This study determines the efficiency of sequential calcium treatments (electroporation or ionomycin) combined with protein synthesis (cycloheximide) or phosphorylation inhibitors (6-dimethylaminopurine) or the specific maturation promoting factor (MPF) inhibitor, roscovitine, in inducing artificial activation and development of rhesus macaque parthenotes or nuclear transfer embryos. Exposure of oocytes arrested at metaphase II (MII) to ionomycin followed by 6-dimethylaminopurine or to electroporation followed by cycloheximide and cytochalasin B induced pronuclear formation and development to the blastocyst stage at a rate similar to control embryos produced by intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Parthenotes did not complete meiosis or extrude a second polar body, consistent with their presumed diploid status. In contrast, oocytes treated sequentially with ionomycin and roscovitine extruded the second polar body and formed a pronucleus at a rate higher than that observed in controls. Following reconstruction by nuclear transfer, activation with ionomycin/6-dimethylaminopurine resulted in embryos that contained a single pronucleus and no polar bodies. All nuclear transfer embryos activated with ionomycin/roscovitine contained one large pronucleus. However, a third of these embryos emitted one or two polar bodies, clearly containing chromatin material. In summary, we have identified simple yet effective methods of oocyte or cytoplast activation in the monkey, ionomycin/6-dimethylaminopurine, electroporation/cycloheximide/cytochalasin B, and ionomycin/roscovitine, which are applicable to parthenote or nuclear transfer embryo production.
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