, directed by MESSENGER RNA, via TRANSFER RNA that is charged with standard proteinogenic AMINO ACIDS.Up-Regulation: A positive regulatory effect on physiological processes at the molecular, cellular, or systemic level. At the molecular level, the major regulatory sites include membrane receptors, genes (GENE EXPRESSION REGULATION), mRNAs (RNA, MESSENGER), and proteins.Cell Movement: The movement of cells from one location to another. Distinguish from CYTOKINESIS which is the process of dividing the CYTOPLASM of a cell.Down-Regulation: A negative regulatory effect on physiological processes at the molecular, cellular, or systemic level. At the molecular level, the major regulatory sites include membrane receptors, genes (GENE EXPRESSION REGULATION), mRNAs (RNA, MESSENGER), and proteins.Granulosa Cells: Supporting cells for the developing female gamete in the OVARY. They are derived from the coelomic epithelial cells of the gonadal ridge. Granulosa cells form a single layer around the OOCYTE in the primordial ovarian follicle and advance to form a multilayered cumulus oophorus surrounding the OVUM in the Graafian follicle. The major functions of granulosa cells include the production of steroids and LH receptors (RECEPTORS, LH).Sequence Homology, Amino Acid: The degree of similarity between sequences of amino acids. This information is useful for the analyzing genetic relatedness of proteins and species.Antigens, CD40: A member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily with specificity for CD40 LIGAND. It is found on mature B-LYMPHOCYTES and some EPITHELIAL CELLS, lymphoid DENDRITIC CELLS. Evidence suggests that CD40-dependent activation of B-cells is important for generation of memory B-cells within the germinal centers. Mutations of the gene for CD40 antigen result in HYPER-IGM IMMUNODEFICIENCY SYNDROME, TYPE 3. Signaling of the receptor occurs through its association with TNF RECEPTOR-ASSOCIATED FACTORS.Transfection: The uptake of naked or purified DNA by CELLS, usually meaning the process as it occurs in eukaryotic cells. It is analogous to bacterial transformation (TRANSFORMATION, BACTERIAL) and both are routinely employed in GENE TRANSFER TECHNIQUES.Recombinant Fusion Proteins: Recombinant proteins produced by the GENETIC TRANSLATION of fused genes formed by the combination of NUCLEIC ACID REGULATORY SEQUENCES of one or more genes with the protein coding sequences of one or more genes.Phosphorylation: The introduction of a phosphoryl group into a compound through the formation of an ester bond between the compound and a phosphorus moiety.Immunoglobulins: Multi-subunit proteins which function in IMMUNITY. They are produced by B LYMPHOCYTES from the IMMUNOGLOBULIN GENES. They are comprised of two heavy (IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY CHAINS) and two light chains (IMMUNOGLOBULIN LIGHT CHAINS) with additional ancillary polypeptide chains depending on their isoforms. The variety of isoforms include monomeric or polymeric forms, and transmembrane forms (B-CELL ANTIGEN RECEPTORS) or secreted forms (ANTIBODIES). They are divided by the amino acid sequence of their heavy chains into five classes (IMMUNOGLOBULIN A; IMMUNOGLOBULIN D; IMMUNOGLOBULIN E; IMMUNOGLOBULIN G; IMMUNOGLOBULIN M) and various subclasses.Hydroxyprogesterones: Metabolites or derivatives of PROGESTERONE with hydroxyl group substitution at various sites.Cell Aging: The decrease in the cell's ability to proliferate with the passing of time. Each cell is programmed for a certain number of cell divisions and at the end of that time proliferation halts. The cell enters a quiescent state after which it experiences CELL DEATH via the process of APOPTOSIS.Endocytosis: Cellular uptake of extracellular materials within membrane-limited vacuoles or microvesicles. ENDOSOMES play a central role in endocytosis.Nerve Tissue ProteinsGonadotropins: Hormones that stimulate gonadal functions such as GAMETOGENESIS and sex steroid hormone production in the OVARY and the TESTIS. Major gonadotropins are glycoproteins produced primarily by the adenohypophysis (GONADOTROPINS, PITUITARY) and the placenta (CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN). In some species, pituitary PROLACTIN and PLACENTAL LACTOGEN exert some luteotropic activities.Cloning, Molecular: The insertion of recombinant DNA molecules from prokaryotic and/or eukaryotic sources into a replicating vehicle, such as a plasmid or virus vector, and the introduction of the resultant hybrid molecules into recipient cells without altering the viability of those cells.Hematopoietic Stem Cells: Progenitor cells from which all blood cells derive.Cell Communication: Any of several ways in which living cells of an organism communicate with one another, whether by direct contact between cells or by means of chemical signals carried by neurotransmitter substances, hormones, and cyclic AMP.Phagocytosis: The engulfing and degradation of microorganisms; other cells that are dead, dying, or pathogenic; and foreign particles by phagocytic cells (PHAGOCYTES).Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel: Electrophoresis in which a polyacrylamide gel is used as the diffusion medium.Neurogenesis: Formation of NEURONS which involves the differentiation and division of STEM CELLS in which one or both of the daughter cells become neurons.In Situ Hybridization: A technique that localizes specific nucleic acid sequences within intact chromosomes, eukaryotic cells, or bacterial cells through the use of specific nucleic acid-labeled probes.Synapses: Specialized junctions at which a neuron communicates with a target cell. At classical synapses, a neuron's presynaptic terminal releases a chemical transmitter stored in synaptic vesicles which diffuses across a narrow synaptic cleft and activates receptors on the postsynaptic membrane of the target cell. The target may be a dendrite, cell body, or axon of another neuron, or a specialized region of a muscle or secretory cell. Neurons may also communicate via direct electrical coupling with ELECTRICAL SYNAPSES. Several other non-synaptic chemical or electric signal transmitting processes occur via extracellular mediated interactions.Mice, Inbred Strains: Genetically identical individuals developed from brother and sister matings which have been carried out for twenty or more generations, or by parent x offspring matings carried out with certain restrictions. All animals within an inbred strain trace back to a common ancestor in the twentieth generation.Gene Deletion: A genetic rearrangement through loss of segments of DNA or RNA, bringing sequences which are normally separated into close proximity. This deletion may be detected using cytogenetic techniques and can also be inferred from the phenotype, indicating a deletion at one specific locus.Glycoproteins: Conjugated protein-carbohydrate compounds including mucins, mucoid, and amyloid glycoproteins.Receptors, Cell Surface: Cell surface proteins that bind signalling molecules external to the cell with high affinity and convert this extracellular event into one or more intracellular signals that alter the behavior of the target cell (From Alberts, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2nd ed, pp693-5). Cell surface receptors, unlike enzymes, do not chemically alter their ligands.Age Factors: Age as a constituent element or influence contributing to the production of a result. It may be applicable to the cause or the effect of a circumstance. It is used with human or animal concepts but should be differentiated from AGING, a physiological process, and TIME FACTORS which refers only to the passage of time.Sheep: Any of the ruminant mammals with curved horns in the genus Ovis, family Bovidae. They possess lachrymal grooves and interdigital glands, which are absent in GOATS.Proteins: Linear POLYPEPTIDES that are synthesized on RIBOSOMES and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of AMINO ACIDS determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during PROTEIN FOLDING, and the function of the protein.Glycosylation: The chemical or biochemical addition of carbohydrate or glycosyl groups to other chemicals, especially peptides or proteins. Glycosyl transferases are used in this biochemical reaction.Estradiol: The 17-beta-isomer of estradiol, an aromatized C18 steroid with hydroxyl group at 3-beta- and 17-beta-position. Estradiol-17-beta is the most potent form of mammalian estrogenic steroids.Cell SeparationBrain: The part of CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM that is contained within the skull (CRANIUM). Arising from the NEURAL TUBE, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including PROSENCEPHALON (the forebrain); MESENCEPHALON (the midbrain); and RHOMBENCEPHALON (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of CEREBRUM; CEREBELLUM; and other structures in the BRAIN STEM.Ameloblasts: Cylindrical epithelial cells in the innermost layer of the ENAMEL ORGAN. Their functions include contribution to the development of the dentinoenamel junction by the deposition of a layer of the matrix, thus producing the foundation for the prisms (the structural units of the DENTAL ENAMEL), and production of the matrix for the enamel prisms and interprismatic substance. (From Jablonski's Dictionary of Dentistry, 1992)DNA, Complementary: Single-stranded complementary DNA synthesized from an RNA template by the action of RNA-dependent DNA polymerase. cDNA (i.e., complementary DNA, not circular DNA, not C-DNA) is used in a variety of molecular cloning experiments as well as serving as a specific hybridization probe.Immunoblotting: Immunologic method used for detecting or quantifying immunoreactive substances. The substance is identified by first immobilizing it by blotting onto a membrane and then tagging it with labeled antibodies.CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes: A critical subpopulation of T-lymphocytes involved in the induction of most immunological functions. The HIV virus has selective tropism for the T4 cell which expresses the CD4 phenotypic marker, a receptor for HIV. In fact, the key element in the profound immunosuppression seen in HIV infection is the depletion of this subset of T-lymphocytes.Histocompatibility Antigens Class II: Large, transmembrane, non-covalently linked glycoproteins (alpha and beta). Both chains can be polymorphic although there is more structural variation in the beta chains. The class II antigens in humans are called HLA-D ANTIGENS and are coded by a gene on chromosome 6. In mice, two genes named IA and IE on chromosome 17 code for the H-2 antigens. The antigens are found on B-lymphocytes, macrophages, epidermal cells, and sperm and are thought to mediate the competence of and cellular cooperation in the immune response. The term IA antigens used to refer only to the proteins encoded by the IA genes in the mouse, but is now used as a generic term for any class II histocompatibility antigen.Reproduction: The total process by which organisms produce offspring. (Stedman, 25th ed)Mice, Mutant Strains: Mice bearing mutant genes which are phenotypically expressed in the animals.Nuclear Proteins: Proteins found in the nucleus of a cell. Do not confuse with NUCLEOPROTEINS which are proteins conjugated with nucleic acids, that are not necessarily present in the nucleus.Endosomes: Cytoplasmic vesicles formed when COATED VESICLES shed their CLATHRIN coat. Endosomes internalize macromolecules bound by receptors on the cell surface.Enzyme Activation: Conversion of an inactive form of an enzyme to one possessing metabolic activity. It includes 1, activation by ions (activators); 2, activation by cofactors (coenzymes); and 3, conversion of an enzyme precursor (proenzyme or zymogen) to an active enzyme.Xenopus Proteins: Proteins obtained from various species of Xenopus. Included here are proteins from the African clawed frog (XENOPUS LAEVIS). Many of these proteins have been the subject of scientific investigations in the area of MORPHOGENESIS and development.RNA: A polynucleotide consisting essentially of chains with a repeating backbone of phosphate and ribose units to which nitrogenous bases are attached. RNA is unique among biological macromolecules in that it can encode genetic information, serve as an abundant structural component of cells, and also possesses catalytic activity. (Rieger et al., Glossary of Genetics: Classical and Molecular, 5th ed)Binding Sites: The parts of a macromolecule that directly participate in its specific combination with another molecule.HeLa Cells: The first continuously cultured human malignant CELL LINE, derived from the cervical carcinoma of Henrietta Lacks. These cells are used for VIRUS CULTIVATION and antitumor drug screening assays.Saccharomyces cerevisiae: A species of the genus SACCHAROMYCES, family Saccharomycetaceae, order Saccharomycetales, known as "baker's" or "brewer's" yeast. The dried form is used as a dietary supplement.Oligodendroglia: A class of large neuroglial (macroglial) cells in the central nervous system. Oligodendroglia may be called interfascicular, perivascular, or perineuronal (not the same as SATELLITE CELLS, PERINEURONAL of GANGLIA) according to their location. They form the insulating MYELIN SHEATH of axons in the central nervous system.Bone Marrow: The soft tissue filling the cavities of bones. Bone marrow exists in two types, yellow and red. Yellow marrow is found in the large cavities of large bones and consists mostly of fat cells and a few primitive blood cells. Red marrow is a hematopoietic tissue and is the site of production of erythrocytes and granular leukocytes. Bone marrow is made up of a framework of connective tissue containing branching fibers with the frame being filled with marrow cells.Escherichia coli: A species of gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria (GRAM-NEGATIVE FACULTATIVELY ANAEROBIC RODS) commonly found in the lower part of the intestine of warm-blooded animals. It is usually nonpathogenic, but some strains are known to produce DIARRHEA and pyogenic infections. Pathogenic strains (virotypes) are classified by their specific pathogenic mechanisms such as toxins (ENTEROTOXIGENIC ESCHERICHIA COLI), etc.Biological Transport: The movement of materials (including biochemical substances and drugs) through a biological system at the cellular level. The transport can be across cell membranes and epithelial layers. It also can occur within intracellular compartments and extracellular compartments.DNA-Binding Proteins: Proteins which bind to DNA. The family includes proteins which bind to both double- and single-stranded DNA and also includes specific DNA binding proteins in serum which can be used as markers for malignant diseases.Antibodies, Monoclonal: Antibodies produced by a single clone of cells.rab GTP-Binding Proteins: A large family of MONOMERIC GTP-BINDING PROTEINS that play a key role in cellular secretory and endocytic pathways. EC 3.6.1.-.Reticulocytes: Immature ERYTHROCYTES. In humans, these are ERYTHROID CELLS that have just undergone extrusion of their CELL NUCLEUS. They still contain some organelles that gradually decrease in number as the cells mature. RIBOSOMES are last to disappear. Certain staining techniques cause components of the ribosomes to precipitate into characteristic "reticulum" (not the same as the ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM), hence the name reticulocytes.Viral Proteins: Proteins found in any species of virus.Cricetinae: A subfamily in the family MURIDAE, comprising the hamsters. Four of the more common genera are Cricetus, CRICETULUS; MESOCRICETUS; and PHODOPUS.Antigens, Surface: Antigens on surfaces of cells, including infectious or foreign cells or viruses. They are usually protein-containing groups on cell membranes or walls and may be isolated.Toll-Like Receptors: A family of pattern recognition receptors characterized by an extracellular leucine-rich domain and a cytoplasmic domain that share homology with the INTERLEUKIN 1 RECEPTOR and the DROSOPHILA toll protein. Following pathogen recognition, toll-like receptors recruit and activate a variety of SIGNAL TRANSDUCING ADAPTOR PROTEINS.Vacuoles: Any spaces or cavities within a cell. They may function in digestion, storage, secretion, or excretion.Rats, Sprague-Dawley: A strain of albino rat used widely for experimental purposes because of its calmness and ease of handling. It was developed by the Sprague-Dawley Animal Company.